Tag: 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.

Rise Up

Rise Up

In the too often pattern of not sleeping well, my mind was reviewing the long list of things that frustrate me. I had dreamed of a therapist friend of mine earlier in the night so decided that perhaps I needed to allow my inner psychotherapist to work with my meandering mind.

Almost immediately I heard that my angst comes from a feeling of powerlessness over the many assaults on the environment, wildlife, innocent humans, the ocean, sacred lands, people of color, women…my particular list seems endless these days. Every day…every single day…I witness first-hand some destruction that pushes me to anger, sadness, and grief so enormous it’s difficult to find stillness and peace. It’s like my full-time job these days is just trying to stay sane when I see all of the meanness, destruction and abuse happening.

So if I’m feeling powerless, I’m guessing that others are as well. I know there are many people who care. There are many people who are frustrated and who wake up with anxiety, concern and breaking hearts over the brutality of the administration of the US government…and other governments and corporations who put money as ‘god’ and damn anything that gets in the way…who don’t abide by ethics or morals or even common decency. We are stressed by the state of things and more so because we feel powerless.

As I pondered this my inner therapist suggested that we use every negative thing we witness or hear about or read about as a call to open more to kindness…compassion….love. Instead of giving up in frustration, let every evil deed, every sting of anger, frustration and heartbreak be our cue to love immediately, to show kindness immediately….to open ourselves to compassion. Not as a concept or idea but as an action….an immediate action.

If I see the local state park being cleared of old-growth underbrush and get angry while cycling, send love to every plant I see as I go past. I mean…really send them love. Thank the plants for being there. Apologize for those destroying the flora of the park.

If I read about the ‘president’ creating a border crisis as a publicity stunt for his re-election campaign, allow my anger to be a cue to stop and love my dog and cats….to shower them with open-hearted affection. Take immediate action to show compassion, to take my mind and heart to a place of love…a counter balance to the other stuff.

Perhaps I read a story of polar bears starving from lack of sea ice on which to hunt and I feel overwhelming grief…I can pick up a book of poetry and go outside and read a poem to the Earth….and take my tears to the soil and share them with Her….she’ll listen.

What if I read of an oil and gas lobbyist being installed as head of the Department of Interior….I can go outside and walk among trees and tell them out loud how much I love them.

Angry at sonar blasts killing whales? Turn on whale songs and dance, opening my heart and allowing their songs to guide me to self-expression.

I suggest we create a list of ways we can open our hearts when we feel the familiar sting of anger and heartbreak over what is happening. In the moment we can too easily spiral into our grief and anger so if we create a list in advance we can access it and choose a way to remain open and direct the energy into something that helps us and puts good juju out into the world.

This isn’t a polly anna way of dealing with the insanity we face…this is the way to transmute it, to create the change we want by being the change. It’s not easy. It’s probably the hardest work we will ever do…but check it out beloveds….WE CAN CHANGE THE COURSE OF THE WORLD BY OUR KINDNESS, OUR COMPASSION, OUR LOVE.

Let us rise up. Let us create the world we say we want by taking responsibility for our reactions to what is happening. Let our anger, grief, sadness, frustration remind us to meet brutality with positive action that shifts us…real changes begins within individuals. And many individuals positively shifting their energy leads to really amazing and wonderful change on a large scale.

What’s one thing you can do today that adds compassion, kindness or love to the world? What’s stopping you?

Here’s a partial list of immediate actions of kindness, compassion and love we can take when our anger, frustration, grief, sadness is triggered. Add to it…share it with others. Let’s RISE UP!

Stop and hug your dog or cat or horse….have a favorite poem ready to read out loud to the trees…have favorite music accessible and play it and dance in joy and love….stop and smell flowers (literally)….walk among trees and talk to them and then listen….write a poem about your feelings….sing a love song to the Earth….walk in a park and notice every thing that is beautiful….write a letter to a friend….make up a funny story and write it down….call a friend to tell them you love them….play a musical instrument and imagine love pouring forth with every note….look in the mirror, look into your eyes and thank yourself for being part of the solution….write a love letter to the Earth or to polar bears or whales or whatever species your heart is breaking for and share it with a friend….use children’s building blocks to spell out words such as love, kindness, compassion…pray for wild ones, innocents…visit someone who is ill and read them poetry or a funny story…donate money to an organization or individual working to create positive change…sit in the sun and allow it to touch your heartbreak…walk barefoot on the Earth and let every footstep be a kiss for the planet…create a list of people you can call when you feel overwhelmed with grief or sadness or anger and reach out to one for support….

Whatever you do, do something that nurtures yourself, shifts your energy and from that positive change flows out into the world.

(Thanks Thom)

The Face of What’s Happening

The Face of What’s Happening

Do you dare look? Can you bear the grief? Sea turtle nearly decapitated by propeller. Children ripped from their parents. Whales dead full of plastic. This takes courage friends. To deny our grief is to make ourselves sick. The planet is suffering. All life is suffering. So what can we do?

The face of suffering is evident every day whether we watch the news or read it or listen on the radio. From every direction we are made aware of the destruction. Perhaps our natural inclination is to look away, but not because we don’t care. Perhaps, as Joanna Macy says, it’s because we don’t know what to do with our grief and we feel overwhelmed.

Last night I dreamed I was helping a sea turtle whose throat had been slit. This morning, on sea turtle nest patrol, I came upon a critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle whose neck had been nearly severed from an apparent propeller strike. Even in my dreams they reach out asking for help. And so today, I share this turtle’s story and use it to illustrate the bigger story happening in the world and with every one of us.

