Category: Compassion

Sending Love to the Bullies

Sending Love to the Bullies

Still awake after waking at 2am, my mind wandered back to the little boy who broke my heart yesterday. I was working the cash register at my part-time job at a major outdoor clothing store. A man and his eight year old-ish son were at the counter looking at wallets. The boy was quiet and shy but given the way his dad was treating him, I understood why.


The man kept criticizing the boy, saying things like he should get a pink wallet because of how he’d been acting that day. The boy grew smaller as i observed their interaction, his dad clearly wanting those around to witness the humiliation directed not only at the boy but toward women. ‘If you have emotions you must be a woman and wear pink.’ The child was being bullied and the father hadn’t a clue what an ass he was being, how he was damaging his son.

I smiled and teasingly said to the ‘man,’ “Hey, we’re almost an all-female staff. Be careful…” The guy laughed, not understanding what I was saying and kept on harassing his little boy. Finally, I walked over to the boy and said, “My brother is a man, he hunts turkey and deer and he wears pink shirts.” The little boy broke into a huge smile for just a moment and as we made eye contact I knew he felt understood. If only for a brief time, someone was on his side.

Tears prompted me to write this as a way to send love to the boy. But I  also send love to his father who was probably bullied by his father. Shall we send love now, through our deep breath and exhalation, to all the bullies whose pain is so great the only way they feel relief is to pass it on to their children.

And to the little boy…may you find the courage to be yourself, to feel and express your emotions, to be the math nerd or the science whiz or musician or actor or writer or artist or professional soccer player….may you always be true to your heart and find support, sometimes where you least expect it.

Everyday Kindness

Everyday Kindness

FullSizeRender 6A friend shared about his efforts to start a spay/neuter and rabies program for stray cats in a remote place he’s been working. It’s such an isolated sort of place with other agendas so his efforts touched my heart deeply. Where politics and violence are the focus, he quietly and gently planted ideas for change. Compassion, kindness towards innocent creatures.

IMG_1844His story really struck a chord within that amplified ideas of late that have been rattling around in my heart and head: It’s the daily acts of compassion that create lasting change in the world. Acts done quietly, perhaps unnoticed by others.

FullSizeRender 5Big events, big gestures are catalysts for sure but it’s the daily practice that creates positive shifts in consciousness that continue and build and spread. As each of us practice these small efforts, they become the normal way of being instead of something we have to think about or remember to do.

Art on the wall in the Miami Airport!!!
Art on the wall in the Miami Airport

I used to believe that there was some big purpose for which I came into this life. Now I understand that it’s simply to be kind and compassionate to all beings and learn to love deeply, unconditionally, without judgment. This realization lifts a great burden of striving and pushing against all the uncool things happening. It seemed far too overwhelming to ever make a difference.

IMG_1969We don’t give up our efforts to bring light into the world. We just grow to understand it’s simply a way of being that brings transformation….to ourselves, to the world.

_TSL4354May we be a ray of light every day by practicing simple, everyday kindness.



Lessons from an Elephant in Bondage

Lessons from an Elephant in Bondage

article-2682388-1F6E1EA200000578-509_634x523The story had been circulating through Facebook for about a week now and I had been avoiding it because I knew it would upset me. But today I felt the courage to read it.

article-2682388-1F6E1EBD00000578-369_634x661An elephant in India had been in bondage for 50 years. Not just tied up for half a century but shackled with piercing bonds around his ankles. He was forced to hold out his trunk and beg for coins from passers-by and survived only on plastic and paper for food. A group of rescuers (Wildlife SOS) heard of his plight and saved him. Under cover of darkness they took 10 team members, 20 forestry employees and six police officers to help him. They took Raju fruit as they fought with the owner who was illegally mistreating the animal. Their words soothed him and nurtured him as much as the food he so desperately needed. As they began to remove his spiked hobbles and chains, this magnificent creature began to cry. Real tears.

article-2682388-1F6E1F4F00000578-992_634x956As I read the article I too began to cry. Tears for the elephant—this beautiful, kind soul. Tears for the rescuers and their profound compassion. And yes, tears for the man who mistreated Raju.

article-2682388-1F6E23B400000578-803_634x475I pondered the story all day and what I came to understand is how Raju is a powerful teacher for us.

The mind is a powerful tool in our lives that can turn into a slave master. It can create shackles, even spiked shackles, that hold us back, keep us stuck and create a living hell where we are enslaved to starve spiritually and emotionally. Our beliefs can become so powerful that we cannot realize there is a better life available.

article-2682388-1F6E1EA700000578-231_634x422How do we become slave to our mind? Simply by allowing it to create scenarios based on beliefs about who we are and what we are capable of doing. If we grow up believing we don’t deserve happiness or that we’re stupid or we’re not talented…or whatever negative belief we hold…we reinforce this belief by practicing it. It’s like playing golf and developing a bad swing. It’s not that we really want to play badly, we simply build on a faulty or inefficient swing and our game gets worse.

So if our mind enslaves us, then what frees us? What becomes the rescue team that unties our bindings and frees us to stand and grow into the fullness of being?

