Tag: nature

The Next Chapter

The Next Chapter

Life seems to divide itself into geographic chapters for me. Choosing to live in an area gives me amazing experiences of connection to land and water, wildlife and people. Nearly a year ago I made the decision to end the chapter at the Gulf Coast of Alabama and begin another chapter, in another place.

Front View

While here I was fortunate enough to purchase a home that was built in a live oak forest. It has been a most amazing place to live, move and have my being. Barred owls are frequent visitors as are hawks. Just yesterday, after working on a short video, two hawks landed outside my office window in the grandmother oak tree and were loudly conversing in hawk-speak. It was amazing! Occasionally I see a fox and last summer, just after putting my home for sale, a mother fox and baby were seen just in front of my home. She spotted me and picked up her baby and carried it to their new den. A sign that time was drawing near for me to live in a new den.

The first month I moved into my home I found out about the sea turtle volunteer program so spent every summer involved in the magical life cycle of sea turtles. Also, early in this chapter, I became involved with volunteer work with the Manatee Sighting Network and that led to an amazing community rescue with Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Sea World a few years ago.

It’s not an easy decision to begin a new chapter. I get set in patterns and ways, comfortable in the predictable and immersed in the beauty of strong and beautiful trees and cow neighbors….I seem to be drawn to places with nearby cows. My dog Buddy even has one that licks his nose…that’s how friendly the angus are to us.

Front View

It took me a while to make the decision to move. I’ve never had a home so perfectly fit me and come to life so much with decorating and highlighting the magnificent architectural design. It’s an incredible southern cottage filled with charm. And I do have some family here. But my daughter lives two days drive from here and honestly, I’d like to be closer to her and my son-in-law. But not Michigan-close–where they live–but within a day’s drive.

So I considered various places, even thought about the Florida Springs area, but ultimately felt the call of Mother Earth and Her mountains. So once my home sells, I will be headed northeast. I guess that’s why I kept my snowshoes, snow pants and other winter gear. The Appalachian Mountains are calling me home. Admittedly, when I lived there before, it was the happiest I had ever been. The Asheville area is such an open-minded place that is inclusive of all….and that’s amazing to experience. And then….there are the mountains and waterfalls.

Fenced Courtyard at Rear

I am ready but the timing is up to the Universe. My home is for sale and awaits the perfect new owners…a person or people who will love the land here, the trees, the river access. My wish is that whoever lives here will experience the same unbounded love for the home and place I have felt…and known. It’s not easy closing this chapter but I am excited to start a new one and excited for whoever chooses to live here.

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….



All photographs copyright Simone Lipscomb.

Fear…The Thief of Life

Fear…The Thief of Life

I watched a YouTube video a guy created when he sailed across the North Sea solo during the winter. Crossing the North Sea Singlehanded is the title. It wasn’t across the entire North Sea…I think from Norway to the Shetland Islands, roughly 200 nautical miles…but still. Solo. Sixteen hour nights. Six meter waves….that’s like 18 foot waves. Snowing, sleeting, gale-force winds. I love the ocean but could barely watch it. I kept saying, what the heck was he thinking?

People have asked that same question about me….cave diving, traveling solo in England and Ireland, in Bonaire….leaving the ‘everyday grind’ to follow my heart’s calling. I understand what it feels like to have people question my sanity….just like I questioned the sanity of the guy sailing in insane conditions. Honestly, I was more afraid sitting on my sofa watching the North Sea video that I was during my adventures… except for my start in cave diving.

I think back to times when I had to choose between letting fear keep me stuck or taking the leap of faith into the vast Unknown. I believe the most powerful leaps in our lives always include an unknown aspect. We cannot know how a decision will truly affect us or the repercussions that will happen. It wouldn’t require anything of us if it was all the details were known. It wouldn’t produce growth or help us increase our strength and trust in ourselves. But I know this with all my heart: if we feel called to do something strongly and we gets signs–as in coincidences, synchronicities, etc–we are on the right track. I think the greatest tragedy is when we allow fear to keep us stuck and ignore those little breadcrumbs affirming the path that leads us to greater freedom and joy.

Cave diving….I was a diver already and wondered what could possibly be so great about being underwater in a cave. I was scared the first time I entered an underwater cave with my cave instructor friend. No doubt at all. My eyes were big, I could hardly breathe from getting caught in the high flow of water rushing out of the cave…I could share more ugly details…. but I persisted, even when I was scared. And I learned to trust my intuition completely while cave diving.

For instance, once my dive partner and I were entering a side passageway in Peacock Springs. We had tied a jump reel and everything was fine yet I began to feel really anxious. The hair on the back of my neck stood up and my breathing rate increased. I signaled to my partner that I needed to return to the main line. As soon as I got to it, I was completely okay. I couldn’t’ explain my anxiety but I listened and by doing so learned to trust myself.

Cave diving has taught me the most important lesson in my life: PAY ATTENTION.

Fear is a natural response to change. The way to differentiate between fear that is normal and fear that is paralyzing is to pay attention to how the body responds…at least that works for me.

I know that fear can keep us stuck, keep us from taking the leap into something wonderful. I know this because I have experienced it. But I have also made the leap, many times, and every time….when I really felt something strongly calling me…it has been amazing.

Sailing across the North Sea in winter is not on my to-do list but there are other adventures yet to come…I feel them calling. I’m ready to leap. What is calling you? Don’t let fear keep you from your dreams….don’t let it steal your life.

Ave Maria

Ave Maria

Franz Schubert’s song written in 1825 came onto my iPod this morning as I cycled. When I ride I choose to do a random shuffle of all songs and see what the Universe sends my way as I navigate the backcountry trails or highways at the beach. Today, Ave Maria came on and was immediately followed by another version of Ave Maria. I was already teary just opening my heart to nature and singing along so the second version opened an even bigger doorway to connect with Divine Feminine. Not a religious version….the true Feminine side of the whole…the equal balance to Divine Masculine.

Oh, how our world needs more of the receptive strength that balances the active principle of masculine energy. The centuries of conquering the land, other people, other nations and pushing for more at any cost is destroying our planet…that energy left unchecked is destructive. The imbalance is deadly.

So as I pedaled and listened and sang Ave….’be well’ to the trees and squirrels and lizards my heart opened to their hearts…beating to some Divine rhythm that is the Great Mystery. How can I cultivate the Divine Feminine within me? How can I keep opening and opening and opening….even when it hurts so badly to feel the destruction, the meanness, the disregard for life and lack of compassion exhibited by so many people, so many countries.

A while back I wrote a blog called Rise Up about empowering ourselves through opening to everything that’s happening rather than closing and building a wall within ourselves. I like to think of Mother Earth rising up through us, using our skills and talents, our compassion and love. She can only work through us if we are open. If we dare to feel what’s happening all around us.

How would Mother Earth work through you? Through me? How will we know unless we open and listen…in stillness and silence. When we take our openness to our yoga mats, meditation cushions, walking meditations….through any wellness practice…and surrender in service we become active participants in whatever healing needs to take place.

A Mary Oliver poem comes to mind….My Work is Loving This World.

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird –
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

Which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.


Ave Maria as performed by Beyonce

All photographs copyright Simone Lipscomb