So how can we look upon the face of suffering and death and survive the grief? If you are paying attention, you are probably sad and maybe even depressed. And I’m guessing you feel grief. The answer is to feel it. Have the courage to look and feel the emotions and then allow them to move out of your beautiful heart into the world. Don’t be afraid of the grief and likewise, don’t be afraid of your own depth of caring, love and compassion.

I sat beside the turtle’s body after patrol was done. I sang her a song and thanked her for bringing such beauty into the world. The odor of rotting flesh covered my hands and the wind blew her death smell over me as I wept openly. Not just for her passing but for the opportunity to love. What an amazing time to be alive, when every person’s love and compassion is needed so very much.

Loggerhead Hatchling

If you think you can’t make a difference, or the pain of what’s happening is simply too much to bear, allow the strength of that which you love pour through you as grace. That’s what Joanna Macy reminded our on-line group last week. Breathe in the strength of the turtle species that have survived for so long and let that strength pour through as grace to move out through your heart into the world….or the whales….or children removed from parents….or whatever it is that you love deeply. Work with your grief and let it motivate you to love deeper and fuller.

And let me know if you want to work on this together. Thanks to training with Joanna years ago in a week-long retreat, I have some ideas as to how we can come together and stay sane as the chaos of uncertainty shakes us. Always happy to bring a group together to further more love, compassion and grace in this world. (Email Simone)

 

 

Sunrise Together

Sunrise Together

For several mornings while cycling, I’ve stopped at sunrise and turned on the ‘live’ video function on Facebook and have connected with friends while I’m standing at the beach or at a marsh. When people join the conversation I can see them and then can read comments….some comments anyway. Then, as I finish my ride, I think of my friends and send them love and good thoughts.

Perhaps the most valuable takeaway is the feeling of connection, of unity. We are watching the sun rise together.

In these times of divisiveness and fear, it is so important to cultivate feelings of Oneness and connection. It doesn’t have to be through social media…that’s just a way that’s building community for me.

It’s important to be aware of what’s happening in our world. It’s vital that we build connections with others that hold a vision of peace and compassion and equality. Let’s not meet violence with violence but rather with a unified vision and practice of peace, compassion and joy….all over the planet.

*I’m still learning how to read comments and reply while using the video so if you type a greeting and I don’t see it I’m not ignoring you. I love you!

Where Are You, Kuan Yin?

Where Are You, Kuan Yin?

FullSizeRenderMany years ago, while attending massage therapy school, one of the instructors was leading a guided meditation. I drifted off into my own journey and had the following experience: I walked down a stone staircase that spiraled deep into the earth. Eventually the stairs led into water and I stood in water up to my shoulders. Suddenly a woman dressed in white appeared. She looked like a Kuan Yin statue. She cradled and rocked me in the water. I remember the sensation of peace, rest and renewal after more than 20 years. 

There are many stories about Kuan Yin and one that resonates with me portrays her as the Bodhissatva of Compassion, who looks upon the world with and vows to help all beings. She is known as the flame of mercy and compassion and is the ‘Mary’ of the east.

SimoneLipscomb (7)I’ve been searching for compassion lately…calling it, pleading with it to show itself on our planet.

On a personal level, finding compassion for countries that continue to slaughter whales challenges me. In fact, I am angry that Japan insists on this slaughter. And Taiji, where the local fishermen have over-fished their waters and blame the dolphins so round them up and slaughter them each year. Honestly, I go a little postal if I think too much about their senseless actions. It’s difficult to keep my center, to feel love…to imagine compassion.

_TSL1998copyAfter this year’s trip to visit humpback whales that included time in the water with them in which I floated peacefully with them in meditation, I have absolutely no doubt they are sentient beings. I watched mothers teach babies how to fin slap, tail lob, spy hop and breach. I saw a male and female swim off with the very tips of their fifteen feet long pectoral fins touching after spending time communing together…such tenderness. I watched a mother and baby and male rest for hours and allow us to watch, snorkeling twenty feet away in sheer bliss. These animals are social, they have communication skills that surpass ours but because they are different than us, live in an ocean and don’t drive cars, eat fast food, etc etc some humans think of them as ‘less than.’

It’s easy to feel helpless when violence against cetaceans and other wildlife occurs or when humans are hurt through violence of actions or words. When hundreds of acres are cleared for development it’s challenging to know how to empower ourselves.

_TSL2010copyJane Goodall said this, “There is a lot we can do, each and every one of us, just by trying to make the world around us a better place. It can be very simple: we can make a sad or lonely person smile; we can make a miserable dog wag his tail or a cat purr; we can give water to a little wilting plant. We cannot solve all the problems of the world, but we can often do something about the problems under our noses. We can’t save all the starving children and beggars of Africa, of Asia, but what about the street children, the homeless, the aged in our own hometown?”

Instead of trying to solve all of the world’s problems, why not begin with something nearby and practice compassion there. Choose one issue on which to focus and pour our hearts into it. Listen to the passion that wells up within and allow it to direct our energies.

Sunday Sea Turtle Buddies
Sunday Sea Turtle Buddies

It’s not that we can call on some mythological being to come save us from our self-created hell. We can call forth the qualities of mercy and compassion within ourselves to create the changes we wish to see within the world.

SimoneLipscomb (15)Where are you Kuan Yin? Within each of us willing to look inside.