Tag: wildlife

A Call to Opening

A Call to Opening

Amid the pain and suffering we are called to open our hearts and minds. Within the cloud of grief and sadness, the only thing that will save us is opening….allowing the emotions to flow through with the breath.

Breathing in I feel the pain and suffering of the world. Breathing out I see this moving through my heart and out into the world, now transformed into compassion, kindness, love.

Have the courage to look upon the face of what’s happening, to feel the emotions of grief, frustration, anger and let them move through the conscious intention of transforming through love.

Keep breathing. Keep opening. Keep loving.

Let our collective mantra be Go in Peace, Go in Compassion, Go in Kindness, Go in Love. Allow these words to move through our hearts out into the world…over and over and over.

Emotional Honesty

Emotional Honesty

Lately in meditation I have received the same message repeatedly….be emotionally honest. I’ve shrugged off the idea because who wants to hear it? I don’t even want to. But with the recent suicide of Anthony Bourdain I thought perhaps it’s exactly what people need to hear…so they wouldn’t feel alone in their pain.

For the past twelve years I have dedicated my life to documenting and sharing beauty…and destruction…of our beautiful planet. The Deepwater Horizon Disaster awakened me to get serious about the work and after a year spent documenting seven beaches along the Alabama coast I was an emotional wreck. I was angry and broken-hearted. I saw people turn away once the well was capped….and I thought that event would awaken humanity to rise up and be planetary stewards.

When people ‘went back to sleep’ I was so frustrated. So angry. Still brokenhearted.

In an effort to heal my brokenness, I attended a week-long intensive with Joanna Macy. She’s an eco-philosopher, Buddhist scholar and created a body of work called, The Work That Reconnects. I found, during that week of healing, a strong desire to document beauty. People don’t turn away from beauty…maybe that would help generate planetary stewardship.

I returned to North Carolina determined to continue the work in a bigger way….write more, create more books, take more photographs, travel to experience beauty and power of the planet and its wildlife. My energy went into opening my heart more, my mind more and listening deeper to Nature, the Ocean…to Life.

Good things have come of that but when people comment positively about the work and say, It’s so cool that the work supports you financially….well, I smile and say….It doesn’t.  Everything I have has gone into the work and I’ve made leaps of faith that would scare the strongest soul. I’ve never been ‘in’ the work to make money…but rather to give to the planet my heart, mind, talents. All of who I am and what I have is ear-marked for Mother Earth.

Living on the edge like this has allowed me to experience joy, wonder, gratitude, as well as fear and anxiety…society says, Play it safe, but my Path says, Leap.

Some might say I am reckless with financial resources because I don’t abide by the societal ‘rule’ of fear-based actions and penny-pinching until you die. I’m all-in. How could I hold back, selfishly guarding something that’s not really mine to begin with?

Over the past several months I’ve felt a strong desire to down-size and simplify my life to support my environmental educational/stewardship efforts. When I recently placed my home on the market I developed respiratory crud. As a person accustomed to being healthy and strong, the lengthy illness has tested my patience. Fears have arisen about health coinciding with fears about relocating with a dog and four cats and beginning work in an area that is calling to me….a new community, a new state…everything snowballed into a tangled ball of physical illness, emotional turmoil and spiritual distress.

Nobody promised the journey to wholeness would be easy, that the Path would demand anything less than my complete attention…not only to that which I am called to do but to my self as well. When we ignore the feelings they don’t go away. They build and get stronger.

Uncertainty about my health, home, move, environmental efforts grew. I needed something to help shift and open me.

Last week I joined an online book club with Joanna Macy and many others about her book, Active Hope. As I sat at my computer looking at faces looking back at me through computer screens… people that love and care for the planet….and listening to Joanna share, I felt such a sense of relief. I realized how very alone I have felt in this journey of dedicated work. Yes, there have been people in my life but I’ve never been truthful about the despair I feel for our planet. I keep it superficial because….maybe I felt a strong person makes a good leader. People aren’t always comfortable with emotions. I don’t think that anymore….I suspect powerful leaders are those who are emotionally honest and have the courage to share with others their experience of pain– that are willing to risk opening the heart to reveal truth. Anthony Bourdain’s suicide yesterday really spot-lighted that truth.

So here’s my emotional honesty….I feel despair about humanity’s destruction of our planet. The grief is so strong that I have ‘armored’ myself so I don’t feel grief….which cuts me off from the work and people willing to help. After documenting the oil spill I lost my ability to accept simple pleasures for a few years. My heart breaks every day when I see cruelty. I cannot pretend everything is okay in the world. And…I have a deep and abiding trust that Spirit is guiding me, even when I feel afraid. I am determined to heal whatever needs healing within myself to become whole…for with that wholeness comes the ability to channel more love and light into the world. I am passionately in love with this planet. She is my Beloved. Nothing comes before the work I feel called to do….nothing.

