Tag: Yoga

The New Normal

The New Normal

_TSL2010How do major awakenings, experiences of cosmic consciousness and expansion translate to every day life? This has been my burning question since the last humpback whale week.

It happens when we have meaningful experiences that change our lives. It might be something big like humpback whales floating 15 feet from us or something as simple as seeing a mother bird care for her young. Something out of the ordinary changes us.

SimoneLipscomb (8)Often the positive change or spark of awakening is difficult to integrate into daily life. We still have to clean the cat box, put fuel in the car, decide what to have for dinner when we’d rather stay in that space of bliss and cosmic Oneness. Of course. Who wouldn’t?

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For decades I’ve tried to figure out how to integrate peak experiences into my life. The last week with humpbacks was so profound that my quest to gain wisdom on the integration process accelerated.

Last week major moments of awareness came (In the End…It’s Love) and today, during and hours after Augusta’s yoga class, integration came.

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Last week the image of a vast cosmos within emerged from the work I was doing to keep my heart open. It was as if a the Universe was within me–stars and planets and space.  Today that vision returned and it reminded me of the night sky over the ocean with silver whale breath illuminated by the moon. It was as if I was becoming the vastness, becoming the cosmos. I felt the magnitude of that week opening to the present moment. The thread that connected the peak experience with the every day one was staying open to love, keeping my heart open.

_TSL4572The mind revolts when we really focus on opening the heart. Fears, objections, warnings arise. But if by some touch of grace we can keep the intention of opening the heart as our goal and just keep practicing without collapsing into fear, we will eventually burn away the dross and be left with the pure gold of a healed, open, loving heart. This sacred alchemy not only transforms our lives, it transforms the world around us.

_TSL3955Peak experiences can become the new normal. An open heart can open our lives in ways we never dared dream.

 

 

Find Your Mountain

Find Your Mountain

_TSL2776Yoga in the courtyard was especially nice this morning. Mild temperatures made it inviting but mostly the past two days were somewhat crazy so creating time for meditative movement in nature was a priority this morning.

I plugged the iPod into the stereo system and made sure the outdoor speakers were on before walking outside. Soothing music, wind rustling through live oak leaves, the grandmother oak tree spreading her branches over the courtyard, over me, brought a feeling of calm.

_TSL2742I went through a nice, intensive flow and then heard, Find your mountain. I stood at the front of my mat and went into Mountain Pose and felt direction to remain in the pose through the song that was playing. I like to move, I like to flow! Stand still and listen, I heard. Still? Stand still?

If I’m not working on something I tend to feel at a loss. I don’t do busy work but find myself seeking a worthwhile project every day. Shooting images and processing them, writing something that I hope will inspire someone, meditating, doing yoga, my barre workout, cycling….being still is not easy for me, at least not outside of sitting meditation.

_TSL2756Mountain Pose in yoga is all about stillness and grounding….and being open but especially standing in stillness. While doing it today I was reminded of the message I’ve been getting for months now: Pause…wait….until the time is right. That’s not so easy for me. Aries are known to impulsive, impatient and ready to lead forward… Wait? Pause? Seriously? It has been an ‘interesting’ few months.

There’s a verse in the Tao Te Ching that is translated something like… “The Tao does nothing yet leaves nothing undone.” I thought of that verse as I was standing in stillness. Another translation… “The Tao never does anything, yet through it all things are done.” It seems to be telling me to allow Life to rise up and move through me and do what needs to be done, without trying to control it or orchestrate it. My path will naturally rise up through me if I can be still and listen and then be ready to act when the time is right.

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When I ‘hear’ messages as strongly as I have the message to wait and pause, it usually means something big is coming. When there is much to do it’s awesome to be able to have the skill of stillness and non-doing as a resource to tap into when things get rushed or pushy. I can carry this grounded energy forward into whatever task awaits.

As I was standing in Mountain Pose I understood the value of having the ability to stop and pause and stand strong and grounded in stillness. This is where clarity can be found and where inner guidance awaits.

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Tender & Gentle–Humpback Whales Part III

Tender & Gentle–Humpback Whales Part III

_TSL2013Tuesday--The day begin with more moon, stars and sea yoga. Practicing with the elements is transformational. I wonder if that’s how it was done long ago…in the beginning. As I practiced I heard to allow the Divine Feminine to shine through me and to come from love. Always come from love in all that I do.

Sunrise found me dancing on the flying bridge in celebration of the day. There is something to be said for dancing with wild abandon with the sunrise after ‘working’ with moon, star and sea energies during yoga practice.

Breakfast, preparing for a day on the Ocean….check dry camera and telephoto lens, check underwater housing…a quick dunk in the camera tank to insure it’s watertight. Fins, mask, snorkel, wetsuit, dry bag with dry camera and other dry stuff….ready to go!

