Tag: Ireland

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.

The Harp

The Harp

On my final day in Ireland a gift was given in meditation. A cave was my point of visualization and in this amethyst cave I found a black zippered case. A Grandmother being was with me and said, “Once you open it, you can never go back.” I unzipped it and removed a small harp. “This is the gift from Eriu and you are now a trusted carrier of this wisdom. You have to carry it forth.”

I had absolutely no idea what a harp meant but she told me, as the meditation ended, to research the meaning and the significance would unfold.

After the meditation ended I went to my laptop and began researching the harp and Ireland. Coat of Arms….King of Ireland 13th century….high status among musicians in Ireland historically….in 17th century traditional musicians were outlawed or under control…harpist accompanied poetry recitations…became the resistance to the Crown and England….banned at end of medieval period…legend of Dagda, protector of people, had a magical harp that played itself….Queen Elizabeth I banned harps and harpists and even executed them as they were suspected to be the focal point of causing rebellions among Irish people against the crown….motto: It is now strung and shall be heard. 

It is now strung and shall be heard. The harp as a symbol is a call to awaken.

That message echoed throughout my consciousness and today, as I write this, it is especially meaningful. Yesterday, during a session with my life coach, we discussed the deep work of allowing my self to be seen for who I really am, to cease hiding my light and strength and allow my beauty and the beauty I offer the world to be fully seen.

The same message came to me months earlier when I was in Ireland on Inis Mor. I was standing in the prehistoric fort and a modern-day fencing pipe stood facing the Atlantic Ocean. The wind was fierce that day and it played the pipe. The low notes of the pipe reverberated in my body and I was reminded that we are like flutes…the more we clear out the inner obstructions, the more beautiful our expression as Spirit moves through us.

Resistance to an old, repressive authority was symbolized by the harp. By gathering together all of who they were, the Irish played their ‘harp’ and let England know that independence was theirs. They claimed their right to live in freedom instead of oppression.

The Grandmother reminded me of my right to freedom from the old, inner oppression. From birth and experiences of life, I organized my thoughts and behaviors and direction…we all do this and all through our lives we have opportunities to unlearn the unhealthy, deadening patterns. Once freedom is experienced, returning to a fear-based life is not acceptable…but the journey out of fear can be challenging.

As much as I love Ireland and appreciate the raw, elemental beauty perhaps the greatest gift I received there was the symbol of the harp that reminds me to gather in all of who I am…the fearful parts, the strong parts, the gifts, talents…and allow the Universe to move through me.

When I play my low Celtic whistle, the mellow tones remind me to be an open channel for Spirit. When I sing or speak….or photograph nature….or write….or just sit and do ‘nothing’ it’s about being fully present with all of myself and letting that be enough. Because it is enough and it’s wonderful just to feel wholeness and to embrace the journey of the Pilgrim who goes out into the world seeing everything as sacred, including the self.

John O’Donohue said, in A Celtic Pilgrimage, “Always in a pilgrimage there is a change of mind and a change of heart. The outer landscape becomes a metaphor for the unknown, inner landscape.” Traveling into beautiful landscapes reflects to me the beauty of the soul. It reminds me that we are part of nature…we are nature. There really is no separation. Travel is sacred to me because it is a reminder to reflect inward to that precious journey of the soul.

The journey to wholeness is perfectly summed up when John O’Donohue said, “If you enter into the dream that brought you here and awaken in its beauty in you, then the beauty will gradually awaken all around you.” Beloved Eriu, Beloved Ireland, you showed me beauty that awakened me and gave me glimpses into the beauty of the soul that still shines through the eyes of my heart. It is time to shine….the harp of my heart has been strung and now must be played.


All images copyright Simone Lipscomb

Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey

It may seem strange for a nature writer to focus on an abbey but it was a magical place that seemed very much in harmony with the spirits of the land. When we visited, it was under repair so I couldn’t photograph it. What I noticed was the seamless integration of human and nature. And….I had an experience there that still makes me laugh.

Rain was steadily falling as we added a top layer of waterproof jackets and pants to keep us dry. I brought along a collapsible umbrella to protect my camera. Ireland is known for its rain and changeable weather. But that day the radar showed rain rain rain rain rain.

I like the inner stillness that comes from being outside in rain. It’s not easy to extend my energy out there when rain is constantly giving a soft boundary that is immediate to my physical body. Even the drip drip drip of sprinkles insist on my being mindful of the present moment. Keep my camera dry, keep my head dry, stay focused on this right here.

The Abbey is huge and beautiful but I was more drawn to the trail that wandered through the grounds. We passed a small waterfall that emptied eventually into the beautiful lake. The mountains of Connemara were the backdrop of the still water.

A walk along Lough Pollacapull led to a small chapel that was simply stunning. The dark, wet stones seemed part of the woodlands. The inside was carved with beautiful nature elements. It was the most deeply peaceful chapel I’d ever visited. I felt surrounded by sweetness. This was most likely due to the chapel’s devotion to Mary.

I’m not Catholic but there were candles and I felt inspired to light one. I put my donation in and attempted to light the candle. I thought there were wicks already in the glass holders. My intention…. light a candle in prayer for ‘the’ man to enter my life. I had been six years single and in a deep healing process….sort of like a nun. I wasn’t looking for a man but should a compassionate, nature-loving, working-on-his-healing, creative one arrive in my life…I was open.

Frustratingly, the candle refused to light. I started to look around and noticed the box of small, white candles under the donation box. Doh! Lesson–if you want to invite your soulmate into your life make sure there’s something to actually call him to….in other words, show up! I was relieved that Gabriela and I were the only ones there as I felt a little ridiculous. I know the security footage from that day must be especially entertaining.

Later I discovered that Mitchell Henry built the castle in the late 1800’s, inspired by his love for his wife. His wife died and the chapel was built in memory of her. No wonder the energy there is so sweet. The love was palpable.

The gardens were magical, even with formal design and plantings. And all around were gigantic trees, perhaps saved from logging many centuries ago. I had a most profound experience with an old tree.

I stopped and put my forehead against the rough bark. I said, show me. I began to feel dizzy as images flashed through my mind like turning pages of a book very fast. Slow down, please, I whispered. Finally, the images slowed and came to rest on one of a small tree. I ‘heard’ a raspy whisper, Once I was a tiny tree and look at me now. Never give up. Always believe in yourself.

The Abbey and surrounding land shows that humans can interact with nature and live in harmony by practicing respect. Nature spirits can be celebrated in the design and operations of a place…even a big place. If humans are mindful of the energies of a place, there can be mutually beneficial existence. When we inhabit an area our presence doesn’t have to destroy the magic.

Ireland is a deeply dwelled in landscape with a long history of habitation by humans. And yet the energies of nature are strong and very present. I suspect this is because there is still a great respect, in many areas, of the Shining Ones that remain. I say this in reference to the rural areas–I didn’t feel that positive vibe near the airport in Dublin. The growth there has been exponentially destructive over the past ten years. It is my hope that the energies of nature will be honored and remembered because in my experience, that is why Ireland is such an incredible place.


Kylemore Abbey, as it is now called, is a Benedictine Abbey operated by nuns. They arrived in 1920 after their Abbey in Ypres, Belgium was destroyed during World War I.

The Neo-Gothic church, as it is called, is described as a ‘Cathedral in Miniature. It was built in the style of a 14th century gothic cathedral.