Tag: Nature’s Teachings

Mystical Predictions

Mystical Predictions

_TSL4466An email came from our team leaders this week about our schedule. I replied to everyone that we were going to have two sea turtle nests to process on Sunday. “Be ready,” I wrote.

_TSL4475Meanwhile it has been a very trying week topped off by one of my darling cat kids waking me at 2:30am this morning. Sleep never returned so I left the house at 4.30am and took my tripod and camera for some long exposure photography at the beach. Why not, I reasoned.

_TSL4503Conditions were near perfect. There was enough surf to give a very silky effect to the 30 second exposures. For half an hour, waiting for light, I stood on the beach and communed with the Ocean Mother while my camera perched on it’s carbon fiber legs soaking up the light and magic that was very present on the Gulf of Mexico this morning.

_TSL4493When it was light enough to see the beach clearly, I ran my tripod back to the car and began the mile and a half walk along the white sand. At 6.15am, 35 minutes after I began my walk, the most wondrous sight appeared.

_TSL4577A most-perfect V crawl and nest pit awaited discovery. I screamed in excitement, “YES!”I turned to the water and said with laughter, “THANK YOU!”Then I quickly fumbled with my phone to call our team leaders. As I was leaving them a message, a message from our All-Call system came in…we had another nest in the upper part of our section of beach. Immediately I remembered my prediction….be ready.

IMG_4518I hurriedly finished the rest of my walk and met up with gathering team members at the first nest. It was called in last night around 9.30pm and was already marked. This was incredibly good because human footprints completely covered the tracks. We would never have discovered it had the tourists not called it in.

We processed the nest, which had to be moved due to close proximity to the water. (Our federal permit gives us permission if the nest is too close to the tide line). But we couldn’t linger as we had nest number two of the day to process.

_TSL4642‘My’ nest had to be moved as well as it was too close to the water’s edge and high tide mark. Several of us dug (scraped carefully) to find the eggs. I found them!! Magic! Pure magic!

It had been a very rough week emotionally and as I stood at the water’s edge photographing at 5am I spoke with the Ocean Mother and shared my heart.  I felt a reply…We all make mistakes. Look…I had something to do with the birthing of __________ (politician). I laughed out loud at the thought. “Yes, I guess none of us are perfect,” I said out loud.

_TSL4578The Ocean Mother gifted me with the delight of her daughter turtle’s nest. At least that’s how I experienced it. When I arrived at the crawl it looked as if the sand had just been turned by her beautiful flippers. The eggs still had the beautiful mother turtle’s fluids fresh and stringy on them as we gently transferred them to their new incubation location, just above the high tide line.

The lesson for me this week has been to face all of who I am…the good, the bad and the ugly. There is a surrender that comes with that choice and in it are little gifts and treasures. Super-grateful for the photographs of the silky sea….which is how I see the energy of the sea…and for the mother loggerhead who gifted me with a perfect crawl and nest…and for the other turtle mother who made my mystical prediction a reality.

Psychic Simone predicts a nap in her very near future.
Psychic Simone predicts a nap in her very near future.

Here’s another prediction….I see myself taking a nap very soon. And I’m contemplating opening a psychic hotline very soon. Details to follow.

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.

 

Everyday Kindness

Everyday Kindness

FullSizeRender 6A friend shared about his efforts to start a spay/neuter and rabies program for stray cats in a remote place he’s been working. It’s such an isolated sort of place with other agendas so his efforts touched my heart deeply. Where politics and violence are the focus, he quietly and gently planted ideas for change. Compassion, kindness towards innocent creatures.

IMG_1844His story really struck a chord within that amplified ideas of late that have been rattling around in my heart and head: It’s the daily acts of compassion that create lasting change in the world. Acts done quietly, perhaps unnoticed by others.

FullSizeRender 5Big events, big gestures are catalysts for sure but it’s the daily practice that creates positive shifts in consciousness that continue and build and spread. As each of us practice these small efforts, they become the normal way of being instead of something we have to think about or remember to do.

