Tag: John O’Donohue

Joyful Mysteries

Joyful Mysteries

After searching YouTube for John O’Donohue videos, I came upon an unedited conversation/interview he had with Krista Tippett on NPR. It was over 90 minutes filled with little jewels of wisdom and ideas for deepening our soul experience.

He was a former Catholic priest and to me, one of the great Celtic philosophers and healers of our time. One of the ideas he shared in the interview was applying the Joyful Mysteries to your own life and seeing what arises from the depths of soul experience. I was very intrigued by this and decided to work with it. I’m not Catholic nor religious but am a spiritual seeker, one dedicated to deepening my soul experience.

For background information, the Five Joyful Mysteries is a way of praying the rosary. They are centered on the life of Jesus. They include the Annunciation–Gabriel’s announcing to Mary of the Incarnation; the Visitation–spiritual being appearing; Nativity–birth of Jesus; Presentation–when Jesus was presented at the Temple at age 12; Finding–when Mary found Jesus after he stayed behind and was ‘lost’ from her for three days.

These questions relate to the Five Joyful Mysteries and how we might apply them to our lives: When was there an announcement so big it changed your life? When have you experienced a visit from the spirit world? When have you been reborn? What experience do you have with initiation? When have you recovered lost parts of yourself?

O’Donohue suggested naming four times for each of the Mysteries to give yourself a sort of soul map of your life. Just coming up with one for each was an interesting exercise and I look forward to more exploration. Here’s my short list of Joyful Mysteries.

Announcement–Years ago I made a promise to the Universe that if I ever had the money to support myself, I would dedicate myself fully to helping connect humans to Nature through photography and writing. The money came through from a land sale and for the past 12 years I have fulfilled that promise.

Visit from the World of Spirit–My father died during my senior year of college. My family had traveled to Auburn to attend my graduation. On the morning of the ceremony, I awoke suddenly. The house was very quiet. I heard my father say, “I am so proud of you.” I didn’t see him but I felt him in the room with me. It brought me so much joy to feel the connection with him.

Rebirth–After a time when I experienced deep loss in every aspect of my life, I came to a place of total emptiness. It felt like there was nothing left but ashes of my former life. From these ashes, I rose like a phoenix. It took time but it happened and after this death and rebirth, the money became available to dedicate myself fully to the promise mentioned above.

Initiation–Through deep explorations with Nature there have been many spiritual initiations that have changed my life. One in particular stands out. I was on a boat, anchored 90 miles offshore of the Dominican Republic, on a humpback whale encounter. I was up on deck before sunrise doing yoga and as part of my practice that morning began doing a dedication, renewing the promise I made years before to Spirit. The nearly full moon was bright yet stars were hanging so close I could feel their brilliance. Whales were nearby as evidenced by their loud exhalations and fishy, misty breath illuminated by the moonlight. As I stood on deck and spoke, it was as if the whales knew exactly what I was doing and came closer. I felt surrounded by intense energy, as if engulfed in a blue then purple flame as my heart opened more to the whales, stars, moon…to the Universe. It felt as if I was anointed with spiritual fire. (Even as I write this, I feel the power of this experience).

Recovering Lost Parts of Self–Just recently I have been working with a  part of myself that I re-discovered in Ireland. I call it the Warrior Priest. I was at a retreat on Inish Mor and took a couple days afterwards to be by myself and explore the island. On the last day there, I walked to a chapel ruin on the hill above the inn. I felt pulled further over the rocky terrain to the edge of the cliff. As I expressed gratitude and love for the powerfully beautiful place, I turned to leave and felt a presence follow me….not just down the hill but all the way home. As I have worked with this presence I recognize it as a part of myself that I found waiting in Ireland.

Pondering O’Donohue’s suggestion was powerful. It wasn’t difficult to come up with an example for each of the Joyful Mysteries and now I have a greater sense of appreciation for the work I’ve done of creating more wholeness in my life. For each Mystery there are other experiences I can use to create a map of my soul experience.

Perhaps the most beautiful idea to arise from this are more sacred threads to weave into the tapestry of my life. It’s very integrative to search for Joyful Mysteries that have formed this soul experience so I offer this idea to others who might wish to expand their life’s tapestry. Sometimes tools come along that help us acknowledge the path of power we have walked and claim it as our greatest work of art.

