*By vegans, I mean some (a minority) of vegans. Yes I am making a sweeping generalisation, but in all honestly I thought it would grab the most attention, I feel what I have to say is important and needs to be reached far and wide, so please – read on.
3 years ago, almost to the day – I made a spur of the moment, cold-turkey decision to go vegetarian. I had my very last quarter chicken and chips from Red Rooster the night before, not even knowing it would be the last time I would voluntarily eat a baked bird again.
The catalyst was watching a movie called Earthlings – and what was burnt into my retainers that day, 3 years ago, I still carry deep within my soul and will take some time for me to heal this hurt, but I’m working on it!
After seeing this film, I was angry. I was so pissed off with myself, with the human race, with what we had become, with what we were consciously inflicting on other life just in the name of profit, made me so filled with deceit, betrayal and heart ache. I was ashamed to be a homo-sapien. Since then, across my social media outlets, in my peer group I found I attracted the debate, the taboo topic that was vegetarian and veganism. Since then I had been a loud, proud vegetarian, quick to share links of tortured animals on Facebook, online petitions to sign to save certain species and participated in hot debate on the topics of animal cruelty, plant based diets and animal exploitation on social and mainstream media platforms, always quick to defend the cause, and belittle the ones who didn’t agree. At the core of it was that I always carried such loathing for my own race, in hindsight, was not a healthy way to live. I was not setting a good example.
I found myself carrying an agressive, hateful, and, now that I reflect back on it – a bit of a “I’m more evolved than you” attitude towards others and it wasn’t until maybe a few months ago (most likely coinciding with me learning more about myself, my spirituality and becoming more ‘me’) that I found myself on a vegan activist page on Facebook, where they had written a status about the Dalai Lama and how he wasn’t even fully vegan and that they read or saw somewhere he ate some meat dishes occasionally and that he was a hypocrite and they lost all faith in him because if he really practiced what he preached -with regards to practicing compassion and love, that he should be completely vegan etc etc.
As I read through the hateful comments, something in me clicked. I thought, hang on a minute – I don’t belong here. This is not what veganism is about to me. YES – veganism is a movement that is about bringing the atrocities that humans fall prey to into the light, it’s about being a voice for the voiceless and standing up for what feels right within your core. I get it. I honestly do. Of course I don’t want any sentient being being murdered, skinned alive, electrocuted in the anus to a slow, painful death (yes, that really happens TODAY) purely for our own greed and satisfactions, but what I have come to learn is that in order to REALLY ‘sell’ this way of living, we must do it from a place of love, not hate.
For example, once upon a time this would have been my argument:
Direct from that hateful place; my EGO talking:
If you are not vegan, you do not really love animals. You are contributing to corporate greed, feeding government agenda, poisoning your body and limiting its spiritual potential, destroying the planet and its resources, murdering innocent lives purely for your own pleasure, supporting animal slavery, torture and mistreatment in the masses, contributing to ecological disasters, creating disease within your bodies (etc etc). You, on average, consume over 200 animals PER YEAR – which in a lifetime (say of 65 years) is 13 000 lives you have taken, all in the name of “yum!” Blood is on your hands, it’s time to wake up; evolve; be accountable; be the change. Stop eating the flesh of other animals, your disgusting and I am ashamed to call myself human.
Then I would include something like this clip for you to watch: (please do so if you dare!)
So, how did that make you feel? Like I was talking down to you? What emotions did you feel? anger? guilt? shame? pissed off? at me, at you? Does it make you want to look more into veganism, or just crawl into a little shell and burry those feelings over a big mac, never to want to expose yourself to anything like that, again? oh, AND maybe you now hate all vegans, because they are bullies? Or, you might hate all humans because they are so senseless.
YES, it has impact. Yes, sometimes that’s enough to make someone have that “a-ha!” moment. But what I now see is that even though I might have guilted someone into feeling bad enough to stop eating meat, I’ve hurt their soul. Like I hurt mine. I have made them feel ashamed, and carrying that burden, the weight of the world on your shoulders doesn’t make you any healthier, wiser or more evolved. Hate just makes you unhappy, it holds you back.
