Tag: Nature Photography

Breathe for the World

Breathe for the World

SimoneLipscomb (3)Tears rolled down my face as we sat sounding Om* for the World but especially for Paris. That simple word united our focus, our minds and hearts, as we began our yoga practice. Still feeling raw from news of the attacks, I surrendered to the breath and the opening of the heart that comes with breathing…in……..out……….in……….out.

SimoneLipscombThe week had already been difficult for various reasons. Thursday my thoughts focused on an elder in my extended family, a family to which I once belonged. His birthday was coming around Thanksgiving….how old this year? 95? 96? I wondered how he was and sent him a heart hug. Friday morning an email arrived with the news that he had transitioned to the next stage of his journey and had left this earthly realm.

SimoneLipscomb (4)My heart opened to his family, my former family, and all day I thought of them. It’s difficult to know how to express love and grief in situations such as this. Love doesn’t go away because relationships change.

Then late last night social media began distributing the news of the attacks on Paris. More terrorism, more fear. More opportunities to hate. And more opportunities to love.

800_1569Gathering with my yoga community to practice this morning, we joined together and opened our hearts to help generate love and compassion. With each breath, each posture we were guided by our teacher to open more, create more space within ourselves and to give it away to the world. We dedicated our practice to love, the love generated from open hearts, open minds.

As the tears flowed I dedicated my practice to Paris and to Charles Cooke and to his family…breathing love and compassion to all. And even to those whose fear turned to hatred strong enough to commit such violence. Every posture a prayer for peace, a prayer of love.

DSC_8569I no longer felt helpless but rather empowered to help change the fabric we each and all create. We exist in an on-going collective creative dance. The key is to be mindful of exactly what we are creating….monitoring our thoughts, behaviors…our speech.

_TSL7712When my grandfather passed from this world during Hurricane Katrina I envisioned him helping those dying cross over. When Daddy-O passed this week and the Paris attacks happened, I envisioned him helping those whose lives ended so suddenly and violently. Both men were in their 90’s and both had faith based in love. They leave behind a legacy of love.

800_1368May each of us cultivate love and compassion with every inhalation and with every exhalation send it out to the world. With our mindfulness, let us breathe for the world.

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*While there are many possible origins and explanations for what Om means, I think of it as the sound of the Universe. When we hold this word in song, we allow the sound of the Universe to breathe through us.

Thank you Augusta Kantra for providing the container for a practice of love and compassion.

 

 

A Tuesday

A Tuesday

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Connection

There’s a children’s book called, Tuesday. It’s my favorite. There are only two sentences in the book. First one is: “Tuesday evening, around eight.” The pages of illustrations that follow are of frogs that are magically transported on flying lily pads. The second sentence is at the end, ” Next Tuesday, around 7:58pm.” The next-to-last illustration is the shadow of a pig high on a barn wall.

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Friend

Some times there are no words that adequately describe an event or a place of beauty so today, on a Tuesday, I wish to simply share some of my favorite images. The words are for you to form but I hope there are more emotions than words.

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Contact
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Team-work
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Cloud-like Being
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Playing with Mama
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Will you be my friend?
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Flow

Sometimes there are no words, but for a photographer who is also a writer that will be when pigs fly.

Tuesday...around 10.30am.
Tuesday…around 10.30am.

 

Harmony

Harmony

SimoneLipscomb (5)There’s an old joke that goes: How can you tell a happy motorcycle rider? She’s the one with bugs in her teeth. As I was cycling in the pre-dawn darkness I remembered the joke. I was laughing, smiling and rejoicing in the dark, quiet stillness and wondered if I had a collection of bugs in my teeth.

Birds were just awakening and were surprised by my whirling by in a blur of neon green, headlamp and red-flashing taillight. There was pure magic in the swampy woods and live oak forests before the sun arose and dissipated the gentle energy of the inky night. How could I not smile…or laugh out loud at the depth of beauty?

