Tag: Pure Barre

Best Workout Buddy

Best Workout Buddy

SimoneLipscombStanley Kubrick is an awesome friend. His charm and devilish good looks would steal any woman’s heart. And to make him an even more wonderful friend is his commitment to working out with me.

SimoneLipscomb (4)One time in the middle of a three minute plank Mr. Stanley decided to jump on my back, lay down and start to clean his whiskers. That was ‘special.’ Just last week I was in the middle of doing a standing pretzel at the barre, which requires leaning over with forearm on said barre, and Stanley decided to jump on my back. I’m not quite sure what his goal was but it elicited a scream from this gal. It wasn’t malicious though. I found him after my workout upset with himself that he had caused me pain. He was only adding weight resistance.

SimoneLipscomb (1)This morning he was especially helpful through my at-home Pure Barre workout. He helped me stretch, he cleaned the sweat off of my hands and arms and participated in numerous trust exercises as he reclined under me as I lifted, toned and burned.

SimoneLipscomb (8)His level of dedication and commitment to my workouts earn him my deepest gratitude. It’s not often that such a good workout buddy comes along to lend his support.

SimoneLipscomb (9)

A Scuba Sort of Day

A Scuba Sort of Day

Former students....
Former students….

I’m not sure what the stars are doing or what planets are aligned where but today has been a day of scuba decisions. Seemingly from out of the blue I decided to take a side mount class for cave diving and go back to active status as an open water scuba instructor.

One of the beautiful underwater caves in Akumal, Mexico
One of the beautiful underwater caves in Akumal, Mexico

It’s not that I haven’t been thinking of switching to side mount configuration. Being in an underwater cave is amazing and probably the most spiritually uplifting thing I’ve ever done. All underwater caves are amazing but the caves of Akumal, Mexico are like nothing else. Period. I’ve written about my experiences in my first book, Sharks On My Fin Tips: A Wild Woman’s Adventures With Nature, so I won’t go into all the details. I’ll just say this…imagine the most beautiful cathedral formed from earth and then place it in crystal-clear water so you can explore it while floating weightless. I might describe the experience, these places, as heaven on earth.

So I’ve missed visiting these cathedrals. I’ve missed swimming in the lifeblood of the planet, into her womb. So why did I quit?

The gear necessary to cave dive using back mount tanks.
The gear necessary to cave dive using back mount tanks.

Over ten years ago I was riding on the back of a motorcycle…one of those fancy Ground Pounder’s–and the operator of the bike hit a pot hole going about 70 mph. A compression fracture resulted and left me with a couple of very small pieces of L-5 vertebra that float around and get irritated. Anything that compresses them causes intense pain. I’ve super-strengthened my core with Pure Barre and Stand Up Paddleboarding but even with those workouts I have to use care that I don’t compress those dastardly bits of bone. Considering that my double steel tanks and manifold weigh in at about 75 to 80 pounds I’m to the point where I either switch to side mount or forget visiting these beautiful caves.

Carrying all that weight from the parking lot at Little River Park to the cave entrance...NOT fun! Photo by Sharon Matteson.
Carrying all that weight from the parking lot at Little River Park to the cave entrance…NOT fun! Photo by Sharon Matteson.

Being an open water scuba instructor was very enjoyable (most of the time) but I was to a point where I wasn’t teaching enough to pay for my dues and liability insurance from teaching so it was just a drain of money to hold an instructor card. But I missed working with wounded soldiers and helping them learn to dive. And even though it is volunteering with a lot more expenses going out than will come in, I decided to go back into active teaching status so I can continue my volunteer work.

Stellar students!
Stellar students!

I’m in contact with my certification agency and have already done the updates necessary to become active again and I’m in contact with a new cave instructor in Florida. What was going on today? Why was this the day to get moving on these underwater ventures? I have a very strong suspicion that the two are related. Perhaps side mount will help disabled divers and give them easier ways to dive. Perhaps I’ll be able to utilize my skills to help others. My goal in life is to make a positive difference.