_TSL1694Our day with whales began with a sweet couple. A female and male escort allowed us to view their dreaming. Once again I had the opportunity to meditate with whales for an extended period of time. At-one-ment. This was happening while a complete rainbow arched overhead. I reached a point where I was beyond, beyond blissed-out and so just floated in meditation…rainbow overhead, whales below.

Again I was convinced that whales are not sleeping. Not really. I think it is whale dreaming. When they ‘slept’ I joined them in their whale dreams, in the whale dreamtime. I went into that perfect energy of stillness and silence and connected to that vast mind known as whale.

During my time with this couple, I spent time conveying the messages people sent to them through me. I threw them kisses from Jean. I gave them air hugs from Glenda. I shared Michelle’s message…”Free, I am!” I told them Roxanne sends her love and concern. Jaime’s message asking for forgiveness from them for our abuse of Mother Earth and for communal insight and empathy was shared. Helena’s message of love, love, love, love, love, love and gratitude was shared. I gave them Kolek’s message…and Fran’s. I shared Michael’s message and Debbie’s and asked them to stay away from nets and to accept apologies for human behaviors. And Debbie A’s message of thanks for unknown blessings and Pat’s message of love for the ocean, planet and all life. And Debbie H’s message of love. And Barb’s message of apology for human behavior and our love for them. And Barbara’s message of “Love, love, LOVE!”

_TSL1760-2Tears flowed into my mask as I remembered and shared these messages. I felt receptive hearts and minds listening carefully.

Going into the Vastness of the Whale Mind…I felt gifted with an energetic pattern that will assist me in many ways. Communing with sentient, aware beings through the heart and mind is powerful Medicine.

After a couple rounds of dreaming and coming up for air, the couple swam off touching pectoral fins…tip to tip…side by side. So gentle and sweet were they. And just as they glided away, another couple of humpbacks glided past us. (Where did they come from!?!?).

Holy cow Batman!

_TSL1918Then after a long period with not many whales in sight, we were invited over by the other small boat in our group to a mother, baby and escort who allowed us to get close several, several times. Very close. At one point I was hovering over her fluke so close I could see barnacle scars lining her tail.

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The baby was the most amazing whale I’ve ever met. He laid sideways on mama’s head, upside down on her head, rolled off her head and found every other position imaginable to balance on her head. Such magnificent joy! He also surfaced and practiced his tail lobbing and fin slapping. Then, after tiring, he would rest under her chin.

_TSL1879If we drifted too close, the escort would slowly and gently guide the mom and baby away from us. He didn’t appear upset but was very keen on keeping a certain distance between us and his gal and her babe. The magnetic personality of the baby seemed to draw all of us forward without kicking or swimming. As our hearts opened more we seemed to levitate through the water toward this delightful being.

_TSL1797The trio of whales allowed us and two other groups to take turns observing them for over five hours. Our group went in for lunch at 4.15pm and hurriedly ate and had another beautiful in-water encounter with the same whales. The only time I saw the whales intentionally leave the group of humans was when a person on another trip/small boat did a very loud and splashy entry. The whales moved away  from that boat and settled again near our group.

_TSL2010Tender and gentle describes the day. Mind blown apart is also a good description of the day. My note at the end of the day said this: “I want to write more but I’m so tired and want to do morning moonlight yoga because it’s been freaking amazing! I love you whales! I love you Universe! I am grateful!”

_TSL1861Thus ended the day. I drifted off to sleep with blue water and a baby humpback filling my mind and heart.

Part I–Begin at the Beginning

Part II–Meditating with Whales

 

A Most Amazing Year

A Most Amazing Year

SimoneLipscombThis year brought me back to myself. That’s the short of it. Expanded the year’s summary includes rainbows of epic number and proportions, manatee rescues and encounters, humpback whales, whale sharks, sea lions, Dominican Republic-Silverbank, Bonaire, Mid-Riff Islands-Sea of Cortez, La Paz-Sea of Cortez, morning sea turtle nest patrol. It was a year packed full of Ocean and the intention of bridging humans and nature.

DSC_8937I recently read through the journal I kept while anchored 80 miles offshore for a week with humpback whales and noted that I was finally in my body, fully present with myself. That’s what the Ocean and its creatures do for me.

The past few months I’ve reflected on my work and life and what’s next. After taking the time to pause and listen deeply it’s clear that the ‘next step’ is simply deepening the work I’ve been doing and allowing it to expand with my complete attention and commitment.

IMG_1729Friends have shared powerful words with me lately that have touched deep places within me. Two in particular stand out.

Marianne Williamson said this: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world.” And Donna Faulds said, “Do you value your reasons for staying small more than the light shining through the open door?”

