Tag: Simone Lipscomb

Threshold of Something New

Threshold of Something New

I feel change coming. Big change. I feel the old ideas and ways fading, dissolving and something new coming; however, I don’t know what ideas will grow from seeds planted long ago.

Being in a the threshold of change is challenging. The threshold is a place of transition where we leave one place and enter a new one. It can be uncomfortable, scary even. Sometimes, it’s a quick occurrence; however, I tend to sense things coming long before they arrive, so the threshold can seem like a very long tunnel leading to some unknown place.

In the past, I’d expend a lot of energy trying to figure out what the ‘new’ was going to be. Often, when I sensed this kind of change, I’d rush ahead and try to begin building something new before the old had finished its death dirge. That only created more stress and rushed something that wasn’t ready to be birthed.

So lately, I am acknowledging the sensed changes and simply allowing them to have a full and complete, un-rushed passage of decrease, of release. I’m not trying to figure out the next step. I’m simply letting go and remaining open to the Path opening before me as I rededicate myself to serving Earth Mama. 

In this place of letting go….in the stillness, in the waiting…I feel total trust.

As I was uploading photographs and finishing this essay, I decided to pick up my book, Book of Nature, and ask for wisdom to be shared. I randomly opened to this page… “Release….Step from the perceived safety you know into the vast Unknown. Shed layers of fear and doubt. There is something beyond the physical existence of flesh and bone. You already know the Mystery; it is within you, encoded into every cell.” And this photograph was paired with those words….

Sisterhood of Lady Slippers in the Cathedral of Light

Sisterhood of Lady Slippers in the Cathedral of Light

Do I kneel in the mud and allow tears of joy to merge with raindrops on the tender petals of the lady slipper? 

Do I sing hymns of praise for wildflowers?

The thought arises to place my hands in the cool mud and paint my face in solidarity with Earth and all growing things.

Maybe I should photograph her ladyship, to show the voluptuous curves of her pink belly.

Perhaps I can create a song to sing to my granddaughter to tell of all the flowers in the woodland.

How do I endure beauty so overwhelming? I feel I’m about to erupt from my skin, like an explosion of light from a star? 



Shout with joy?

Dance…no, no dancing because I am surrounded by tender beauties that must be protected so I must be still.

It is difficult to know what to do in the presence of profound beauty. How can I take it in? Dare I even attempt it?

How can I receive the beauty, the unexpected beauty, that simply shows up? The surprise of beauty. How do I take that in?

I want to do something to express the awe I feel, when all I really need to do is be there, be present. Be open. Breathe in. 

A couple years ago I had a very clear message from Nature as I was walking in the woods. The message was, When Nature gives me a gift, I have to learn to receive it. My first reaction is often to capture it with photography. It’s harder for us to fully receive the gift of that beauty when we interrupt the receptive moment of awe to ‘do’ something other than be in the present moment breathing. We can simply pause and breathe with the flower or tree, the river or hawk, and let go of words, drop deeper into stillness with the beauty. The frustration can then fade as we open even more fully to receiving.

Breathing in…thank you, I see you, I feel you. Breathing out….this is me, here’s my open heart. This is who I am. This is me. Breathing in, I take in the beauty, the essence of the flower; breathing out, I have the courage to show the flower who I am. This is my heart. This is me. You and I are one. Absolutely, we are one. 

An expanse of lady slippers was unveiled due to a blown-down where trees obliterated the trail and a detour was necessary. In wandering around the massive pile of trees and attempting to find our way forward, we discovered a secret wooded area of lady slippers. We would never have seen these precious flowers had we not had to find an alternate path. It felt as if we were invited into a secret initiation of the Sisterhood of Lady Slippers in a Cathedral of Light. And we said….Oh! YES! And THANK YOU!

Music of the Universe

Music of the Universe

I walked on to the deck in the quiet, pre-dawn hour. Stars shone brilliant overhead and were mirrored in the surface of the Ocean. Nearby, humpback whales exhaled in the fading moonlight and the mist drifted toward me.

The first week I spent anchored 90 miles from land, in the middle of humpback birthing waters, was magical. I practiced yoga with whales observing. I sang, as they exhaled and hummed along. Being in the water with them was mind-blowing…school bus size creatures that tolerated our presence as we floated respectfully observing, marveling…in awe.

I’ll never forget singing mantras in Sanskrit to the Ocean…the One Ocean…and feeling as if the consciousness of Ocean recognized the pattern of that language, the oldest language on the planet some say. Ocean knew the language, the pattern of sound waves, as I sang them. I knew Unity. I felt it. I was it.

The stars, Ocean, mantra, yoga, love, humpback whales all combined to create a threshold into a deep place of communion that has remained alive within me for many years. As we approach Earth Day, I’ve thought a lot about the whales and mantras, of sound. Humpbacks are masters of sound.

Recently, I was reminded that Earth hums, has a vibration, a sound that has been studied and measured. I wonder….are the whales singing in harmony with that sound? Their vocalizations are often below the range of human hearing, as is Earth’s hum. Are the humpbacks singing with Earth?

When I floated in the water with them as they slept, I went into meditation and in my mind heard clearly, We aren’t sleeping, we are dreaming with Earth. We help hold the pattern together. Now, I suspect their dreaming is harmonizing with Earth with intention to create. Literally create.

