027: The Tao of Bob: Opening My Home & My Heart to an 87 Year Old Man

By August 21, 2018The Simplifiers Podcast

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They say some people enter your life for a season, a reason or a lifetime. And when you first meet someone, you might not know how long they’ll stay or how they’ll impact your life.

My special guest, Spike Gillespie is someone I’ve known for well over 10 years now. Her beloved nickname (given by my children to her) is “Uncle Spike” and she’s someone whose presence is greatly appreciated by every member of my family.

But Spike’s story is a unique one. You see, not too long ago, she met a gentleman named Bob and opened up her home at the Tiny T Ranch (and eventually) her heart to him.


Just a simple little moment where she said “yes” that changed everything in her life from that point forward.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Who Bob was and what the experience was like to have an 87 year old roommate
  • What this taught her about family and about father figures in her life
  • Spike’s process of writing this book, The Tao of Bob, versus the eight other books before it
  • Her personal journey navigating in and out of abusive and troubled relationships (whether it’s with parents or past partners) and how Bob gave her new insight, love and shared healing
  • Spike also shares simple, practical tips if you are struggling with an abusive or troubled relationship in your life.

I feel lucky and honored to have met Bob myself. He is a bright light of joy, love and radiance like I’ve never seen before. And their bond took my breath away. The timing of the Universe is magnificent, when we stop and pause and take it all in.

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did and it brings healing if you have tricky relationships in your life right now. Remember, you are not alone.

Let’s #DoTheThing.

My challenge for you this week:

Stop, smile and say hello to a senior citizen in your neighborhood. Slow down and make contact with the people in your everyday life that tend to pass you by.

Share it with me, privately or publicly, by snapping a photo of you doing the thing and tag @thesimplifiers on Instagram for added accountability and support!

Links, books and apps mentioned:

Spike’s venue: Tiny T Ranch in Garfield, Texas

Book: An unknown woman by Alice Kohler

App: Insight timer

Favorite quotes from this episode:

[10:25] “History is going to repeat. I think we know that’s true, but it’s like you have to wake up to that first in order to reprogram yourself.” – Spike

[11:35] “You start to get to a point in your life where you go, well, hang on. Why do I believe that? And is that serving me still?” – Mary

[12:20] “First you have to acknowledge and accept, yes, I was victimized when somebody hurts you and when they do so intentionally or even unintentionally, yes, you’re a victim. Now, once you have that information, if you can understand that there are tools and help available to move away from that, but I think too many people try to rush that process and say, well, it’s your fault or you got into it.” – Spike

[13:45] “Bob’s with me, I carry him. I carry his ashes with me, some of his ashes in a little locket.” – Spike

[22:29] “[Bob] worked with so many animals as a farmer. He knew how to, not to break animals, but to gently lure them into a place of feeling true safety. And I think that’s what he did with me.” – Spike

[17:49] “It just makes my heart sing when I think of just the universe just delivering this delightful man to you that’s like, I can help you run this ranch.” – Mary

[29:09] “That breakfast table to this day, when I go and sit at it, I just talk to him. I say hey pop, and I think of all those mornings where he just loved me back to health.” – Spike

[31:47] “When he was about to turn 89, I invited people to send him a birthday cards and he got nearly 200 cards from around the world.” – Spike

[34:22] “You cannot change other people. You cannot, even though Bob loved me back to a place of health that, that doesn’t hold true for everybody.” – Spike

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About Spike:

Spike Gillespie is a journalist, blogger, author, writing teacher, wedding & funeral officiant, rancher, venue owner, animal rescuer, dedicated meditator, domestic abuse survivor, and avid knitter. She was voted Best Writer in Austin 2006, and Best Memoirist/NonFiction Writer in Austin in 2016 and 2017 by Austin Chronicle Readers.

Her work has appeared in NYT Magazine, NYT, Smithsonian, National Geographic Traveler, Real Simple, GQ, The Christian Science Monitor and may other publications. She is a former columnist for The Dallas Morning News. She is the author of nine books, most recently The Tao of Bob, a book about her life with an unexpected roommate – an 87-year-old Indiana farmer who moved to the ranch, rocked her world, rescued her from an abusive relationship, and taught her the true meaning of unconditional love.

Where Spike hangs out online:

Website: TaoOfBob.com

Instagram: @spike.gillespie

Follow on Facebook: @spikegillespie

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