_TSL7226On Day Four of the New Year Yoga Challenge my teacher, Augusta, began class with the poem by Donna Faulds. This stayed in my consciousness as we progressed through the class: “Why wait for your awakening?…..Would you hold back when the Beloved beckons?” At one point we were stepping and opening forward and backward into balance poses. As I breathed in and stepped forward it felt as if I was meeting Light and Breath and the quote echoed in my heart, “Would you hold back when the Beloved beckons?” Then the music changed and the song, Marry Me, by Train began to play.

Tears flowed. I don’t pretend to understand the Great Mystery and can only share my experience. Today it felt as if an invitation to step toward It was extended and with every breath, every step and move into balance I said ‘yes‘ to the Sacred Marriage that happens when we are willing to partner with our Higher Self, our truest self…the Divine part of ourselves.

SimoneLipscomb (2)A couple months ago I was in a yoga class being taught by Sean Johnson and he posed a question for us to ponder in Child’s Pose at the beginning: What do you wish to manifest in your life? To be my true self completely, I whispered as tears rolled down my cheeks onto my mat.

_TSL7177As this year winds to a close it’s clear that the theme for me has been coming home to myself. Thanks to manatees, humpback whales, whale sharks, sea lions and friends, this has become a reality.

_TSL6631We were asked to set a one-word intention for the year at the beginning of today’s yoga class. Mine? Light. LIGHT! This new year is all about Light….Laughter and Love.

_TSL4724With gratitude and an open, humble heart I offer my thanks to all who gifted me with wisdom and support: the mother humpback whale who showed me pure peace, the deepest peace I could scarcely imagine; whale sharks whose gentle nature and grace was amplified through their gigantic forms; playful sea lions who reminded me to be outrageously open to fun; Magnolia manatee whose strong spirit strengthened me; the baby manatee and mother who embraced me–literally; friends who brought hours…days…of laughter in La Paz; the dream-team-last-kids-in-the-whale-shark-playground in Bahia de Los Angeles; yoga friends; neighbors; mom for loving my kitties so I could travel; those who supported my new book, Manatee Mindfulness; music friends; and for those mysterious friends whose invisible presence lifts me up….with a grateful heart I bow to you. May all of you and all beings be filled with peace and love.

SimoneLipscomb (15)Happy 2016!

Addendum

Dream January 1st, 2016….4.45am: Amid a scene of judgment and confusion I stepped away and saw light beams coming from everything. They were coming from people, animals, plants and me. Yes, my friends, it’s gonna be a year of Light. Namaste.

Selfie at Sunrise, La Paz, Sea of Cortez
Selfie at Sunrise, La Paz, Sea of Cortez
Breathe for the World

Breathe for the World

SimoneLipscomb (3)Tears rolled down my face as we sat sounding Om* for the World but especially for Paris. That simple word united our focus, our minds and hearts, as we began our yoga practice. Still feeling raw from news of the attacks, I surrendered to the breath and the opening of the heart that comes with breathing…in……..out……….in……….out.

SimoneLipscombThe week had already been difficult for various reasons. Thursday my thoughts focused on an elder in my extended family, a family to which I once belonged. His birthday was coming around Thanksgiving….how old this year? 95? 96? I wondered how he was and sent him a heart hug. Friday morning an email arrived with the news that he had transitioned to the next stage of his journey and had left this earthly realm.

SimoneLipscomb (4)My heart opened to his family, my former family, and all day I thought of them. It’s difficult to know how to express love and grief in situations such as this. Love doesn’t go away because relationships change.

Then late last night social media began distributing the news of the attacks on Paris. More terrorism, more fear. More opportunities to hate. And more opportunities to love.

800_1569Gathering with my yoga community to practice this morning, we joined together and opened our hearts to help generate love and compassion. With each breath, each posture we were guided by our teacher to open more, create more space within ourselves and to give it away to the world. We dedicated our practice to love, the love generated from open hearts, open minds.

As the tears flowed I dedicated my practice to Paris and to Charles Cooke and to his family…breathing love and compassion to all. And even to those whose fear turned to hatred strong enough to commit such violence. Every posture a prayer for peace, a prayer of love.

DSC_8569I no longer felt helpless but rather empowered to help change the fabric we each and all create. We exist in an on-going collective creative dance. The key is to be mindful of exactly what we are creating….monitoring our thoughts, behaviors…our speech.

_TSL7712When my grandfather passed from this world during Hurricane Katrina I envisioned him helping those dying cross over. When Daddy-O passed this week and the Paris attacks happened, I envisioned him helping those whose lives ended so suddenly and violently. Both men were in their 90’s and both had faith based in love. They leave behind a legacy of love.

800_1368May each of us cultivate love and compassion with every inhalation and with every exhalation send it out to the world. With our mindfulness, let us breathe for the world.

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*While there are many possible origins and explanations for what Om means, I think of it as the sound of the Universe. When we hold this word in song, we allow the sound of the Universe to breathe through us.

Thank you Augusta Kantra for providing the container for a practice of love and compassion.