Tag: Ireland

My Manifesto

My Manifesto

I’ve never been one to give much credence to manifestos. They are sort of like…ooohh, look at me….I have something to say. And I find that most of us have something to say but nobody really pays much attention except to their own voices in their heads. Everything else just goes through their filters of who they accept as okay and who isn’t and they look for everything possible to uphold their belief about themselves and others. Oh, there’s the evidence that she IS crazy.

But this cluster of a house closing and moving has brought up enough fear to shake me to my core and make me wish I was anywhere but here, in this skin and bone experience. Not just regarding my own personal challenges but for the planet. I keep hearing to write my own manifesto. Maybe a last word of an old life that helps open the doorway to the new one. I’m ready for that crossing. That Threshold has been looming for over three years or 59 years or lifetimes. I don’t really know. Regardless, here goes.

I am so freaking angry at humanity and wish I wasn’t a human. The shame I feel from being part of a species that is hell-bent on destroying itself is huge. It isn’t only the miserable leadership of this country (USA) that is taking us backwards at warp speed….racism, environmental lack-of-protection, elitism, corruption…it’s happening in many places on the planet. The gains so many worked for so diligently for so many decades have been lost in nearly three years. Three years. Three years of insanity supported by politicians who don’t have the guts to stand up to a maniac because greed is their guiding light. There is no moral compass in this country where such bigotry, hatred and nihilism is encouraged and fueled by leadership.

I don’t want to live in this insanity. Enough.

There are those in my life that think they know what’s best for me. If I only got a ‘real’ job I’d be just fine. As if me having a job would fix any of the woes of the world…or fix the angst in me.

I worked for six months for an international company and found how insidious their practices are regarding the environment yet they wanted the lowly workers, earning less than $10 an hour, to ‘sell’ how great they were environmentally….while thousands and thousands of plastic hangers get trashed every year at just one store and plastic bags wrap every shirt, pants, hat, coat, vest….plastic that doesn’t get recycled. Yes….by all means let me just get a job to solve my problems. It only opened my eyes wider to the insanity of this world based on greed and profit at any cost.

I’ve never felt like I fit in and have felt I am at least one step off from the rest of humanity. My goal has been to connect people with Nature in an effort to preserve at least some parts of the planet and Her species. While my efforts have been sincere and well-received, they have never supported me financially. So I’m left either selling my soul to corporate America or watching my finances swirl down the drain as I try to make a difference.

While sports figures earn millions each year and politicians income increases from bribes, sponsorships and other illegalities, people that are really trying to make a difference…non-profits, artists, conservationists, environmentalists, social workers, teachers….are scraping by. It’s very warped and messed up.

In my travels I have connected deeply to the land and sea, to humpback whales, manatees, dolphins, sea lions. I have felt the immense power of the sea and wanted to kiss the ground upon release from a storm-tossed boat. I have sensed the stillness of the sea that reflected the heavens so perfectly it was difficult to tell where the sea stopped and the sky began.

There are no regrets about my traveling to other countries such as England and Ireland where in stone circles or other ancient, sacred places I have awakened to deeper levels of my soul and the vast connection to Earth and Stars and Sea. Each journey has gifted me with something priceless. Had I grasped my money in fear, I would have never had those experiences.

I have watched an octopus dance with me, had squid explore the dome port on my underwater housing. Had manatees kiss me. Humpback whales, after spending three separate weeks with them, have taught me how intelligent they are and how caring and loving they are to their young…they broke me open to love like I had never known before. And they began calling me when I was only a teen through their song. They have been a guiding force for me and the kinship we share is profound and on the level of soul.

Diving in the veins and life-blood of the planet has been a gift like no other. Being inside Her….within Her beauty changed me, altered my perception of what is truly important.

The beauty I have witnessed has inspired me to share with others, to help awaken them to this incredible planet upon which we live. And yet it doesn’t bring an income to me. I never figured out how to commercialize beauty and love and depth of soul. I hope I never do.

For the past three years there has been an intense dismantling of my life…or 59 years or whatever. But these past three years have been a true letting go…letting go….letting go. And now, poised to finally pass through the Threshold, a block appears and threatens to stop my forward progress. The fury and fear I feel about this is absolute. The deep, hard work of the soul and clearing the personality has exhausted me in ways I cannot begin to describe but here I stand ready–after this long, hard journey–to leap. And a glitch stops everything and makes me go deeper still when I thought I had reached the bottom of it.

Every fear I’ve ever had is awakened as I teeter on a financial precipice. A precipice where the ground upon which I stand gives way, below me is endless depth of Unknown and just across the way is solid ground.