Some of the soldiers I've had the honor to work with.
Some of the soldiers I’ve had the honor to work with.

But one thing is for sure…when something I’ve been thinking about for a while finally comes up and forces my hand, so to speak, it’s my soul calling me to move forward. Oddly enough, that’s how I took my first scuba class. And that led to all sorts of wonderful experiences and friends. This is soul stuff..this is good stuff. And I am ready!

My cave diving instructor...Van Fleming.
My first cave diving instructor…Van Fleming.
Blessings, Forgiveness and Endorphins

Blessings, Forgiveness and Endorphins

The workout pushed me to my limit and somehow I pushed through. As we began our final stretches the instructor reminded us to be mindful of our blessings. With my physical body exhausted and open, her words touched a deep place within and as I settled into this expanded physical experience my heart and mind followed. I felt a rush of gratitude that brought tears of relief, of joy. It wasn’t just the endorphins.

simonelipscombOver the past two nights I have awakened with a similar dream. Both involved a significant person in my life, a person that was a light in my life when I needed it most. And sadly, a person no longer in my life. The dreams showed me that he and I are much alike and without going into details, I found myself lighting a candle this morning with forgiveness for us both.

In this morning’s dream we sat together and I shared my sadness over leaving the beautiful wooded acres at our home in central North Carolina and our home in the mountains. I didn’t realize how much grief I carried over leaving the land there. We sat as friends, in my dream, and shared with each other. Such openness. Such beauty. Such calm acceptance.

simonelipscomb (2)Last night, prior to sleeping, I sat on my back porch in the hammock chair for hours just listening to the night sounds. Watching stars twinkle through oak leaves, allowing the drone of insects to put me in a sort of trance, listening to scurrying creatures in the courtyard…opening myself to the Earth and the Sky….feeling myself as part of this amazing Universe.  Breathing in the energies shared by the grandmother oak tree that spreads her massive arms protectively over my home, acknowledging with gratitude the gift of life…I rested and floated in my swing.

simonelipscomb (5)It’s been over a year and a half since I moved back to the Gulf Coast and I love it. But I hadn’t allowed myself to touch the grief of leaving the mountains, a place I had dreamed of living my entire life. In a sorting, clearing and organizing push during the past week, I pulled out a painting I created that depicts the view from my loft office in my mountain home. I had it stored until yesterday when I hung it in my office here. I am strong enough now to feel the grief of leaving the mountain and Etta’s beautiful acreage in central North Carolina and accept the nurturance freely given by the land in both of those places and here, under massive live oaks, near a slow-moving river.

800_1468The Earth Mother nurtures us at every stop we make in our lives. It is my hope that I can remain open to receive and with a joyful heart give back to that which sustains me. Grounded in forgiveness for all my mistakes and the mistakes of others I can state truthfully and freely, I feel blessed. And that’s not the endorphins talking.

A shout-out to Pure Barre Eastern Shore instructors. THANK YOU for everything you do for us! I am so grateful for you all!

Focusing with Intention

Focusing with Intention


Pure Barre image

I was standing at the barre on tip toe on one foot with the other leg and foot straight out behind me pulsing little pulses down and back up. My legs were screaming and shaking and I wasn’t confident I could complete the set. I refocused and went deeper into my muscles and pushed even higher on my toes.

Sweat was more than glistening as I completed that part of workout and felt strength surge through me. “YES! I made it!”

Driving home I contemplated my Pure Barre workout. Why is it I feel so good afterwards? My mind is clear, my body feels open and pleasantly fatigued, and I find a new sense of balance each day. My daughter insists that the 55 minutes a day helps her maintain focus and think of nothing else for that precious hour. I agree.

simonelipscomb (1)With busy lives we tend to focus on everything outside ourselves….jobs, school, kids, relationships, environmental issues, social issues….an endless list of potential distractions. All are important but sometimes hard to ‘turn-off’ in our minds. What Pure Barre is teaching me is to connect deeply with my core, to be physically and mentally in sync.