We are not alone. What would happen if we were collectively emotionally honest with each other? What if we didn’t hide our hearts but took the risk to open them?

A parting thought….Joanna said this the other night during our cyber meeting: “Let the strengths of that which we love pour through us as grace.” When we remember we have a dynamic relationship with that which calls us, we feel less alone. When we surrender and allow that strength to move through us we stay centered in our Higher Selves and let ego rest. Joanna also said, “Don’t be afraid of the suffering of your world.”

Let us not turn away from the suffering of our world or ourselves. May we listen with an open heart and mind and open ourselves to the strength of that which calls us.

The Calling

The Calling

The Calling

Through the starlight whispers

Like soft falling snow

Your voice called me.

Particles of light

From some unknown

Home, I heard you.

Eons of time and space

Holding its hand,

An arrow pointing home.

Aching with love

My heart felt you stirring

Deep inside itself

Loggerhead Hatchling

Answer to an unspoken

Word, tears flowed from

My young eyes.

Compelled by the

Silent voice

I answered.

A journey begun,

A path to walk,

A calling.

~ Simone Lipscomb

The Dawn of Spring

The Dawn of Spring

So close to making it to the beach for sunrise but alas that amazing orange orb rose over the swamp as I pedaled. It didn’t matter. It was still an outstanding start to Spring. And was still low enough in the sky at the beach to offer very nice light for a couple of phone photographs.

I felt my life begin to open last weekend with manatees, kayaking, a book signing at Franklin Anderson Gallery of Art and a visit with an old friend. Laughter with my friend, water, sea cows and a family of artists I met were Spring tonics. Clarity began to ease the old stuck places into motion and it feels as if my life can breathe once again.

This is the magic of Spring. Not first stirrings but all-out growth bursting forth.

Growth doesn’t happen simply by reaching for light. We must dig our roots deep into darkness and dare to explore the Unknown before we leap forward into light.

My friend Deco. His dad took us on a fun ride on the Suwannee River.

What a glorious dawn of Spring that amplified the joy from the past weekend. Grateful for so much….friendship, soul-sister-artists, manatees, water to play in and answers.

1972

1972

When I was a teenager, caring people with vision were fighting for the health of the planet….clean air, clean water, and an environment free of a toxin that was creating a huge die-off of birds. Bald eagles, brown pelicans and other species were not able to reproduce because levels of DDT caused egg shells to be too thin. DDT accumulated in soil and river sediment and was finally banned from the US.

As I was standing in Gulf State Park watching a bald eagle feed her baby the other day, the year 1972 came to mind. I was 12 years old when DDT was outlawed.  I remember the outrage and grief I felt over the horrors happening in our country…even as a kid. But people paid attention to those fighting for health of all life and we made steady progress until the current administration was elected, even with setbacks suffered through various administrations. A friend of mine recently said, I would hug Ronald Reagan if he could replace Trump. And Reagan was no friend of the environment.

The bald eagle watched over the eaglet from above the nest, high in a pine tree. As it swayed in the spring winds, tears formed as I remembered….1972….hope as a young kid…. the environmental ‘movement’ that gained support for clean water, air, land, wildlife….and now? I found anger and frustration arising as I reflected on many hard-fought protections that are rapidly being swept away by people concerned only about wealth and power.

It seems completely absurd these hard-fought battles are having to be fought again. Just one example: During the Obama administration the EPA proposed banning chlorpyrifos because of evidence of some bad side-effects….it attacks the nervous systems of people and insects….all animals. Residues are still on the broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries and citrus when it reaches consumers. But less restrictive regulations on environmental concerns is the forte for the Trump administration….because it encourages businesses to grow (cheaper ways to produce food, oil, gas, etc etc etc etc). Damn the consequences to human health, wildlife, water, air, land…and this is only one example.

One of the lies we tell ourselves is, it’s all going to be okay. But is it? On a deep, spiritual level…of course it is. But our physical lives and those of generations to come are in danger. If we allow this kind of undoing of environmental regulations we are going against what research tells us, in black and white, will happen. And more importantly, what is morally and ethically the right course of action. But the ‘leaders’ of our country simply don’t consider clean air, water, land important issues.

I like to write about beauty and the feel-good stuff. Who wants to read about the rapid backslide into pollution? Toxicity? But I would betray the very beauty I treasure so dearly if I didn’t speak up, if I didn’t cry out, and remind us of where we have come from and where we are certainly headed if we don’t stop this reckless behavior.

Every time I cycle by the bald eagle nests, the year 1972 blinks in my mind like a neon sign. I can’t forget what it took for environmental laws to be birthed. Can you? Are you willing to risk the health of your children…grandchildren? What are you willing to give up so the wealthy and power-hungry in our country can thrive?