Tag: LIGHTWORK

When Technology Outgrows Conscience

When Technology Outgrows Conscience

simonelipscomb (6)In my cross-training efforts the elliptical trainer provides an opportunity to catch up on TED talks. While I whirl and sweat I watch videos from these amazing talks and recently I’ve been viewing those related to oceans.

I watched three today and each one nurtured a perplexing subject that has been surfacing in my mind over the past few years. Today I heard a clear question whispered from the ethers: Is it really good to discover new sources of life and potential material wealth when human consciousness has not evolved at the same pace as technological development?

Shark caught and left to die on the beach. I asked the fisherman why he allowed the shark to die...'because they are dangerous' he said.
Shark caught and left to die on the beach. I asked the fisherman why he allowed the shark to die…’because they are dangerous’ he said.

As a species on the planet, we appear to be more at war with it than stewards of it. This is evidenced by the conflicts we wage on each other in our neighborhoods, in oil fields, in mountains hiding gold and other valuable metals, in our oceans. Exploitation is still the collective mindset of our species.

Machinery at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge trying to remove a large, sunken mat of oil during the BP Oil Spill
Machinery at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge trying to remove a large, sunken mat of oil during the BP Oil Spill

Billions of dollars are spent on cancer research yet we haven’t understood and acted on the realization that what we are doing to the water, air, food sources are all contributing to the increase of cancer. The toxins we dump onto and into our planet are killing us and all life. But we, as a whole, stick to the mindset that more is better and profit at any cost is acceptable. The disconnect is clearly destroying us.

We have tried to conquer, control, manipulate our oceans, soil, energy resources and have failed with this mindset. Only when we apply principles of cooperation and respect toward each other, the planet, animals, plants, air, water do we create opportunity for balance and plenty for all.

Our group from a week with Joanna Macy, our mentor who teaches how to stay sane while working to help the planet
Our group from a week with Joanna Macy, our mentor who teaches how to stay sane while working to help the planet

My hope is that before we discover marvelous, new, wondrous places, resources and animals to exploit that we step back, take many breaths and allow our sense of ethics and conscience to catch up with technology that we use daily to destroy the very thing that gives us physical life. It is time for us to learn a heart-centered approach to living and allow the blossoming of love within us to guide us rather than our ego-driven and self-centered desires.

simonelipscomb (5)When we collectively can reach across the self-created constructs that divide us related to race, religion, politics, and more then perhaps we will be ready to care for new and marvelous discoveries on our planet. Until then, let us cultivate responsible stewardship and unconditional love.

Turning Point

Turning Point

simonelipscomb (3)The dark, heavy energy has shifted. I’ve been sitting on my back porch listening to the rain, listening to distant thunder over the Gulf and to wind chimes slowly moving in the slight breeze, their deep tones filling the courtyard with celestial music and serving as background sound to drops splatting and thumping on the metal roof. Frogs sing occasionally, adding their baritone to the soprano whistles and trills of birds darting to and fro.

simonelipscombIn the distance, the sounds of children laughing and playing in the rain provide nurturance to the joy taking root within the dark recesses in me that have stored grief over bad new– environmental reports this week that seemed endless. Swinging in my hammock chair with my buddy Stanley Kubrick purring contentedly on my lap, I realized that I have ridden the wave of grief to the other side.

A spark of light ignited this shift. A favorite musician posted yesterday on his FaceBook page, “So happy to be playing music. There is no finer place on earth today than Oklahoma.” Ben Taylor’s post planted a seed of light. I nurtured it by having a session of Thai Yoga yesterday afternoon that helped stretch me out of my funk. Then the morning of rain and gentleness helped me grow the light seed and expand it like a candle igniting a thousand inner lamps.

simonelipscomb (1)Being present in the moment and happy to be doing something I love to do is something to celebrate. Finding joy within a storm of bad environmental news gives me a stronger foundation from which to work and helps me gain footing on the Path so I can take the next step in my work. With my inner lamps rekindled I move forward with joy, in celebration of this beautiful water planet.

simonelipscomb (2)Stanley Kubrick and I celebrated this delicious, rainy, soft morning by dancing on the back porch while listening to Jolly Holiday. “Ain’t it a glorious day? Right as a mornin’ in May, I feel like I could fly….When the day is gray and ordinary, <Stanley> makes the sun shine bright!”