Deeper into the woods, deeper inside myself I went until there seemed to be no separation. At one point it was as if I took off dark glasses, so clearly did I see and connect with the energy of the backcountry. I thought of  a verse of scripture that goes something like…Now we see through a glass, darkly; someday we shall see clearly. For a brief moment I saw the Oneness, the lack of separation of this body, my consciousness, my energy field and that of the forest. I felt the deep joy that comes with the experience.

_TSL7676Through the marsh I pedaled with its beautiful openness barely illuminated by the rosy-orange sky. Breathing in….breathing out…the beauty filling me, my love and gratitude going into the marsh…the tall grass, flowers, water, creatures.

Then a turn to the left and a bird flew across the trail and I saw the bird as a musical note.  All of creation is part of one harmonious chord. How lovely this planetary song, I thought.

DSC_8937Onward I moved and the realization came: When a species is threatened or in danger of extinction, the musical note it holds in the whole dims and fades and if that species disappears, there is a minor tone instead of a clear tone and the planetary music sounds mournful. The more species that die off, the more minor the key, the sadder the music of our ocean-planet home.

IMG_1705Likewise if a place is destroyed the particular note it vibrated in the whole chord is gone and the music is more distorted. Imagine the planetary vibration, once in perfect harmonious accord, changed with each act of violence, each act of destruction. Eventually the chord, the vibration can dissemble into distorted chaos.

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Brent Durand took this image of me diving in the Sea of Cortez. My deepest meditations are underwater while diving. Harmony…ah!


The resolution to this disharmony, this destruction, is to vibrate our hearts with love and to act from a place of compassion. As the vibration of the planet changes, humans can restore balance and harmony with the intention of love and by concrete, daily practices of recycling, using less fossil fuel, buying less ‘stuff,’ supporting organic farming, re-purposing articles, helping neighbors, helping animals, meditation, self-healing…..

_TSL3873Light of the rising sun began to illuminate tree branches, spanish moss, and autumn flowers. Palmetto fronds reached toward the light, palms wide open to receive, ‘fingers’ releasing gratitude skyward. They are an example for us. Hearts open to receive, hands giving love back to the whole by our actions, thoughts and the daily intentions we hold. Planetary harmony is in our hands.

Two white-tailed deer stood alongside the trail as I neared the end of my ride. They peacefully watched me approach and moved off as I quietly pedaled past. Such beauty. Such harmony. Such gratitude.

 

Awakening

Awakening

MagnoliaSophiaElders, sages and mystics say that now is the time to awaken. The stars are in alignment, the planets are dancing in just the right rhythm and the window of opportunity is upon us.

SimoneLipscomb (14)What does it mean to awaken? Is it a one-time, light-filled moment of blissful awareness? Or is it small moments where instead of screaming at the droning leaf blower next door you turn on music to drown out the mind-numbing sound and smile? “Let’s just breathe….” sings Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. Or choosing to take a deep breath after beeping your horn when a driver swerves into your lanerather than yell obscenities.

SimoneLipscomb (12)Awakening…maybe it’s just awareness. Awareness of what’s going on in body-mind-spirit. Yes, even Eddie Vedder on repeat can create angst….did I put iTunes on repeat? 

Brazalian Bossanova…that’s better. Maybe awakening is as simple as knowing what we need to stay balanced. No leaf blowers today. No songs on repeat. Meditation please. Yoga please. Ten emails demanding action immediately…no, not now.

Me and the Sea...the Sea of Cortez

More time outdoors.

SimoneLipscomb (23)More time underwater with my camera gear.

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Perhaps awakening is learning to be in neutral rather than speeding or going in reverse. Maybe awakening is simply learning to be still and quiet…there seems to be a wealth of wisdom in that neutral place of stillness.

_TSL7226Could be that awakening is simply learning to dance with our own energies….active, receptive and neutral. Balance.

_TSL5004Maybe we leave clues for ourselves in our self-expression….