I have moved through my life with trust in the Universe, even when things were at their worst for me personally. And now, after everything had seemingly come together perfectly for this big leap into the next part of my journey, I stand on a precipice knowing I cannot return to how I was–I won’t unpack the boxes and carry on as if nothing has changed–knowing I might not survive if I leap and fall into the Abyss but knowing that the only way forward is to actually step out in faith over the Abyss trusting that if I fall there will be grace in my passing and peace. And if I make it to the other side, there will be grace as well.

Artists….photographers, writers, painters, dancers, composers…are often troubled because we exist to express and share our experience of the world with others, not for profit but because we must express. Our souls call us to this and to try and cram us into a box, into a job that steals our reason for being is torture. But we live in a society where these gifts are undervalued and profit-at-any cost is the norm.

Those that do not have the soul of an artist will never understand the pain we experience when we cannot express ourselves, when we are not supported for our heart’s work. Get a real job is the same as Just kill me. To be at odds with our heart’s work is to not live.

So I say to anyone still reading this, pay attention to the artists…the writers, dancers, photographers, painters, composers. Not just the ones receiving accolades but to all those who have a message to share with the world that comes from their direct experience of beauty…or pain. And support them.

My manifesto wanted to be written. It’s for no one’s benefit but my own, delving into my own feelings of frustration, fear and love for this planet, for the beauty that seems to be disappearing so fast I can scarcely keep up. My manifesto is one of deep and profound grief. Of fear for an uncertain future personally and planetarily.  I don’t want to live in a world without bees and butterflies, without right whales and orcas, without black rhinos and gorillas, without kemp’s ridley sea turtles and orangutans, without love and compassion and common decency. For to live in a world such as this is not to live at all. It’s simply to exist in a living hell.

On Being a Flute

On Being a Flute

YouTube recommended a video this morning that gave me pause. It was a TEDx talk by a woman who talked about the Universe giving us signs. She ended the talk by sharing a story about finding a book in the middle of the street that was an answer to a request she made for a sign. It was called The Singing Flute, a story about a little Finnish girl. Ulla happened to be Finnish and was studying flute at Julliard.

Besides being an inspiring talk, there was another reason it spoke to me and was indeed a sign for me…in a profound way.

In September 2017 I visited Ireland and spent a couple of days after a retreat by myself with the wild elemental spirits of the sea and land on Inis Mor, an island off the west coast of Ireland. On one of the many days I did a pre-dawn hike up to an ancient stone fort, I wandered to a place where part of a fence was removed and the supporting pipes were left standing.

As I stood high above the Atlantic Ocean with a strong wind blowing, there came an eerie flute-like sound. Nobody was around so I wondered what it might be. Finally I noticed the holes drilled in the fence post pipes and realized the wind was playing the pipes. I still get goosebumps when I think of that moment.

Later that day I wrote, “As I walked up the steep hill to this ancient fortification all my walls crumbled and I became an open channel for spirit to move through; a flute for the winds of heaven to play and bring beautiful music to the world.”

As I play the Irish wind instruments in my collection, I always think back to that moment when the wind played the pipes high above the ocean. The expanse of blue sea, ancient stone fort and green grass is once again all around me and I feel myself open, allowing the winds of heaven to move through me.

The retreat made me realize I was at a threshold that I began moving through the year before during a journey to northern England. Thresholds are times of change and I felt it coming back in 2016 as I stood within sacred stone circles. I would never have guessed that I would still be at that threshold…waiting.

Much inner work has been done during this time but forward movement is simply not happening (selling my home, relocating). The waiting has been, at times, excruciatingly painful. Feeling stuck, caught in the fallow time of pause, feeling that I am somewhat lost in my life.

A few days ago I realized the reason of my angst is that I no longer have a dream. For many, many years I made a promise to myself and the Universe that if I ever had the money I would dedicate myself full-time to documenting the beauty of the planet and would share that with others to encourage them to care and be good planetary stewards. Years ago I sold property and did very well on the sale so followed through on my promise. The outcome has been a large body of work–photographs, writing, videos, books…all a labor of pure love for our planet.

But that circle is closing. Not that I won’t continue that work but it is shifting. Not long ago I heard, in meditation, that a deepening of what I offer to others will occur. I don’t know the exact form but it will involve helping others deepen their connection to Mother Earth, thus to themselves. Retreats? Sacred travel? Teaching? Somehow using my gift of communication and being a bridge between nature and humanity. The beginning of a new dream is forming, but it’s not clear yet…so I have felt a bit lost and uncertain of the next step.

Kabir wrote, “The flute of the Infinite is played without ceasing, and its sound is love. When love renounces all limits, it reaches truth.” It’s time to renounce all limits…with love for the planet, all life…for myself.

The video that popped up as a recommendation this morning reminded me that there is a definite path rising up and to trust completely in this truth. My task now is to remain open and centered in love…to continue to follow my heart, even when I’m not sure where it is leading.

