Tag: Simone Lipscomb

What Have We Learned?

What Have We Learned?

It’s been ten years today.

I was leading a night dive in Curacao and surfaced, tasting oil in my air tank. None of the others on the dive had that issue. And my air proved to be fine…but I tasted oil.

I hadn’t been watching the news, was unplugged from social media. Didn’t know until two days later, when I was in the Atlanta airport, that the BP Deepwater Horizon had exploded on April 20, 2010. Eleven men were killed and on the 22nd the rig sank.

After documenting the oil spill for a year on the Alabama Gulf Coast, I thought it would be the wake-up event that would shake the world. I was wrong. Completely wrong. As soon as the well was capped…which wasn’t soon–85 days, 16 hours and 25 minutes–that mile-deep gusher polluted the Gulf of Mexico.

Chemical dispersants were used that made the spill MUCH worse than letting the oil float to the surface for removal. I watched tide pools of fizzing oily water along the beach and witnessed the destruction first-hand.

My heart broke open. I felt grief beyond anything I had known. I felt anger. I felt shame at being human and part of the problem. And now, ten years later, I feel rather hopeless because there wasn’t an awakening…for some of us, sure. But overall…now regulations are fewer and more lax thanks to the current USA administration…worse than before the spill.

We have an even greater opportunity to awaken on a worldwide level with a tiny virus making a huge impact. My greatest fear is we will not take advantage of this opportunity to make major changes that will improve the health of all life on planet Earth…and that would be the saddest of all outcomes. With such a high death toll my prayer is that it will fuel a world-wide awakening to positive change so these deaths will not have been in vain.

I wasn’t going to write about the oil spill disaster today but how could I not? It was an awakening for me and I will never be the same. Which is a good thing because I won’t go back to sleep…ever.

How did that disaster affect you? Change you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

P.S. I don’t know why I tasted oil in the air that night in Curacao but I suspect on some level I sensed what happened. We are One, connected to all life. Perhaps my cetacean self got the message loud and clear.

What Kind of World Do You Want

What Kind of World Do You Want


If our phone is damaged we might have it repaired. After the repair there is a reboot that happens. Information might have been lost so we have the opportunity to decide if we want to reinstall all the old information or choose start over with new information. Most of the time we will just reinstall all the old data because it’s easier than inputting choices of contacts we want to keep, photos, apps. It’s tedious to review every bit of the old. It’s time-consuming. And a real pain.

We’re in a time now where the system is damaged. We’ve known it hasn’t been working for quite a while. So during this time of pause we have the opportunity to choose what we will input once things are up and running again. And so the question comes, What kind of world do we want?

Do we want more time at home with family? Do we want to do more things that enrich our life? Do we want to feel more compassion, more connection, more Oneness? Everything is up for renewal, rebooting.

So in this time of pause, the gift we are given is the choice to make changes that will steer us into a new direction. It’s easier to go back to what we’ve known but will we have the courage to make life-enhancing choices? Every one of us is being given the opportunity to choose…What kind of world do you want?

World

by Five for Fighting

Got a package full of wishes

A time machine, a magic wand

A globe made out of gold

No instructions or commandments

Laws of gravity or

Indecision’s to uphold

Printed on the box I see

Acme’s build a world to be

Take a chance, grab a piece

Help me to believe it

What kind of world do you want?

Think anything

Let’s start at the start

Build a masterpiece

Be careful what you wish for

History starts now

Sunlight’s on the bridge

Sunlight’s on the way

Tomorrow’s calling

There’s more to this than love

What kind of world do you want

The Way Home

The Way Home

The other day I reflected on survival resources. Not outer ones that address our physical needs but inner ‘resources’ that help us find our way back…home, to balance, to sanity.

We live in a time of global Unknown where our health, careers, food, money, and even toilet paper can be sources of stress and anxiety. Things we took for granted are quite suddenly not as dependable.

For the most part I’m handling this time with calm, groundedness. There are moments where tears come for the suffering of the world, where I take a journey down the bumpy ‘what-if’ road but I find my way back. So I questioned myself…how do I find my way back to that place of calm, grounded, peace?

 As I asked the question I started seeing scenes from underwater caves…of my first dive into a high-flow cave system, of a dive in Mexico when one of our team members had light failure in all three lights, when a guy leading our group out of a cave took a wrong turn (but we quickly steered him back to the correct line)…of one of my first open water dives as a newly certified diver diving with two guys I didn’t know and coming up in a maelstrom and them leaving me to my own devices underwater to find my way back to the boat or the shark dive that had the entire hungry shark cast coming to me as I struggled against the current (also a newish diver and left by my dive buddy).

Those scary times and more all gave me experiences in problem-solving, working together, learning to remain calm when things around me were stressful. Those times prepared me for this time we are all experiencing now. I have successfully navigated situations that required me to momentarily suspend the fear and make a plan to make it through to completion of the experience.

These steps can be applied to any situation in life. And I credit PADI, the dive training agency for my open water diver and eventually my instructor training, with the simple solution: STOP, BREATHE, THINK, ACT.

As that newly certified diver surfacing in six foot seas and lightning popping all around, the first thing I thought was, OH SHIT! The next thing I thought was…Stop, breathe, think, act.I stopped, looked around. A boat was close enough to swim to even though it wasn’t the boat I was a guest on. I took some deep breaths and then decided to swim to that boat to rest. Even though they didn’t want me to board their boat because I wasn’t a paying guest, I not-so-politely told them to get out of my way and let me board to rest. I rested, calmed myself even more and then made a plan with their dive master and the boat crew which I had to swim back to. I got my compass out, took a heading, dropped back down underneath the six foot seas and made that lonely, hard, against-the-current swim back to the boat.

