Tag: Simone Lipscomb

Are You the Hundredth Monkey?

Are You the Hundredth Monkey?

I was staying in a cottage in northern England when the news came in. He won the election. I collapsed into a heap on the kitchen floor and wept as wildlife and wild places entered my vision and flooded my heart with grief. I knew what he would do, what he’s always done in business. Ruthless, reckless development and profit at any cost. NO! I cried.

As I wept I felt a Presence touch my shoulder and say, Go to the Stone Circle. My friend and I were only a mile or so away from Castlerigg Standing Stone Circle. She was in her room asleep after staying up late to check on the election results. I quickly ran up to my bedroom and got dressed in layers…it was November and snowy. Within a few minutes I was out the door and defrosting the windshield.

I arrived at the Circle before anyone else. I entered and walked clockwise around the huge circle and came to what I came to call the Priest Stone. I knelt there and placed my hands on it and wept and cried out…WHY!?!?! Then I listened.

What I heard as clearly as if someone was standing there talking was this: This will speed up the awakening process. Do not despair. He will be used to awaken the masses to action. As I knelt I began praying and then singing….help us, help wildlife, help wild places.

Those paying attention knew this would be bad. And actually it’s worse than I ever imagined. And yet, in the end I suspect the guidance was correct. He will unite us, even though it appears quite the opposite.

There’s a theory called the Hundredth Monkey Effect. Basically there was a group of monkeys on an island and they learned to wash sweet potatoes. Once a critical mass of monkeys learned to wash sweet potatoes on the island, the behavior instantly spread across the water to monkeys on a nearby island. This was a study that has been popularized with the idea that once enough people awaken, there will be a massive awakening that happens spontaneously.

This idea answers those that say their efforts cannot make a difference, that we are too far gone, that humans can’t change. For many years I have suspected that the only way this great awakening will happen is for individuals to take responsibility for their own healing, to clean up their inner worlds. This light will be reflected to the outer world and when enough people do this…BAM!

I’m not saying it’s going to be a magical cure if there is a massive awakening of consciousness. But the cure can be found within that awakening….by all of us working together to heal our lives, support others who wish to heal and then collectively we can hold a space for planetary healing.

I know…I know. It sounds a little fluffy but know this, the work of self-change changes the world around us. Not from outside us, but from within us. Each of us is an important part of the whole and when we begin to see ourselves connected to all life, then real change can begin to take root and grow.

After documenting the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill for a year, I was completely burned out. After spending a week with Joanna Macy in workshop and healing space, I had a vision. I imagined myself standing in the board room of BP. I looked around the room at all the people in suits and made eye contact with them and said,  You are my brother, you are my sister. I consume fuel, use plastic, enjoy air conditioning and heat…as a consumer I am part of the problem…but I can also be part of the solution.

If you embark on the journey of self-change it is guaranteed to be the most challenging journey you ever undertake but it is also the most rewarding, the most freeing. Don’t give up on yourself because you, my friend, just might be the hundredth monkey.

What Do You See?

What Do You See?

When we see something at first glance, our brain receives the information or input. From that we form ideas or opinions.

When you look at this photograph, what does it look like? A pink flower? What about the background? What is the story you tell yourself about this image?

What about this image? What is the conclusion you draw from what your brain sees?

What if I told you there was only one stem of flowers. Would you believe it? Would you argue that there really are two? Now….what if I told you there was a mirror behind the one stem and I was using a flash to darken the background to get that perfect reflection.

This stem of flowers bent over from the heavy blossoms so I brought it inside and placed it in my bathroom where it has brightened that room with its pink loveliness. I watched the reflection grow as more buds have opened. Today it seemed to ask me to get my macro lens and camera and take a few moments to play with light and color and form.

Because the f stop was 45 the depth of field is very deep and clear so it really does appear to be two stems…but I know better. I created the illusion with a flash and mirror. Or is it an illusion? Are there really two flower stems? One in this world….one in that other world of magic and possibility. It might seem silly to ponder these questions but how many times do we accept what we see as fact without looking deeper? How often does what we see keep us from believing in something more?

A simple, exquisite stem of flowers has given me much to consider. What do I see when I look at life? Is it possibilities or is it something else?

