Tag: Ireland

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

 

 

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.