And as is so often the case, my current spiritual study theme is being mirrored in the physical, day-to-day life. This week the task is to do everything with intention–to focus full attention on everything I do. An intense task. I realized in class today the intensity of my focus and ability to communicate with one muscle or a small area of muscle boosts my spiritual practice. When I am able to surrender my mind completely to the task at hand, I can make it through those challenging workouts.

By putting everything I have into the task in front of me, I can see amazing results. Whether in my body, my mind (thoughts, focus) or spirit.

The other major teaching Pure Barre is helping me learn is that the most important relationship I can have in this world is the one with myself. Not from a selfish point of view but from a point of balance. If I am balanced and aware of what’s happening within me, I can be clearer in my relationships with everyone else. And so I finally understand this truth:  This time of my life is to develop a very deep and healthy relationship with myself…body, mind, spirit. End of story.

simonelipscombWhatever clicks for each of us is where we can focus our attention…our intention….and become healthier, happier individuals. As for me, you’ll find me focusing with intention and gratitude at my local Pure Barre studio. (Disclaimer…nobody is soliciting my writing or paying me to share my process….this is my wild heart fired-up with something that is working for me).


Obsession…Dedication to Tuck

Obsession…Dedication to Tuck

imagesI spent over a decade working as a massage therapist, energy work practitioner and instructor. The great value of massage therapy and bodywork (such as Reiki, Polarity Therapy and process-oriented bodywork) is that it provided  a very good way for me to release old, stuck patterns in the body. And to support that process in others.



images-2Trauma of many kinds can cause us to develop patterns of movement and holding in the body that can eventually cause joint and muscle pain and injury. This works on an emotional level (example-you protect your heart by rounding your shoulders inward) and from a physical level (example– an accident produced an injury and you hold a muscular pattern around the area to protect it). With both emotional and physical injury, the result is the same–a holding pattern. Stuck-ness.

Movement is a valuable way to release these old patterns. Massage therapy, energy work, yoga and other forms of stretching are great ways to clear muscular/energy blocks. SUP boarding is, too, as well as other forms of core exercises. While these have served me well through the years, I’ve recently discovered another way to get healthier and it feeds my body and mind deliciously.

Pure Barre photograph
Pure Barre photograph

While visiting my daughter for her wedding she introduced me to Pure Barre through the Midland, Michigan studio. After the first class I was hooked. Vibrant and high-energy music, small movements designed to strengthen the core, along with motivating, supportive instructors create the perfect opportunity for positive change in the body and mind.

During the first class, as my legs were shaking and I was pushing through to work my legs and core, I felt emotions bubble up that completely surprised me. I didn’t have to understand or process them…I just allowed them to move up and out. Afterwards I felt clearer and more focused. And yes, I was tired as the workout was intense. I couldn’t wait for more so we did another class the day before the wedding.

After I got home I looked up Pure Barre studios in my area and discovered the Eastern Shore studio in Daphne. Not especially close, at 20 miles from home, but the drive has been totally worth it. During the past five days and five classes I have felt my body changing through shaking and stretching and tucking. It’s one of the most intense workouts I’ve ever done but it’s very low impact on the joints.

Pure Barre photo
Pure Barre photo

The instructors are trained to keep the class moving toward our personal goals. They provide a space for women (and men) to come together for 55 minutes of dedication to change. We all may have different specific goals but those attending do so to change. Coming together with others with the same intention and working…sweating…shaking…is powerful.

As I check in with my body, sitting here at my desk, I feel a strength within that is vital, alive and open…more open than I’ve been in a long while. Stronger than I’ve felt since…I can’t remember when. So yes, I’m into it and am happy to do whatever it takes to help my body and mind feel this great.

I am still doing my cardio through my elliptical trainer, walking and SUP boarding (if it ever stops storming) but there’s just something special about Pure Barre.

They say it’s addictive…that women become obsessed with Pure Barre. I get that. But I think of it as dedication to positive change. And why not? Changing, growing…feeling stronger…what could be better than that?





I'm going for the challenge...20 classes in 30 days!
I’m going for the challenge…20 classes in 30 days!