Letting Go of Hope

Letting Go of Hope

It’s a relief to give up hope. Then I can focus on the here and now. I think Catherine Ingram wrote this in her article, Facing Extinction. Or maybe that’s what I thought while reading it. Or perhaps it was Dahr Jamail in his book, The End of Ice. It felt as if I was finally letting go of something very heavy and when I gave myself permission, it was freeing.

Nearly ten years ago, after documenting the BP Deepwater Horizon for a year, I was emotionally spent, exhausted and had no ability to allow joy or pleasure into my life…how could I while Nature was suffering so? I spent a week with Joanna Macy which helped me heal the deep wounds generated by what I witnessed.

While my eyes and throat burned with the smell of hot diesel fumes erupting from the Gulf of Mexico, people living only a few blocks off the beaches refused to believe the beaches were heavily oiled. That taught me how denial works in the human psyche. Something so unimaginable and painful is perhaps simply unacceptable in the human mind. As soon as the well was sealed, the attention of the masses was off to the next media circus leaving me angry and in disbelief. How did this not wake up the entire world, I fretted.

Since that time of photographing, writing and videoing seven areas along the Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast for a year, I have struggled with trying to maintain hope…that people will wake up and care and do something!

One of my mentors told me during the year I worked at the Gulf that there was a reason I was being asked to witness such devastation. I knew then I had never witnessed anything so traumatic. Watching sea creatures die on a daily basis, birds suffering, beaches heavily oiled while humans walked in bathing suits or frolicked in oiled waters was a living nightmare where reality was warped. Two worlds collided every day as cleanup workers dodged beach-goers and families let their children run and play in the toxic water.

So yes, I know crazy. I know denial. I know grief.

After working on the oil spill I decided to start documenting beauty and began writing about encounters with humpback whales, dolphins, manatees, sea lions…the Ocean itself and other sacred places. Surely, I reasoned, this will help people see the preciousness of our planet and maybe it will encourage them to action as protectors and champions. “This is what we risk losing!!!” I seemed to shout through my prose about my whale friends or the dolphin who seemed to adopt me into her pod or the adorable sea lion pup who played hide and seek with me.

I was still in a place of hope.

In the last decade, the reality of just how bad the climate crisis is has escalated. I thought the grief I felt over the oil spill was intense. Now, every day the grief deepens and yet, thanks to Joanna, I refuse to turn away from that which saddens me. As Dahr Jamail wrote in his new book, “I am committed in my bones to being with the Earth, no matter what, to the end.”

And the grief many of us are experiencing is anticipatory grief. We know what we are losing every day and we know the outlook is very grim. Catherine Ingram wrote, “For those of us who cannot look away, we carry the anticipatory grief for those who cannot bear to look.”

Why am I here? Why did I come to the planet at this time? I suspect, if we have a choice, it was intentional. The deep love I feel for this water planet and all life here is worth being here as a witness to the beauty and kindness and compassion….the capacity of humans for greatness. And yet with that capacity comes the other side of human behaviors that are selfish and plow through life with the profit-at-any-cost mindset.

I suspect that many of us who came here at this time did so to offer our love and compassion in a time where that is greatly needed. As empaths it’s not easy to do because we feel it all….not only human grief but that of all life. I don’t think we would have come if we didn’t have something to offer.

Over the past couple of years a major shift in my work has been taking place. I have had clear guidance that one phase is ending and another is beginning. It feels like a bell is ringing in my soul, calling me to step forward and begin. It’s like the first 59 years of my life was about laying the foundation and now, the deeper work begins.

I know that I can’t be in a passive role any longer. I cannot ignore the sound of the bell calling me to work and gradually the vision is getting clearer.

My own inner work has taken me into deeper relationship with Nature. Without a doubt, the healthy way forward is to expand our individual and collective connection with Nature. As part of my work I will be offering opportunities for individuals and groups. There will be multiple opportunities for Deepening with Nature…a regular, outdoor circle to build community; day retreats; weekend retreats; sacred travels and individual consultations. This will be enhanced by my move back to the mountains of North Carolina.

We must re-learn how to listen to Nature and slow down to fine-tune our ability to hear our own heart’s voice. Dahr Jamail wrote it perfectly, “Grief is something I move through, to territory on the other side. This means falling in love with the Earth in a way I never thought possible. it also means opening to the innate intelligence of the heart. I am grieving and yet I have never felt more alive.”