Staying present with grief, with joy…with beauty. It’s all part of this turning point in which we find ourselves on our Earthly planet.

Breadcrumbs for Myself

Breadcrumbs for Myself

Swan by Simone Lipscomb
Swan by Simone Lipscomb

Today I was sorting a pile of stuff in a wooden tray on my desk and found several little slips of paper with ideas scribbled hurriedly, inspiration run amok. I do that quite often when I am concentrating on something else and inspiration hits. Rather than lose it I jot it down and ‘file’ it in my to-do box. And these little pieces of paper sift through the stack and end up at the bottom until they are excavated by a mad fit of cleaning.

Yesterday I started reading a book called, Beautiful Whale. It is the story of Bryant Austin who was touched (literally) by a enormous whale with her pectoral flipper (a 15 foot long, two ton flipper) on his shoulder during an intensely life-changing moment. He tells how he vowed then to photograph whales and create life-size prints of them to help raise awareness of their beauty and value. This meant getting very close to them to capture details that are impossible to capture in photographs underwater from a distance. It also meant building computers that could handle the file sizes. And selling everything he owned to make this happen.

Manatee by Simone Lipscomb
Manatee by Simone Lipscomb

As I read Bryant’s story and viewed the amazing photographs in this very over-sized book, I felt so humbled by his dedication. And I found myself evaluating my own journey and feeling off course a bit…as if I’m not really giving my full attention to my task…whatever it is. And so I felt frustration. What am I doing?

One treasure I found this afternoon while sorting through the pile on my desk was written in early January. “If I truly viewed this Earth as the Kingdom of God, would I not drop everything to document this place of wonder? This is my path, my journey for the next year–to fully immerse myself in the beauty and joy of this place we call Earth!” BAM!

Brown Pelican by Simone Lipscomb
Brown Pelican by Simone Lipscomb

A direct answer to my frustration last evening. And another, more recent, scrap of paper was something my mother included in my birthday card. It was a short piece on the earth being the Kingdom of God and how we are stewards and caretakers. When I get the same message two or three times in such a short time I pay attention. Einstein said coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous.

Gator smile by Simone Lipscomb
Gator smile by Simone Lipscomb

The little notes I write to my future self surface exactly when I most need them. They serve as breadcrumbs along the path that nurture me when I find myself needing sustenance for my dreams and ideas.

Blue Heart of the Planet

Blue Heart of the Planet

simone (2)When the weather doesn’t cooperate with my exercise plans I use the elliptical trainer. I’ve been watching TED talks while working out–specifically the series on the Ocean. One of the presenters referred to the Ocean as being the ‘blue heart of the planet’ so on this first day of spring, I wanted to celebrate the Ocean….the one massive Ocean that covers 71% of the Earth’s surface and contains 97% of the planet’s water (NOAA).

We know that the Ocean is the lungs of our planet. Although estimates vary, somewhere between 70 and 80% of Earth’s oxygen is produced by phytoplankton in the ocean. Rain forests and trees are very important and provide the other 20% to 30% of vital oxygen.

Dr. Sylvia Earle reported in one TED Talk that 90% of the Ocean’s big fish are gone. Ninety percent….gone. This is directly the result of overfishing…taking fish faster than they can reproduce.

simoneI was thinking about the interconnection of the Ocean and all life on the planet. Truly, if the Ocean dies, humans will die…unless we learn to breath a mixture of less than 21% oxygen. Divers know better, so do scientists….and physicians. We simply cannot survive on less oxygen…at least not for any length of time.

After watching the TED talks, two stories came to my attention that broke my heart. First, over 200 manatees have died this year due to red tide or an algae bloom in Florida waters. Red tide is caused by a combination of factors that can include warm Ocean temperatures, high nutrient content (from fertilizers and sewage effluent) and low salinity (that might happen after heavy rain). Manatees are endangered and their recovery was looking very good so this is a major setback. You might not care about manatees so why should it concern you? The algae associated with red tide can cause respiratory distress in humans and can make people sick if they eat shellfish or fish that have eaten or been exposed to the algae. That interconnected idea…it’s for real!