 

Bless the Space

Bless the Space

_TSL4000A new book has just begun the process of being birthed. For a few weeks I’ve been organizing my mind and now the task of actually organizing the writing has begun. And of course my mind is searching for distractions.

Part of the creative process involves searching through journals and other writing I’ve done in the past so naturally there are many wonderful storylines to chase. I wasn’t looking for them and they aren’t related to the book I’m writing….but gee, it was fun to chase those rabbits.

SimoneLipscomb (5)Until I realized I was distracted. (Sigh).

One of the threads I chased, however, was actually one I was searching for and who can help getting a bit carried away with John O’Donohue?

_TSL0818I was looking for a journal entry on a manatee trip but couldn’t remember the date. Never found the journal but did find the blog post. So then I wanted to find the passage I was listening to on the trip that I was writing about and found the audio file, listened and then found myself following little threads of John’s teachings. Teachings that have blessed and assisted so many of us.

Here’s a few of the threads:

From an interview with Diane Covington in 2006: “Everyone of us dreams and a dream is a most sophisticated artistic document. When you were a child you lived in an imagined world and the child-like side of the self never dies. There is a relentless pulse of creativity within us.”

From Bless the Space Between Us: “To Come Home to Yourself–May all that is unforgiven in you be released. May your fears yield their deepest tranquilities. May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future graced with love.”

SimoneLipscomb (12)John said that fear blinds us and we see only one door, one possibility, when there might be seven or eight doors. Every person is the holder of incredible possibilities. Deep down, he said, we know exactly what is going on and we have to give that truth a chance. If we can drop into stillness, silence and solitude everything that needs to happen will happen. The key is recognizing the seeds planted by others, that we have watered and tended with attention, that overshadow the truth.

SimoneLipscomb (4)He tells of sitting at people’s bedsides while they are dying and finding that regret is one of the loneliest places humans can ever find themselves. What is it that your heart truly wants to do but you are too afraid to do, he asks? What seeds have others planted that have made you doubt your own heart’s voice? How does fear keep you from living your life the way you want to?

_TSL2046“Each day is the field of brightness where the invitation of our life unfolds. The writer goes to his desk each morning to meet the empty white page. As he settles himself, he is preparing for visitation and voyage. His memory, longing, and craft set the frame for what might emerge. He has no idea what will come. Yet despite his limitations, his creative work will find its own direction to form. Each of us is an artist of our days; the greater our integrity and awareness, the more original and creative our time will become.”

_TSL2013So I chased a few rabbits, followed a few threads, and wrote a few paragraphs. All of which is sacred space, creative space. And now this space between us, may it be blessed. Thank you John O’Donohue for the teachings you shared with us.

 

Signs and Open Doors

Signs and Open Doors

SimoneLipscomb (24)Last week was one of the most powerful weeks of my life. After I got home I started counting up significant happenings and there were over a dozen. By following my intuition and listening to my heart, doors opened, messages were received and a huge shift occurred.

The details about the manatee part of the trip are in a previous post but I wanted to share an overall perspective of the signs that appeared during the week as they have pointed me in a very strong direction from which clarity is arising.

SimoneLipscomb (5)
Mother manatee laid her head on my left shoulder. Juvenile rested on her back…I was in complete bliss… Lucky to have captured this image but I did flood my dry suit in the pretzel position I had to make of my body to get the shot.

Here’s a partial list:  Rainbow appeared over left shoulder while driving and talking into my voice memo on my iPhone saying how I want to follow my creative dreams; pulled up to traffic signal while rainbow was still bright in the sky and the cross street was named, ‘Follow That Dream Parkway;’ manatees in greater numbers than I’ve ever seen and many friendly ones posed for photographs and video; met kindred spirits from Australia; shirts with Advice From a Manatee on them…same poem read by a young woman at the manatee memorial gathering; mother and juvenile manatee rested their heads on my left shoulder (rainbow over left shoulder); visited with Magnolia, our manatee friend healing at Sea World Rehab; on Saturday night songwriter Paul Cebar looked directly into my eyes while singing a line about making dreams come true; invited to go to Tonga to volunteer with humpback whale work; had the condo to myself Thursday night so I could process and write about the incredible encounters with manatees I had over three days; followed intuition to leave a very crowded concert venue and found a beautiful trail at Grayton Beach State Park and a sacred oak grove; instead of leaving Sunday morning I went to two songwriter workshops…and that’s where I’ll pick up the story.