Art on the wall in the Miami Airport!!!
Art on the wall in the Miami Airport

I used to believe that there was some big purpose for which I came into this life. Now I understand that it’s simply to be kind and compassionate to all beings and learn to love deeply, unconditionally, without judgment. This realization lifts a great burden of striving and pushing against all the uncool things happening. It seemed far too overwhelming to ever make a difference.

IMG_1969We don’t give up our efforts to bring light into the world. We just grow to understand it’s simply a way of being that brings transformation….to ourselves, to the world.

_TSL4354May we be a ray of light every day by practicing simple, everyday kindness.

kindness

 

Around the Bend….

Around the Bend….

“What I love most about rivers is:
You can’t step in the same river twice
The water’s always changing, always flowing
But people, I guess, can’t live like that
We all must pay a price
To be safe, we lose our chance of ever knowing
What’s around the riverbend
Waiting just around the riverbend”

–Disney’s Pocahontas

IMG_4340The year was 2002. Lots of stressful craziness was happening in my life and without warning I met a man who changed my life for the better. I remember thinking of the song from Pocahontas often. You never know what’s around the river bend. Something wonderful can happen in one moment and life changes forever. 

In April I visited a dear mentor and friend in Atlanta from the UK. She shared how she loves life, even with the aches and pains of an 87 year old, she loves the adventure of life because you never know what’s going to happen that will suddenly change everything for the better. I thought of the Pocahontas song as we chatted.

IMG_4343Today I was on the backcountry trail by 6am. At 6.33am I received a telephone call from our sea turtle team leaders. We have a nest! Of course, I was at the furtherest point from my car on the trail unless I wanted to exit onto the beach road and cycle to the nest location. Since I refuse to ride in traffic, I opted to be safe and head back to my car.

I shaved 10 minutes off the return trip and got an excellent cardio workout. Thankfully it was sprinkling rain which made for a cool ride.

IMG_4353Just barely over 30 minutes from the alert message, I was pulling up at the nest site on west beach. I took a few photographs of the crawl and teammates finishing up processing the nest and then went down to another section of our beach and took a few photographs of a false crawl.

IMG_4356What an amazing surprise to have not only a nest but a false crawl in the same day! And an added bonus was breakfast with a few team members to celebrate our first nest of the year. I expected to simply cycle and return home to paint another Buddy portrait.

FullSizeRenderOn the way home I called my mother to say good morning and found out one of her squirrel friends had crawled inside a feeder yesterday and was still stuck this morning. I made a detour to free the little goober and said a quick hello to mom and Salty dog before getting back to Buddy and the cats.

IMG_4384WOW! A simple dawn cycling trip had turned into a series of surprising events. Isn’t it amazing! It’s true…we never know what’s just around the bend.

“I look once more
Just around the riverbend
Beyond the shore
Somewhere past the sea
Don’t know what for …
Why do all my dreams extend
Just around the riverbend?
Just around the riverbend …”

IMG_4373

The Bottom Line is Love

The Bottom Line is Love

 

_TSL1872

Eva Saulitis
Eva Saulitis

Into Great Silence: A Memoir of Discovery and Loss Among Vanishing Orcas, was written by Eva Saulitis. It’s a very personal story of over twenty-five years of connection with transient orcas in Alaska. In this touching account Eva shares the life and death of a pod of orcas that lived near the Exxon Valdez spill area. While it is beautifully written, it’s also incredibly sad for not only does she tell the story of their death, she tells the story of her untimely death due to cancer.

And it makes me wonder…..what about the Gulf Coast? What will happen to those of us who worked to clean up the spill or document its affects? 

The BP Deepwater Horizon spill was far worse in volume that Valdez. The coverage area, humans exposed, wildlife exposed….what will be the long-term story that unfolds along the Gulf Coast?