I am releasing the dark visions of the future so I can remain present and be of service to this planet and those wishing to deepen their relationship to Her. I will use every talent I have to be present with all life here, whether it is connecting with a whale in the ocean or holding space for someone to feel their grief.

Dahr poses this question that I pass along: “How shall I use this precious time?”

 

 

 

Stepping Through the Threshold

Stepping Through the Threshold

If you follow my writing you’ve been reading about this Threshold I’ve been at for way over a year. I could feel a part of my work and life here on the Gulf Coast winding down but the next step wasn’t getting clear. It has been an intense time of waiting, listening and waiting.

Recently clarity about my life’s work has come and it came very powerfully in a sudden ‘whoosh‘ of awareness. It felt like the puzzle pieces just clicked together perfectly and it felt absolutely right.

About that same time the women’s circle I facilitate met and one of the members said the most beautiful invocation for selling my home and moving forward with my life’s work. Three days later, before yoga practice on the front porch, I said, “Hey there Great Spirit. Please give me a clear sign that my home will sell soon.” A few hours later I met the people that want to live here, in this amazing live oak forest and in this beautiful home.

Everything is coming together in perfect, Divine order. And not just for me. A friend of mine in New Mexico has been going through a similar struggle to find her place and life’s work and just today everything finished coming together for her move back to Alabama. We were sending smiley face and heart texts this afternoon….lots of them with gratitude to the Universe for the support and love we’re being shown.

So, what will I be doing after I move back to the NC mountains? I want to help people find ways to cope with our increasing grief, fear and frustration over climate change and social changes. I will be offering retreats and one-on-one consultations for those wishing to find healthy coping methods and who wish to deepen their connection to Nature. We need support during this intense time of change with so many unknowns and I suspect the most important action we can take is to listen to the Earth, to go deeper in our connection with Her.

I’ll be updating my website soon and details will be forthcoming. Tonight I am simply grateful to finally…..finally be stepping through that Threshold time of waiting and listening. I can feel the movement after a very long time of stillness. Thankfully, my dear friend and wholeness coach Rose was an amazing witness and guide through this process of waiting. I am truly grateful to her…and to all those who have encouraged me, supported me and sent up prayers for me.

I am ready to step through.

Vibrations of Nature

Vibrations of Nature

Every night I go outside on the screened porch with my dog and two cats and we sit and listen. The frogs in the pond in the field sing their froggy songs. Insects drone and click and make the branches of the ancient live oak trees come alive. Barred owls call in the branches overhead. The more I let go and just listen, the more relaxed and at peace I feel.

In the mediations on the front porch, with nature’s music in surround sound, I have come to understand that the vibrations of nature are not just beneficial to humans, they are vital to our health and wellbeing.

The frequency of natural sounds helps us drop deeper into connection and oneness with nature…with ourselves. We have forgotten that we are simply another part of nature. And in so doing are literally destroying the planet…and ourselves.

A recent report says up to 1 million species are expected to go extinct soon….out of 8 million species. More than 10% of the species on this planet are expected to soon be extinct. I have tried to avoid this report and yet it keeps coming up on NPR, in articles on social media. I know it’s bad news and could I possibly just pretend one more day that it’s not so bad?

So I go outside at night and listen. With my dog. And the cats. The frogs take me deeper into right relationship with their watery world. The insects bring me into their realm of clicks and drones, almost like dolphins or whales of the sea. The owls call to the primal strength in me. I feel my bones and go deeper…deeper…deeper into nature, into this body which is part of nature.

Tonight I had a vision of my passion and love for the planet growing and spilling out of the pitcher of my heart into a clear stream as it flows and joins with others whose love and passion for the planet is also flowing from their hearts. I saw a clear river that is growing with love for all life and is filled with pure intention. I saw Oneness growing into a wave of love.

We as a species have exhausted the old ideas…war, power, money…none of that works nor will it ever work or be a solution. If we repeat the same behaviors we get the same results. So it’s time my sisters and brothers to start trying something different…I believe an answer is to recognize our connection to everything and everyone else…Oneness. Once we recognize ourself in everything else, we come to value everything….every thing….else.

Go outside and listen to the vibrations of nature….feel them and allow them to take you into the flow. I’ll meet you there.