Paul Cebar
Paul Cebar

After the above experiences and many more, the songwriter workshops brought the week to a powerful close. Paul, the guy that sang the line about making dreams come true, did the first workshop and sang the song again. Message received. Am I this dense, I wondered. I was sitting there listening to Paul thinking back to the powerful rainbow experience on my first travel day.

Will Kimbrough & Tommy Womack
Will Kimbrough & Tommy Womack

Then Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack did the second workshop and gave beautiful advice. It was striking a powerful chord (excuse the music pun) within me so I started taking notes on my phone. Here’s a bit of it:

Tommy: “Genius is remaining true to who you are. Go deep in your core. Be honest. Reveal yourself.” This is exactly what the entire week was about for me–honoring my path, listening to the inner voice, and being real in my work.

Will: “Don’t beat yourself for not writing all the time. You have to go out and gather experiences and then write.” One of the major self-criticisms in my life is that I’m not always producing. I constantly have to ward off the idea that if I’m not busy writing or photographing or ‘working’ that I’m failing.

Tommy…or Will: “Do what you enjoy.” It has been my intention to follow my bliss in life and during the week I had a realization that if I opened my heart to my path, the doors–that are already open and waiting for me–will be revealed.

Manatee rolling in green water
Manatee rolling in green water

Here’s  the Joseph Campbell quote about following your bliss:

“Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”

In summary, it was a Joseph Campbell Follow-Your-Bliss week. I decided to go back and review the recording from the rainbow experience that seemed to jump-start it all. I was talking into my voice memo app after listening to John O’Donahue recordings that prompted realizations when the rainbow appeared. It’s an unedited version of what was happening. Here’s an excerpt:

FullSizeRender
I had no idea where my workhorse D800 was so I grabbed my phone and took this…

I want to float in Oneness and allow my true self to shine. My creativity…OH MY GOD! There’s a rainbow! AH!! It’s so beautiful. AMAZING! Oh, my GOD! Right as I was about to say this realization about creativity…Oh, my GOD! It’s a double rainbow!! WOO HOO! ………  I have based my creativity on what I think others want in order to be successful in what I’m creating. My creativity, what wants to come through me, doesn’t have to look like anybody else’s…OH!!! HOLY CRAP!…The rainbow is a complete and total arch!!… (expletive)…That’s the most intense rainbow I have ever seen in my life! It was a double rainbow and the inside at one point…all the clouds became intense golden in color and the rainbow was rain-bowing inside itself….Ok….To be really successful just in my own heart and creative self, mind and soul is creating something that’s totally me and not about creating to sell or earn a living…bringing through to the material realm whatever it is that wants to be brought through….unbelievable! Oh…this is SO BEAUTIFUL! (I should stop and get out). It’s like the whole sky….(laughter) is a complete beautiful…Oh, my GOD! I’m at Follow That Dream Parkway…That’s actually a sign on County Road 40 in Inglis, Florida. This is like spiritually crazy-good! Follow that dream baby! And create…Follow your dream! You can do this! It’s good, it’s good, it’s GOOD! This is a good day!

Listening to the recording took me into that moment of beautiful realization. It felt as if John O’Donahue must have been smiling down upon me and Joseph Campbell had the follow-up punch that brought the week to a close by the reminder from Tommy or Will to do what I enjoy…follow my bliss.

 

Photograph by Richard Wylie...THANK YOU!!
Photograph of me and juvenile manatee by Richard Wylie…THANK YOU!!

The truth Campbell wrote about speaks to the fact that we bring skills and gifts with us into this life. If we do what we truly love we will succeed….the kind of success that goes beyond money or notoriety….the soul’s journey being successful. John and Joseph, thank you! Paul, Tommy and Will, thank you! Manatees…rainbows….street signs…thank you!