It can begin with a simple question: What if I’m wrong? What if the beliefs I hold about myself are incorrect? What if I am smart? What if I am creative? What if I’m capable of living my potential? What if I can commit to a relationship? The list is endless.

article-2682388-1F6E1E0200000578-486_634x414If we begin to feed ourselves mental food that is nourishing, the shackles gradually begin to loosen. In other words, we become our own rescuers; however, we don’t have to do it alone. We can form friendships that nurture our wholeness. We can join groups that empower us. We can practice good self-care, however that looks for each of us. We can nurture our dreams instead of deny them.

It is our birthright to fully develop into the potential we were born with and to express the gifts that are part of our soul experience. We can shine brightly and fully when we stop abusing ourselves, stop allowing others to do so and fully embrace the abundant richness of spirit we are meant to experience. We hold the keys to the Kingdom of Love and Light…and the keys that unlock the shackles into which we have locked ourselves.

article-2686961-1F876BE400000578-224_634x421It’s difficult to make sense of such mistreatment of our brothers and sisters such as Raju but if we take a bit of time and seek the lessons contained within, we honor their pain and suffering as we use it to gain better understanding of our own lives. We all have the capacity to be the abuser, the abused and the rescuer. Which do you choose to be to your self? To others?


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A Little More Kindness

A Little More Kindness

Journal entry from 8am this morning:

SimoneLipscomb (2)My hands are still damp, I’m still in my wetsuit, but I wanted to write while the emotions are still fresh.

I had just turned my solo morning meditation dive when in front of me glided a large spotted eagle ray. Her long, thin tail trailing behind–a thin, black line against the blue sea. Her face beautiful in its beak-like design, eyes watching me as I watched her.

She arched across my right side leaving the sand flats where she had fed and headed down the top of the reef. I stopped and witnessed her graceful beauty–the slow, steady beat of her wings underwater–and felt my heart open as it does when beauty such as this touches me softly with its unexplainable magic.

So close to this magnificent creature was I, our eyes connected and thus did our innermost being.

SimoneLipscomb (1)She swam on and I did, too, parting with joy and appreciation. As I slowly kicked back, away from the ray, I felt a renewed commitment to cultivate kindness and gentleness for all creatures and especially those who are innocent of the abuses humans perpetuate apon their homes.

The Sacred in the Small

The Sacred in the Small

simonelipscomb (2)Yesterday the river was clear enough from recent rains to get out and enjoy a nice SUP board paddle. Recent heavy rains had shifted a downed tree almost completely out of the way and created a nicer, whiter beach at my usual put-in spot in our neighborhood. After a leisurely warm-up paddle I was ready to turn on the turbo when I spotted a mother wood duck and her brood of over ten babies.

Who could pass up such a delightful surprise? I stood on my board watching as the little ones scooted behind their mom…peep-peep-peeping. Oh…it was great to be back on the river!

photo copyIt was a quiet morning with only  a few boats so stillness prevailed. I saw the pine tree at Devil’s Hole had three great blue heron nests in it this year instead of one. Two of the nests had the tall gray-blue birds standing in them. I sigh now remembering the joy that sight produced within me.

And so I continued downriver a bit and decided to turn and head upriver. I had to stop and greet the osprey pair and watch as one of the parents chased a large crow away from the tall nest. Across from the osprey family a large group of turkey buzzards were perched on the tin roof of a boathouse. I could hear their long nails scraping against the metal and even though I’m not afraid of them, it sort of creeped me out. They eat carrion…dead things…and so I felt a little squeamish as I kept an eye on them and told them, “Not yet boys. Not yet.”

When I got to the big bend in the river just past the Devil’s Hole, I spied a tiny baby turtle attempting to climb up on a small, round piece of floating driftwood. He kept spinning it. So I gently reached and caught him and placed him on my board. I gave him a ride to the nearest pile of floating vegetation near the river bank.

As I passed under the bridge and then through the Cold Hole I neared the narrow stretch of river that would lead me home. I heard a peep, peep, peep. Hmmm…where was that coming from, I wondered. And then, as my eyes scanned the direction of the sweet sound, I saw a single wood duck baby. Mama and siblings were apparently gone. I sat on my board and listened carefully and watched for any sign of movement along the opposite bank but saw nothing.

So I sat with this amazing, fuzzy, precious duckling and waited. I talked with her, suggested she stay clear of bass and keep on peeping for her mom. My heart ached as I could sense the anxiety of this small, sacred life…desperately wanting the comfort of her mother and brothers and sisters. I gave her space and left at one point to paddle back toward the bridge looking and then upriver a bit but never saw a glimpse of mama wood duck.

With a deep sadness that echoed throughout my being and out into the world,  I paddled onward. Thirty minutes I waited, watched and searched but knew that the best chance this young one had was to survive long enough for mom to return and gather her into the fold once more.

Innocent beings, the smallest of the small, touch me and create such compassion and honestly, such heartbreak. I was telling a friend and fellow bird-lover about the baby duck and how heart-broken I was that I couldn’t do anything but witness the baby’s dilemma. He reminded me of the cost we pay when we are empathic. It hurts to care…and yet it is a reminder that I have such capacity for love and compassion. We all do.

800_0234Driving back from Gulf Shores today I saw a tiny inch worm crawling on my leg. I carefully placed my finger in front of him and offered safety until we arrived home. This tiny, amazing worm also reminded me that all life is sacred. All is worth protecting. And yes…all life is related…connected. The smallest creatures remind us of this truth.