 

Internet image of orcas
Internet image of orcas

While reading Into Great Silence, there were many times I paused to contemplate the profound love Eva had for the whales and their waters…the forests surrounding them…the bears….salmon….seals….dolphins. Here’s a excerpt from page 92:

9 July 1989–Yesterday, Mary and I hiked on Crafton Island, not realizing it had been heavily oiled. We found an oil-coated river otter skull. Even the grass above tide line was black. I told Mary about the first time I’d come there. One spring day in 1987, a fisherman friend had invited me for a skiff ride. It was an old, wooden skiff, and he’d perched atop the outboard’s cowling so the engine wouldn’t fall off. Here, I told Mary, was where we’d searched for glass balls among bleached driftwood. Here’s where we’d found wild irises. here’s where we’d sat on the wreck of an old boat and talked all afternoon. I’d never met anyone so earthy, so entirely of a place, embodying an all-out, organic love for the Sound. I’d only begun to recognize that in myself. “Why aren’t you married to him?” Mary asked. I told her I was married to the place.

SimoneLipscomb (4)I remember walking on a beach at the Alabama coast that was heavily oiled– my eyes and throat burning from the smell of crude oil and dispersant– asking myself why I was there. For a week of each month for a year I left my home in Asheville and my husband to travel to my place of birth to document through photography and writing the effects of the disaster. Why am I doing this? I asked.

SimoneLipscomb (3)It was grueling, depressing, hot, horrible work. I had the freedom to leave whenever I wanted to escape the black death that coated the beaches and the stench of hot fumes filling the air. Every time I began to drive into the mountains of North Georgia, on my way back to North Carolina, I remember feeling relief, feeling I could breathe again. It felt as if a weight lifted off of my chest as I made my way home. To safety. To clean air.

Adjusting to being away from the disaster was difficult though. I was so depressed it was almost impossible for me to invite laughter or pleasure into my life. I felt guilty for enjoying myself given the dire circumstances at the coast. It felt as if the world was ending and life as I had known it was gone due to a needless, careless catastrophe.

SimoneLipscomb (6)So back to the question: Why am I doing this? 

The only answer that ever came was….someone needed to witness the disaster with an open heart and mind. Not as scientist or politician or oil company representative….just a witness that loved the place.

So I visited seven beaches for a year and walked them, photographed, took video footage of them and wrote about them. My tears mixed with the oily waters of the Gulf of Mexico and I stood as witness to the pain and suffering of life there.

SimoneLipscomb (23)This kind of experience changes a person. Something happens within the mind and heart that shifts the perspective so completely that life can never return to how it was before. A person cannot return to ‘not knowing’ what they know. They can’t un-see or un-feel the multitude of visual images and emotions that were experienced on those wounded shores.

My heart broke for the ghost crabs and blue crabs, the flounders, shrimp, fish, dolphins, string rays, sea gulls, terns, osprey, pelicans….for the humans that would eventually become sick from exposure to such high-levels of toxicity. Nothing is the same after witnessing this.

_TSL1859 1.08.19 PM-2I was certain that humans would awaken and create immediate and lasting change after the spill, but it didn’t happen. This was incredibly disappointing to me.

After documenting the spill and its aftereffects I noticed people responded strongly to images of beauty and stories of nature depicting the profound relationship experienced with wild places and wild life. It felt like a natural evolution of my work and efforts to shift from death and destruction to beauty, specifically the beauty of the Ocean.

I haven’t forgotten what awakened my own sense of urgency to protect our planet, our Ocean. And the deep sense of place it instilled.

Eva reminded me of the love we develop for places that touch our lives. We become a part of these places and the more we invest our time, energy and work into them, the deeper the connection we have with them. Their wounding becomes our wounding. Their health, our health. Their death, our death…metaphorically and literally.

Why do we risk our own safety to help? The bottom line is love.

SimoneLipscomb (4) copy
Photograph by Brent Durand of me diving in the Sea of Cortez.