The other news was especially difficult to hear and even though it doesn’t involve ocean animals directly, it is a species genetically related to manatees. A story on NPR told of how poachers are killing African elephants in numbers so great that their numbers have been reduced 62% in ten years. A reporter told of witnessing 100 men on horseback rounding up herds of elephants and using assault rifles and grenade launchers to kill elephants for the ivory trade in China. Diplomatic jets from China transport the ivory back where the growing middle class and upper class pay over $1300 a kilo (2.2 pounds).

Overlay image of dolphin necropsy taken from a baby dolphin in Key West
Overlay image of dolphin necropsy taken from a baby dolphin in Key West


Can you imagine our planet without elephants? Or manatees? Can you imagine humans capable of murdering innocent animals such as elephants…or dolphins like they do in Japan? Innocent creatures.

The heart of our planet is in danger and not just the blue heart. It seems as though the collective human soul is filled with violence and greed. While listening to the elephant story I sobbed and screamed….I am so angry about human arrogance and greed. We are capable of such love and beauty and at the same time capable of unspeakable acts of violence and aggression.

simone (3)
One of the TED talk scientists spoke of how easy it is to become overwhelmed with all of the horrible things happening on our planet. His suggestion was to do everything you can in your own life and then choose one place or one animal on the planet and call that your project of hope. Support it, educate people about it, study it. If we focus on everything that’s wrong we get depressed, angry…we become ineffective. But if we work on our home life and that one special project of hope, we can continue to be an advocate for positive change in the world.

Now is not the time to give up. It’s not too late. As Sylvia Earle said, “The good news is there’s still 10% of the big fish left on the planet.”

simone (4)May our hearts join together in support of the blue heart of the planet and may there be a collective awakening of love and light. Nothing else will create the change that is necessary for planetary health…of which humans are an important part.

My Life is a River

My Life is a River

Over a week ago coastal Alabama had 8 inches of rain in a short period of time. This created a great amount of water than ran into our creeks and rivers. The Magnolia River, where I live, was no exception.

Beach across the river
Beach across the river

After the high water subsided I wheeled my SUP board down to the little beach near the headwaters of the river and noticed quite a change. Brilliant white sand had built up on the beach across the river and on our little beach.

This might not seem like such a big deal but since Hurricane Isaac last summer, high tides from the storm had deposited large amounts of very dark, sticky mud on the beach so every step left feet or sandals caked with mud. It stained feet, gummed up flip-flops and was a nasty mess. That’s the thing about this tidal river–it is affected by whatever is pushed into Week’s Bay or Mobile Bay.

The beach where I put in used to be a muddy mess...now white sand graces the shore
The beach where I put in used to be a muddy mess…now white sand graces the shore

It was exciting to see that the old snag by the rocks had been flushed away. There had been too many close calls with that bit of debris and my SUP board narrowly escaped slices and gouges from the old, dead wood laying just beneath the surface.

Taking a moment to contemplate life
Taking a moment to contemplate life

As I paddled along today I thought how my life is like this river. There has been a lot of dark, sticky yuck that has lurked just beneath the surface for many years. Finally, a series of events brought these unpleasant, dysfunctional behaviors to my attention and I’ve been working to clear them.

A big gully-washer of tears from grief and sadness over what I have lost throughout my life flushed out of my unconscious in bits and pieces. The darkness was loosened and freed and the beautiful light within was brought up. I call it love…unconditional love. Like the white sand on the beaches, new ground has formed for my life. The old inner snags that hooked me have been flushed away and I’m left with clarity and peace.

Clowning around for the camera
Clowning around for the camera in Crystal River, Florida

There will continue to be tides that bring change and heavy rains that clear away the old but one thing is certain to me–my life is a river of love and light. I finally understand that. And so is yours. And someday, maybe we can have ‘inner rivers’ that are crystal clear and filled constantly from the Source of Life.

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