Back in February, I met David Newman at a Girish workshop. We chatted a few minutes as I waited for the workshop to begin. I thought, What a nice guy. David is known for his bright spirit and mantra music. I went on to take the workshop with Girish and then a month-long on-line harmonium workshop with Girish and during that time purchased a harmonium. I hadn’t intended to do that. I just wanted to open my voice.

Several years ago, when I attended Soul School yoga teacher training with Sean Johnson, I found singing was my favorite part. Sean introduced me to the harmonium and singing sacred mantras…actually it was during kirtans or a retreat in Ireland–long before I attended Soul School–that Sean introduced me to mantra. Then Ocean reminded me it already knew those words, those patterns, and it’s been a practice I’ve done for years but adding the harmonium….that just blasted it into the heavens.

How does all of this come together? Powerfully so.

Not long after I met David, his partner posted that David was terminally ill. Many of us all over the world added David and his family into our mantra and yoga practices. His passing was relatively quick, but the amount of light and love generated by heart energy and mantra….it was so strong. Every time I tapped into that beautiful love pouring forth towards Asheville and added my voice, it was simply profound. Joining my voice with the harmonium, the wind, the whirling of the stars to assist him and his family….thousands of us did that…created such beauty. Girish best described it as a wave of light.

It struck me, after hearing of his passing yesterday, how he showed us, in his journey home, how to join together and bring healing light and love into the world…light that is still reverberating throughout the cosmos. So, the question is…why don’t we do this every day? Dedicate our practice to Earth. Dedicate it to our family. Dedicate it to our community. We change the world as we change our vibration and sing andopen our hearts with love to the world.

The whales taught me that they dream harmony and balance into being as they rest and sing and give birth…they create with their harmonies with Earth. When we sing mantras, those ancient words of peace and love connect with Earth and the original pattern of wholeness, of Oneness, is restored. Maybe that’s the healing this world needs….a path forward into Unity.

David wrote these lyrics, “I felt your eyes upon me and a stirring in my Soul. I watched the current rise and tide turn for another shore. A river finds its ocean, the light brings darkness to its knees. All that we’ve forgotten and all that we were meant to be…we are like stars, stars in the sky. The darker this night, the brighter we will shine.”

To the whales and stars and Ocean that taught me the ancient patterns of peace and love are carried through mantra–whether human or whale song–thank you. To mantra singers like Sean Johnson, Girish, David Newman, and many others, thank you. To Earth and Ocean for carrying the ancient patterns of creation and holding us in a loving embrace, thank you. May we sing with our hearts in harmony with the hum of our sacred planetary being and know, with absolute certainty…We Are One.

Little Miracles in the Stream

Little Miracles in the Stream

Not long ago I wrote an essay celebrating mayflies. (Read here). Last Saturday I took a very deep dive into the early lives of mayflies and other aquatic macroinvertebrates. Learning more about them was so mind-blowing, I’m still seeing images of hundreds of tiny…or not so tiny…creepy-looking critters that came out of our kick net sampling and went into small water-filled cubes as we sorted them. It’s so overwhelmingly cool, I can hardly find words to express it.

In the Southeast, there are 9 families and 294 species of stoneflies. There are 21 families and 300 species of mayflies in the Southeast. Caddisflies have 663 species and 21 families in the same region. Does anyone else find that amazing?

For those so inclined to know more, here’s a bit of information. During the first year or two of their lives, they are all found underwater, living on the bottom, under rocks and leaves, on underwater branches. They all look like buggy creatures but there are ways to tell them apart. For instance, stoneflies have two tails, two claws, no abdominal gills (yes…these critters have gills!!), and two pair of wing pads. Mayflies usually have three tails (sometimes two), one claw and abdominal gills. Caddisflies are more like wormy creatures with legs and curl into a C shape. They also have anal hooks. 

That’s the majority of the critters we find in our benthic realm. But there are also dragonfly nymphs, beetles, hellgrammites, flies, midges, sowbugs, damselflies…and the snails, crayfish, leeches, scuds, worms, and muscles and clams. There is an amazing amount of life along the bottom of our streams and rivers.

Let me clarify the ‘amazing amount of life’ statement. In good water quality, we see more species. We also learned, from EQI instructors, that all of these creatures have different tolerances of pollution and sediment levels. By collecting biological samples, then sorting and counting, scientists can get a good idea of the water quality. The years of data EQI has collected gives a wonderful health check for various watersheds and bodies of water within those watersheds. 

For now, I don’t want to dive deeper into the scientific data part. That’s vitally important; however, what touched me so deeply was the profound diversity of life we have in our area. The web of life gets more and more precious to me as I learn more about it, as I understand the interconnectedness of all life. It’s miraculous….at least that’s my word of explanation.

The more I learn, the more miraculous life seems. It all works together so beautifully, as long as we don’t interfere with pollution, sediment, agricultural run-off. 

Here’s to the giant shredder stoneflies and the 2-tailed flattened scrapers. The spiny turtle mayflies, the gravel coffin case caddisflies…and all the amazing creatures that create such profound bio-diversity in Western North Carolina.

And to EQI for creating such a positive impact in our area. Click the link to learn more about this nonprofit laboratory. “We curate reliable and objective data, expand awareness about regional water quality, and provide technical support to nonprofits, local governments, educational institutions, and communities to drive environmental improvements.”