The Intelligence Behind it All

The Intelligence Behind it All

Recently I was listening to a talk given by Eckhart Tolle about being present with nature. He said to think about the stillness of trees and then the Intelligence behind the stillness….that Intelligence is the connection we want to make. Something about that really stayed with me.

Since then as I cycle on the back country trails of coastal Alabama, I set the intention to connect with that Intelligence behind the trees, the swamps, the stillness of nature at sunrise. As I pedal, I feel the attention I give to that Intelligence reflected back to me as amazing ‘bigness.’

On my first trip to Ireland in September 2017 I spent a couple days alone on Inis Mor, an island off the west coast, and had an experience that has been challenging to understand. It was my last day there. The next day I was to begin my journey back to the USA. I sat on the rocks overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and poured my heart out, sang and generally expressed gratitude for the wild elemental spirits that awakened me to a deeper connection with nature….with myself.

As I stood to leave, I felt a presence with me that followed me down the hill, past the chapel ruins, onto the small street, back to the bed and breakfast….and even settled into two open seats on the flight back over the Atlantic the next day. I wrote an e-book of ‘fiction’ about it called The Stone Hut but still ponder what it was I felt…and still feel.

After giving attention to the Intelligence, while outdoors and through meditation, I suspect that it was the Intelligence of wild nature found on the western Irish coast. Some might even try to label that Intelligence….God…Universe…Great Spirit…but for me, labeling diminishes It. Without a doubt, it was an immense presence that was easily palpable. And now, as I tune in closer to nature, I find it here…everywhere. I feel it everywhere.

Recent meditations with the Qabalah seem to parallel the experiences I’ve had in nature. To help illustrate here’s a bit of Qabalah info for context.

The Tree of Life or Qabalah has three pillars and ten sephirah or spheres. The diagram, to me, is the best map we have of the process of manifestation into the physical realm of existence. And perhaps the absolute best psychological model of the human experience we have.

In meditations of late I have been working with the Tree via the path of the Lighting Flash of manifestation, or the descent of power… and sitting with the energy of each sphere to see if it has a teaching for me. While I don’t want to get into the depths of Qabalah, as understood from a western esoteric philosophy, it might help to offer a simple explanation…and hopefully tie into the original storyline of this writing on the Intelligence behind nature….behind everything.

The yellow line in the diagram above represents the Lighting Flash or the path of creation. In the most simple terms, Kether is unmanifest potential or as I think of it, Cosmic Soup, where every possibility exists. The image I think of is a gigantic cauldron filled with star dust, stars, galaxies and we take our hand and scoop out an idea, something we wish to create. Kether might be compared to the Tao, where everything exists before it divides into duality.


So in the path of creation, we go from Kether to Chokmah, or the powerhouse sphere of active energy. We might think of this as masculine energy, a very necessary part of creating anything. And across from this sphere is Binah, which I see as a dark cave of enfolding that receives the masculine energy and begins to give it form…not a final product, but the beginnings. Binah represents feminine energy, also a necessary aspect of the creative process. As we continue down the Tree, it culminates in Malkuth…physical manifestation.

Recently I’ve been guided to begin at Kether and sit within the triangle formed by the emanations of Kether, Chokmah and Binah. In essence, I’m sitting within the Supernal Triangle feeling the early process of creation within the Three-in-One, like a Celtic knot of unbroken energy flow.

As I sit in this space I feel the immense energy of creation coming from Chokmah, the driving force that is simply force pushing toward Binah, the enfolding energy that brings order from raw power. We have to learn to sit in this place of stillness with our own unlimited and unmanifested potential. And this is not an easy task.

It feels like sitting in a pressure cooker with the intense, chaotic, raw power of unmanifested energy being hurled toward the container, Binah. As we grow in our lives, the more we are able to receive that raw power, the better we become at creating…or co-creating. But a warning here: In the flow of Intelligence, of that raw, unformed energy, there is just power. Energy. When we receive it, it infuses our talents, gifts, strengths with power….or anything we focus on including anger, fear, hatred. The energy is neutral until we ‘receive’ it and infuse it with our ‘stuff’….whatever our ‘stuff’ is. This is why in the western esoteric studies of the Qabalah I have participated in, much work is done on clearing the personality and resolving wounds and unhealed places within so when we do learn to align with that power, we do so in an ethical, helpful way.

Sometimes it is necessary to sit in stillness and connect with something greater than ourselves. No. At all times, this is necessary but most of us probably forget and jump ahead, foregoing the part where we learn to listen to the amazing Wisdom that is always, always available. Part of our work is to learn to distinguish the voice of ego or personality self from that of a higher self. It is this higher self, that we might call our true self, that has a direct connection to the Intelligence behind all things and perhaps is the ‘part’ of us that is in harmony with It…is One with It.