That dive stands out because things happened that were unexpected…the current changed from a slight current to a raging current coming from the other direction. The surface changed from a slight chop to six foot seas. Clear skies changed to lightning-filled raging heavens. I took the conditions at the beginning of the dive for granted. Was paired with two guys I didn’t know who were there until they decided to leave me while I was doing a visual check at the surface. What I expected to remain the same didn’t…in any way. So I had to adapt and remain calm to find my way back to the boat…to home base.

During this current time, the Unknown is really all we can be sure of so I offer the PADI dive reminder….Stop….Breathe….Think….Act.

Remember how you have successfully navigated past stress and trauma with healthy coping strategies. If you haven’t used life-enhancing methods, now you are being given the opportunity to develop them.

Stop….whatever you are doing when you start to spin-out or get anxious about the future just pause your thoughts and actions. Sit down and then….

Breathe….take some nice clearing breaths focusing on your body.

Think….you are in a temporary state of heightened anxiety. Until you are calm and grounded, abstain from decision-making. Spend some time breathing and thinking about ways you can navigate this moment….not the month or the year….this moment. Make a plan for the next half hour, hour, half-day, day.

Act…once you have a well-thought plan, then take action.

When we find ourselves spinning with anxiety we can practice good self-care by developing strategies that will lead us back home to our self. Call upon all of who you are and all the past experiences where you learned vital life skills and coping mechanisms….and if you never learned them celebrate the opportunity to learn them now.

 

The Great Pause

The Great Pause

The other day as I was walking up the mountain in my solitary reverie, the idea of time arose as I wondered what day it was. Many humorous comments have been recently made by individuals suddenly removed from daily schedules about not knowing what day it is. I found myself not caring whether it was Monday or Thursday, April or March or May. I have never liked schedules or boxes as I call them. If I am free to follow the sun and stars, the weather, the chill or warmth of the air, I am most happy. Following the ebb and flow of tides, the changing of seasons seems a more natural way to be in the world. Plug me into a schedule that defies natural rhythm and I begin to get weird and jittery.

I understand that many do not appreciate that kind of relationship with time. Humans have so constrained most everything to fit into days, hours, minutes that when those structures are removed a sort of ‘lost in space’ occurs. Even time off from work is tightly orchestrated and kids have teams and lessons after school that keep them and their parents in a constant frenzy of scheduled time.

Joanna Macy wrote, “People of today relate to time in a way that is surely unique in history. The technologies and economic forces unleashed by the Industrial Growth Society radically alter our experience of time, subjecting us to frenetic speeds and severing our felt connection with past and future generations….the technologies require decisions made at lightning speed for short-term goals, cutting us off from nature’s rhythms.”

During my walking contemplation, I felt my body attune to the rhythm of Nature–spring…morning light…blooms…moving water…cool air…unfurling leaves. During this experience where the entire world has slowed down, I find myself relieved and hopeful. Perhaps we, as a collective, will remember the rhythms of Nature and open to the truth that we are part of the whole and will be happier and healthier by paying closer attention to these sacred rhythms.

Joanna writes, “This peculiar relation to time is inherently destructive of the quality and value of our lives, and of the living body of Earth. And it will intensify because the Industrial Growth Society is accelerating toward its own collapse.” But the good news is this is a time of great potential that she calls The Great Turning.

We are the ancestors of future generations that can, at this moment, steer a saner course for our planet. The Great Turning, as Joanna calls it, has three parts including slowing damage to Earth and all life, transforming foundations of common life and a fundamental shift in values and world view. Isn’t this where we find ourselves these days?

This is what gives me hope.

For as long as I can remember in this life I have known there would be something that would stop the world and make us face the path of destruction we have been on with industrialization. It is my deep hope that we will make a collective effort during this time of pause to reconnect with natural rhythms of life and recognize what is truly valuable and important and what isn’t.

To all the children

To the children who swim beneath

The waves of the sea, to those who live in

The soils of the Earth, to the children of the flowers

In the meadows and the trees in the forest, to

All those children who roam over the land

And the winged ones who fly with the winds,

To the human children too, that all the children

May go together into the future…

–Thomas Berry

 

 

Balance…or the Lack Thereof

Balance…or the Lack Thereof

A subtle urge to change the living area furniture arrangement occurred…again. I haven’t been happy with the configuration since moving in November and have changed it several times. I really like this little mountain home but the design and layout of rooms is quirky and challenging to make it feel balanced.

So furniture was moving all over and Buddy was anxious as the sofa is his bed. Frustration was growing so I stopped and sat down and took a few deep breaths.

I looked around the room. The issue was the main window isn’t centered with the room space. The furniture could be centered with itself or part of it could be centered with the window which made it off-center with the other furniture. Either way, something was going to be out of balance.

From inner silence came this: Forget the window. How do you see a gathering of people in the space? Work with that.

I took the window out of the equation and once I allowed that imbalance to be okay, the room really came together beautifully. Finally.

Everything in life doesn’t have to balance at the same time. Who knew?

I have spent far too much energy in my life trying to make it all work perfectly at the same time. Sometimes is does. But mostly it doesn’t. There will always be something that isn’t in total and perfect balance. Maybe I’m not doing my daily yoga practice but I am eating better. Or perhaps I’m not walking as much but I’m doing yoga. Maybe I feel inspired to write but can’t figure out how to get my creative work out in the world. How much stress do I cause myself by expecting or demanding it all to be in perfect balance?

The quirky house is teaching me it really is okay to be a bit out of whack in some areas of my life. It’s time to celebrate what is in balance and stop stressing over the stuff that isn’t quite there yet.