Now, on the other side of the spectrum – coming from a place of absolute LOVE of vegetarian and veganism, I would prefer you see it like this, direct from my HEART:
Since reducing my meat and dairy intake, I cannot express how profoundly my life has changed. Initially, It was a challenge. I had to relearn how to eat. I was a meat and carb for every meal kinda gal. It taught me to go back to basics, and really look into my nutritional intake, my impact on the planet and helped me to realign with my beliefs. I feel like the best version of myself, without a word of a lie, like a fog has lifted from my mind and I can see things much more consciously. It’s like I woke up. I’m happier, healthier – I’ve lost over 10kgs, my skin tone is much more even and I have healed myself of a few health issues, I have more energy, my moods are much more stable and I feel so much more connected to the earth and truly feel like I am making a positive difference to my life, and the planet.
I’m so excited to share this with my own children and to reinforce their love of all animals by not having to expose them to the disconnections that the corporations have created towards animal consumption. Embracing a plant-based diet has enabled me to thrive in all aspects of my life, it’s inspired me to become more health conscious and to embrace what it really means to be a human – I truly believe the human race is here to be the guardians of all other life – the plants, the animals, the ocean, the land. All of it is not ours to own, but is ours to protect. I am so proud of myself for being the change I wish to see in the world.
and then I would ask you to look at this beautiful clip (and yes, I just watched it and my eyes filled up with happy tears…reminds me I am alive and I have a choice!)
thanks to Edgar’s Mission for the beautiful clip and image, and all the amazing, selfless, positive, life changing work you do.
So – how did that make you feel? do you want to be like me, feel how I feel? Does it inspire you to improve on your current habits, or to learn more about plant-based diets?
Whilst I do think most vegans have the purest of intentions, and also have extremely open hearts – I do think some get a little bit lost in the cause. For me, I feel that simply by exposing myself to the truth ( through the graphic imagery; the heartbreaking articles or soul-destroying real footage) It gave me that initial push to DO SOMETHING. Now, I feel my energy will be more effective by inspiring fellow humans through my own positive story, through my own physical, mental and spiritual growth, journey and increased wellness and to spread more love, to attract more love in return. To heal from within my own self, to then help heal others as a bi-product.
For example, instead of dragging myself into debates about what the Dalai Lama eats for breakfast, I’ve shifted my focus more on being uplifted and inspired by other amazing vegetarians and vegans who don’t preach, who don’t judge – who just live their truth, and are thriving!
For example, one of my favourite vegan foodies Adele @ VegieHead creates amazing plant-based recipes, e-books and workshops and she is just seriously one of the most beautiful people, inside and out. She never bullies anyone into her way of living; but is inspiring people in droves because she shines so bright, that we are all like beautiful bugs to her flame! Now THAT’S how you get others to go vegan!
And closer to home, a fellow soul-sister of mine – Nadine @ Nadine Lee Nutrition recently wrote about how she broke her strict veganism to honour what her intuition was telling her about what her body needed (at a cellular level!); I applaud her honestly, integrity and sheer love for herself – Nadine is also beautiful, inside and out – and it’s her vulnerability and courage to share things like that with the world that makes me see just how beautiful plant-based living can be!
Love feeds love, hate feeds hate – so I’m done with manifesting that negative stuff in my life (which did keep happening whilst I continued to harbour the hate for people who oppress other lives) and ready to embrace the love whole-heartedly, and will make more conscious choices when it comes to HOW I share my discoveries, personal views and journey with my peers.
Don’t get me wrong – I think its super important to see whats real – the good, the bad and the ugly. I am thankful for what I have been exposed to. I do think it’s important to truly feel those negative feelings in order to make a positive change for yourself. You have to see the extremes to know where you sit on the scale, to help you to understand the full spectrum of options out there. Whilst there is need for the extremist herbivores, as well as the extremist carnivores; I hope that the majority begin to FEEL more and to ask themselves where they think they truly sit on this scale, and to reflect on where you are now and ask yourself if that sits right with your core feelings. That’s how it can all shift for you.
Everyone is on their own journey, so its naive of us all to think that the ONE solution to the world’s problems is veganism – yes, I agree to an extent that a huge shift needs to occur, and I do feel this shift will eventually come and one day we will look back at how we treated our planet and feel the darkness of that time – but in order to help the shift happen faster, more effectively and be one with a foundation of LOVE – it’s now important for me to leave those old feelings of hurt behind, and start to love myself and humanity again.
After all, it’s us who can make the difference, so instead of all fighting each other – we need to recognise that we are ONE, and that the one REAL solution to all this is to get to know ourselves better and work from the inside, out.
(can you tell I have watched about 10 spirituality based documentaries in the last 4 days?!?!)
Love, light & plant-based lovin’
Oh, and must leave you with this happy chap – now isn’t that the life?!