Category: Compassion

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.

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?

article-2682388-1F6E1EF300000578-83_634x449

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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.

A Personal Odyssey

A Personal Odyssey

photo 7As I floated in the fresh, blue-tinted spring water I gazed into a sea of green leaves outlined by cerulean sky. Reflecting back into the cave I had just exited with my friend, I smiled and whispered words of gratitude. Underwater caves always create some sense of magic and wonder within me and today was no different. Except it was my birthday. And I had the strangest sense that today would be an epic journey… something akin to Homer’s Odyssey.

photo 1There had already been two very strange encounters followed by a truly magnificent cave dive. First, I was visiting three black and white horses after checking in at the dive site and decided to do a selfie with them in the background. I love horses and they had seemed nice enough. But as soon as I turned around one of the horses literally attacked me and bit me hard on the back of my head and neck.

Horse attacking me...happened to catch it with my camera...as he bit my head and neck...
Horse attacking me…happened to catch it with my camera…as he bit my head and neck…

Then, less than an hour later I was hooking my side mount tanks onto my harness in the water and from out of the woods walked a father and his seven year old daughter. He was carrying a long mermaid tail that, once donned, made her an amazing mer-child. She swam in the spring and frolicked and brought beautiful energy to us before the dive.

And so as I laid upon the water, stretching and reflecting, the story of the Odyssey came into my consciousness and the day unfolded as an epic journey home, just like Homer wrote about in his tale about Odysseus’ journey home after the fall of Troy. Interestingly enough it was the Trojan War and the ruse of the Trojan horse that led to the destruction of Troy. So the horse attack this morning set the stage for my own Odyssey.

After a delicious lunch with my friend Pam I departed High Springs, Florida to continue my journey home. As I left the town behind, two huge wild turkeys were on the side of the road. I remembered a line from the movie, O Brother Where Art Thou. “You will see many strange and wondrous things on your journey.” And the drive home seemed like a series of strange and wonderful things.

It's okay to stop and rest in a storm....
It’s okay to stop and rest in a storm….

I experienced a flood of water with a storm that was probably the hardest rain I’ve ever driven in. I saw an 18 wheeler trailer on fire alongside I-10. A random peacock was wandering along the highway and later a huge hawk was seen diving with talons extended just about to grab dinner. And finally the sunset was perhaps the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.

Taken with my phone....nowhere to stop and set up my Nikon...
Taken with my phone….nowhere to stop and set up my Nikon...

Layers of clouds in spirals, wisps, puffy shapes with multitudes of pinks, oranges, grays, blue extended all around me and as I approached Pensacola Bay it was like a symphony of color and shapes surrounded me. The colors were like music. I could hear them, so loudly were they displaying.

photo 3Beautiful wisdom was gifted to me through this series of events, this epic journey home. The horses reminded me that there have been those in my life who appeared supportive and loving yet behind my back were very damaging to me. Like the Trojan Horse that led to the downfall of Troy, there are those who were not as they seemed.

Several years ago in a flight from Miami to Bonaire, the whirling propellers put me into a sort of trance as I flew over the Ocean and I saw a beautiful mermaid with a brilliant emerald tail and knew that she and I were one. I saw that part of me that is intimately connected to water. The young mer-child today reminded me to reclaim that sense of wonder and reclaim my deep connection to water that is the heart of my life.

The dive into Mother Earth…many levels of learning here but mainly I saw that persistence and inner strength can take me into places of magic and help me connect deeper with our water planet. Her beauty will be revealed as I avail myself to doors that open.

The wild turkeys signified abundance, blessings and new beginnings. Native wisdom associates wild turkeys with sacrifice of the ego for Higher Purpose so that in giving one is more open to receive. It reminds me of an email I got as I was in the middle of this journey home. My side mount instructor reminded me that my invitation to commune with the Earth (when I took other folks messages of love into the cave for the Earth) opened Her arms and I was ready to receive. Surrendering the ego, opening the heart, giving…and the return is profound.

The flooding rain hit as I entered Tallahassee so I simply stopped, sat at a Starbucks and waited out the storm. There is nothing in life that says I have to fight the storms that come. It’s okay to rest and observe and be ready to move forward when all is calm.

photo 6Sometimes parts of life are no longer necessary or even healthy. The fire of the 18 wheeler reminded me of this truth. Don’t cling…let go of the past. No more holding on to anything or anyone gone from my life.  The peacock is another symbol for the Phoenix which is the mythical bird that rises from the ashes of it’s own death. Let the past die…let the ego die and be reborn into the fullness of the Higher Self. (Got it).

The hawk reminds me to use my fierce passion for life and bring it to everything I do. Hold nothing back.

Time to step into life with everything I am....
Time to step into life with everything I am….

Finally, the sunset had me dancing in my seat. It truly sang with color and it had an alchemical effect on me. As it peaked over Pensacola Bay I glanced back over my shoulder and saw a flock of white birds reflecting the colors of the sky on their wings against a darkening sky beyond them. They reminded me that no matter where life takes me, if I stay connected to Spirit I will bring the reflection of Love and Compassion with me to infuse the space around me with magic…harmony…love….compassion.

What an incredible Odyssey this day has gifted to me. A perfect way to begin another trip around the sun.

 

Time for another trip around the sun....
Time for another trip around the sun….