It feels as if I am the arrow in the bow of my life and I’m drawn back and ready to be shot forth into the world. I can’t exactly say what set off the incredible series of events but I know how powerful it feels. The hard, inner work is now beginning to set a powerful direction for me and as a friend wrote yesterday, Awesome Adventures Await!

Follow That Dream. Message received, noted….. and YES!

Seeing

Seeing

simonelipscomb1 (4)From John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara

simonelipscomb1 (1)“To the fearful eye, all is threatening. When you look toward the world in a fearful way, all you see and concentrate on are things that can damage and threaten you. The fearful eye is always besieged by threat.”

simonelipscomb1 (6)“To the loving eye, everything is real. This art of love is neither sentimental nor naive. Such love is the greatest criterion of truth, celebration, and reality. Love is the light in which we see each thing in its true origin, nature, and destiny. If we could look at the world in a loving way, then the world would rise up before us full of invitation, possibility, and depth.”

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The Seeds We Plant

The Seeds We Plant

Glastonbury Tor
Glastonbury Tor

As the elliptical trainer whirled and my heart rate increased, my mind calmed. This rainy morning forced an indoor workout so to pass the time, I turned on an audio of a favorite speaker, John O’Donohue, and listened to his address called, Love Antidote. Even though it has been heard many times, more good stuff was gathered from his wisdom.

When he told a story or introduced an idea, my mind would take it and turn it over like a stone, wet from its life in a clear river. Textures, layers, colors spoke to me and offered insight into the human condition.

Rock stack in North Carolina river
Rock stack in North Carolina river

Have you ever had someone plant an idea in your mind that was based in fear? I have seen how much deep damage can occur when others sow seeds of fear and doubt in the minds of those we love, creating fertile ground for distrust to occur. The destruction of trust, joy and happiness that occurs when seeds such as this are scattered can be devastating.

I once had the privilege of helping teach a woman consumed with fear how to dive. She stood on the pool deck, that first night of class, and was shaking uncontrollably. Not even wet or in gear, she was terribly afraid. While my partner/instructor began the class, I began to work with her. What was uncovered were deep-seated fears about trusting herself. As a child she was taught to fear, to not trust herself to make good decisions. She experienced much growth from facing her fears and with a lot of one-on-one instruction from my partner, went on to become a good diver.

A friend of mine diving in Bonaire (not my student)
A friend of mine diving in Bonaire (not the student I referenced in writing) showing the joy that can occur from                                        doing something that pushes us through our fears

“Occasions of fear are invitations for freedom and courage.” (John O’Donohue)

How many times do we allow seeds, that other people plant within our minds, destroy our peace of mind or even relationships with those we love? How often do those seeds of fear grow into mind-beasts that control us and ruin our happiness or our potential for happiness?

John said that fear blinds us and we see only one door, one possibility, when there might be seven or eight doors. Every person is the holder of incredible possibilities. Deep down, he said, we know exactly what is going on and we have to give that truth a chance. If we can drop into stillness, silence and solitude everything that needs to happen will happen. The key is recognizing the seeds planted by others, that we have watered and tended with attention, that overshadow the truth.

Injured diver from Great Britain doing a dolphin therapy session
Injured diver from Great Britain doing a dolphin therapy session

He tells of sitting at people’s bedsides while they are dying and finding that regret is one of the loneliest places humans can ever find themselves.What is it that your heart truly wants to do but you are too afraid to do, he asks? What seeds have others planted that have made you doubt your own heart’s voice? How does fear keep you from living your life the way you want to?

Manatee
Manatee

So many need help…..children, animals, rivers, oceans, elders, trees, veterans. What holds us back? What seeds of fear have we allowed to take root so deeply that we choose no action rather than risk an imagined or perceived outcome based in fear, not in truth?

Child fishing near Coden, Alabama
Child fishing near Coden, Alabama

What if we choose to sow seeds of love and compassion? If we align our passion with that group or situation we feel most drawn to, only good can come from our step toward that which calls us. What is your passion? What opens your heart? My wish is that we all have the courage to step out of fear and follow our heart’s path. Imagine the results!

Girl Scouts welcoming wounded veterans to Key Largo, FL
Girl Scouts welcoming wounded veterans to Key Largo, FL