Tag: Simone Lipscomb

Blue Heaven

Blue Heaven

In Three Sisters Spring, a highly-visited spring in central Florida by manatees and people watching manatees, there are areas set aside as sanctuaries for resting manatees. Humans are not allowed to follow them past the barriers and the manatees know this. They head to these quiet places to rest and seek respite from the colder river.

I totally understand their desire to hide from massive amounts of people in this ‘warm’ water haven. In fact, I have often wanted to request a sanctuary for humans that simply want to float in stillness and quiet rather than be among those kicking, splashing, talking, yelling or crowding manatees….where is my sanctuary?

Earlier this week I found it. Two days in a row I had the spring to myself. Well….there were fish and a cormorant and maybe a sleeping manatee but there were no other humans. I floated face down watching the spring bubble up 15 feet below me and dropped into a deep stillness that comes when I’m in water, in my happy place.

There was no splashing, no loud voices…it was an amazing experience of beauty and peace.

Ripples of light reflecting off the sand created a wave of rainbows in constant motion. Bliss…delight…wonder…awe.

Suspended weightlessly, the spring and I were one.  There was nothing except those moments of harmony. What a time of renewal, of restoration.

One afternoon there was a large, sleeping manatee. I swam far away and past it to the big spring for my meditation. The manatee and I held space for each other to rest and relax with no expectations or demands. All encounters are not face-to-face. Perhaps some of the most profound are not even in close physical proximity.

I felt so alive and wonderful after spending so much time floating, drifting in stillness.

If you know me, you know I love manatees and whales and sea lions, whale sharks, dolphins….but what I love almost more than an encounter with them is giving them their space and honoring their need for rest and stillness. Cultivating respect for others…accepting their choices to engage or withdraw…and doing the same for myself leads to increased inner harmony and balance.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all could do that for each other and all species? That would perhaps be heaven. For me, it was Blue Heaven.

 

The Cloak

The Cloak

 

On the outcropping of dark rock I wonder—is this sea, sky or starry heavens? It appears as one magnificent space of endless potential.

The cloak I wear grows heavy. I know advantages of hiding and know the prison invisibility can become. Too much of a good thing.

Was it fear of trying or weariness from trying so many times that made this vestment so inviting, so safe.

It’s not that I’ve been idle during my exile. Many wondrous creations came from these depths. But the cloak is so heavy, so confining, so concealing….and suffocating.

So I stand at the end of what I have known–unwilling to go back, unwilling to stay in this realm of ghosts.

My hands rip the shroud. I glance down. Starlight peeks from its folds. Sweet water sings over pebbles and shells.

In stillness I stand as the weight begins to ease. My arms lift in joy. I step forward into the Abyss. Up and up I rise on wings of light, each feather created by a piece of tattered cloak.

Threshold Friend

Threshold Friend


It’s not about what I should do. It’s about what my passion calls me to with such force and magnetism that I am lost and starving without It.

It can be a lonely path, for those not equally moved fail to understand the depth of commitment required to move, step-by-step, toward that invisible, unnamable voice that whispers…Come.

But in this journey, one is not abandoned. The pilgrim is never alone. Each threshold brings a new ally, a new soul friend.

On Winter

On Winter

Winter is challenging for many, especially those of us used to wearing shorts and flip flops in January. With potential icy bridges, even my Saturday early-morning yoga class is out.

So I sit in bed, surrounded by my two boys. Buddy is curled against me as I work and Stanley is dozing at the foot of the bed. They seem quiet, reflective even. Maybe they dream of breakfast or chasing each other on wild dashes through the house. It seems they are subdued, quieter than usual.

Colder weather invites us to slow down, stay indoors and go within like nature does to survive. It’s not only about surviving cold temperatures…this going within. It’s part of the balance of growth.

There are times of intense action and growth, such as spring and summer, so there must be time to rest and recharge. John O’Donohue, in A Celtic Pilgrimage, spoke of winter as having the fullness of spring contained within it. The design, the blueprint…it’s all there in winter, at rest. And when the time is right, the plan leaps into action.

So it is with our lives. We need times of rest and contemplation to practice deep listening. These periods of going within give ideas space to grow and take root and when the conditions are right, they will burst forth with exuberance.

Flying Reindeer

Flying Reindeer

reindeer-people-hamid-sardar-afkhami-1Once upon a time there lived people in northern Siberia, at the top of the planet in a place we call the North Pole. These people depended on reindeer for their lives. The antlered animals provided clothing, housing materials, wares, tools from bones and antlers, milk and even transportation. The Northern Tungusic people, known as the Evenki, even rode reindeer. But maybe….it wasn’t so long ago.

reindeer-people-hamid-sardar-afkhami-2Like many tribal societies worldwide, theirs was a shamanic culture. A shaman is one who knows or sees and takes journeys of flight through altered states of consciousness to gather information and wisdom. Those who practice a more modern form of shamanism today use the drum beat to alter their state of consciousness but traditional shaman often used psychoactive plants as a way to induce heightened states of awareness.

mongolia_reindeer_tribe_7Shaman are keen observers of nature. The Evenki shaman watched their beloved reindeer’s behavior after eating the fly agaric mushroom and realized there were psychoactive properties in the fungi. They began using a dried version to enhance their journeys of expanded awareness as the fresh version is toxic to humans…poor guy that learned that.

mongolia-tribe-reindeer-people-hamid-sardar-afkhami-8One of the side-effects of ingesting fly agaric is the sensation of flying. Another is seeing others fly, including reindeer. The shamanic journey is a flight of the spirit to non-ordinary reality so the Evenki men and women that took their spirit flights journeyed with ‘flying’ reindeer.

reindeerriders12Their spirit journeys were not about escaping reality or getting high. Instead, they used the journey to seek wisdom and knowledge and to honor the spirits, animals, plants and the natural world that gave them life. By connecting with the spiritual aspect of their world, they gathered information that helped them learn when to hunt, when to gather, when to move to other locations and how to treat illness of body and soul.

tsa-2tifShamanic cultures know the magical and mystical properties of the natural world by living in close affiliation with nature. In this way they maintain balance and harmony with the environment that supports and nurtures them.

imagesWe don’t need to ingest toxic mushrooms to take flights of spirit. We can use meditation, drumming and even sitting in stillness and silence to enhance our ability to shift our consciousness. Never before has it seemed so urgent that we connect with nature and alter our mindset and cluttered consciousness so that we might learn, once again, how to live in harmony with our planet.

reindeer-peopleThe flying reindeer remind me to connect with nature in a sacred way every day and allow my imagination to take flight and envision a world where we once again live in harmony with nature and all life. And then to take steps every day to engage in helping that vision come to pass.