“These stones and dust fade into wrinkles and colors of earth, sacred earth whose face is marked with smile lines from laughing at wind and sea lions frolicking in tides that kissed Her beautiful Self. Lay bare these bones to bake in the sun and cleanse me in Her reflective glow. These white-chalk, pock-marked bones whiter still from nesting shore birds…red, pink, salmon, rust, orange roughened, weathered, ragged by forces beyond control…lay bare these bones. Layers and layers of color and texture open to elemental forces so powerful only mountains such as these could behold them and survive the beauty. Around me stretches the vast, ragged peaks of Guardian Angel Island. Its massive face affects me deeply. I am struck with awe to my core and I find myself unable to turn away from the massive rock that lies before me, unable to hide from Her gaze.”

_TSL3955Perhaps little-by-little light fills our minds and hearts and we simply become more awake, less unaware, of what’s happening in the microcosm that is the individual, human experience.

 

 

 

 

Divine Madness

Divine Madness

IMG_1702The sharp click of metal on metal as my cleats clipped into the pedal reverberated in the foggy air–silence broken for a moment as I pushed off, leaving the mundane, the grounded ones in whirling flight. Half bird, half coyote I spun into the pre-dawn light.

IMG_1729The drive down to the park was spent listening to one song played and repeated as I let the music and lyrics fill my mind. I rode with no soundtrack today except the lingering lyrics echoing within my mind and heart.

IMG_1743“Shining light of mercy…coming of the day. Shooting star of promise…the lantern on the way. Picture in the locket, love so near and far. Song your mother’s singing, firefly in a jar…..Coltrane in the 60’s, Blind Willie lost in time….Mahalia, like an angel, the hymns of human kind. Bouquet of forgiveness, the healing of the heart. Redemption of misfortune and the madness of the world. Madness of the world. Love of peace alighting. One moment making sense. Love crashing through the barricade, love reaching through the fence. The Christmas Eve ceasefire, wind beneath a bird. Inebriated choir and the madness of the world. Madness of the World. Madness of the World. Paint brush hittin’ canvas, the dancin’ in the rain. Flannery O’Conner, word on every page. Kindness of a stranger, Prodigal’s return. The absence of all anger and the Madness of the World….The Madness of the World. The letter from your father, the weight of every word. The love that keeps you singing; the sublime, the absurd. The ancients and the mystics, minstrel in the park. Soothers and the sayers, healing ancient scars. Those who came before us, those we’re never heard. Babies breath on my neck, madness of the world. Madness of the world….madness, oh madness, madness of the world.” Will Kimbrough from Mercyland Vol 2.

IMG_1716The first time I heard this song, tears came as my heart opened. Every time I listen the same thing happens…even listening to it on repeat. It mirrors my feelings and probably those of many of us struggling to make sense of this world.

IMG_1739Choosing to pay attention to behaviors human’s choose to practice toward each other, animals, plants, sacred places brings so much grief and sadness we can be overwhelmed. But then the fog is lit by colors of the rising sun….”Shining light of mercy…” or birds surround me as I pedal through their woods….”wind beneath a bird…..” Bursting out in laughter at the rays of light bursting through pine limbs in the fog…”coming of the day….” I realize beauty helps me rise above the sadness…”shooting star of promise…”

IMG_1705Without beauty of landscape and heart, the madness of the world would devour us. But somehow, amid the insanity of darkness we see inklings of light and they lift us above the quicksand of sadness to flight.

IMG_1743Will’s song brings tears because amid awareness of climate change and ocean acidification, social injustices and meanness, we can still find the sweetness of love and laughter. It’s a healing waltz as we dance in the schizophrenic reality of life. I think he reminds us that we can survive and even thrive in a world of madness by being mindful of beauty walking shoulder-to-shoulder with darkness.

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Check out Will Kimbrough‘s body of work. Find his song, Madness of the World, on Mercyland: Hymns for the Rest of Us, Volume 2