As I cycled today I heard that the flow of Intelligence is like a river and when we align with it we merge into a Cosmic Union. We allow thoughts to stop and simply open to Wisdom. When we can surrender our ego, our sense of separateness, and allow our consciousness to merge with the Intelligence behind all things, we experience Oneness.

The Eckhart talk on the Intelligence behind trees and these meditations of late are prompting me to reflect and listen. I’ve had visions of leading retreats in the mountains, helping people deepen with nature. I feel myself deepening with nature, with that magnificent, indescribable Intelligence behind all that is.

For many, many years I’ve been drawn deeper into relationship with aspects of nature…Ocean, whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles. And now, I feel Earth calling me…deeper into Her embrace…like gravity calling me home.

Deepening with Nature….this is my personal work and the work I bring to the world. May it continue.


All photographs copyright Simone Lipscomb. Drawing by unknown source.

 

Conscious Connection with Gaia

Conscious Connection with Gaia

For over a year when I ride my bike or walk, the same message is heard: make a conscious connection to nature. It began when I was in Ireland in February 2018. My friend and I were staying in a little holiday home that had very little heat. It snowed during the night and was quite cold. It was more than the cold weather and lack of warmth, the entire energy of the place was ‘off.’

After a night spent snuggled under the covers, I got up early and walked out with my camera. The light dusting of snow was lovely and the creek below had white frosting on the rocks surrounding it. As I stood at the top of a steep embankment, I noticed a lot of trash that had been simply pushed off the edge when the cheap holiday homes were constructed. Vines and vegetation had grown over and concealed much of it but the evidence was still there….pipes, cans, old lumber bits and pieces.

After spending over a week along the Wild Atlantic Way with pristine scenery and amazing vistas packed with raw, elemental energy, it was quite a shock and disappointment to see the mess. I ran back to the house and grabbed my new Low F Celtic Whistle…which sounds more like a flute with its beautiful mellow tone. I arrived back at the pile of trash above the creek and began playing.

Due to the freezing temperature, the sounds weren’t perfect. Not to mention that I had just purchased it and wasn’t yet familiar with the wider finger placements…which had my hands twisted like a pretzel. Regardless, I opened my heart to the place and sent love and compassion to it through the music. As soon as I began to play I felt the energy of the place shift. It was as if it perked up and took notice. I felt it communicate a sense of surprise that a human would send appreciation to it after other humans trashed it.

So I played with intention and felt a returning energy of gratitude and a soothing of hurtful wounds. Even with freezing fingers and metal that wasn’t sure it wanted warm breath moving through it, the low tones filled the frosty air with love and appreciation for Nature and all beings that lived in that area.

The idea to consciously play music for the Earth really took root within me. Perhaps it isn’t grand gestures that will shift our human consciousness but rather everyday efforts to intentionally connect with the Earth….the living Earth.

It will look and feel different for everyone but here are a few suggestions: read a poem to the Earth each morning; sing a song to Her every day; dance barefoot on Her every day; do yoga outside and work with nature energies as you move through your practice; meditate  outdoors and consciously connect with Earth Mother; write a love letter to the Earth each day and read it aloud to Her; when you’re walking outdoors speak your gratitude for flowers, trees, grasses, soil, birds, worms, butterflies; go outside and simply listen with an open mind and heart; say prayers for Mother Earth outdoors and say them out loud.

Cliffs of Moher with a new high D whistle purchased in Ireland

It’s not about changing the Earth, it’s about changing our relationship to Her. We are the ones who need healing. We are the culprits of Her destruction but we can be the purveyors of stewardship through taking the time to make a daily conscious connection to Her.

Suggestion: keep an Earth journal and note what you did and your experience during and afterwards.


Gaia, also spelled Gaea, is the personification of the Earth. Gaia is the ancestral mother of all life: the primal Mother Earth goddess.

Gaia Hypothesis by James Lovelock, a UK chemist, claims the resident life forms of a host planet coupled with their environment act like a single, self-regulating system.

 

A Blessing

A Blessing

May the first rays of dawn warm your face as the sun rises on a new day and may they inspire you to know the light burning in your heart.

May the first drops of dew kiss your bare feet and clear your past of all that troubles you.

May a fresh wind carry away your heartaches and give you new perspective on your beautiful life.

May you know the strength of your ancestors and feel it in your bones.

May the beauty of nature guide you deeper into communion with all life.

May your eyes see the suffering of the world with compassion.

May you know the beauty of your soul and allow it to shine brightly.

When time sits heavy on your shoulders and the days seem void of joy, may your breath lead you to the calm, quiet place of stillness that lives within your core.


Photographs copyright Simone Lipscomb