As a human being I have the gift of free will to make conscious choices. Naturally in consort with this endowment, comes self responsibility for the outcomes my decisions create, whether they be conscious or not. It is not for me to judge another for their preferences. I can be an example, but it would be unloving for me to interfere with your own gift of free will.
As I glance back over half a century of options, there are many ways in which I now see they could have been more loving and truthful. I was simply learning to survive with the restrictive parameters of childhood and an environment that taught me many culturally accepted untruths. I learnt to nurture our furry felines, but stamp on scurrying, scary spiders. My chatty little guinea pigs were pets in England, but the’d be Sunday lunch for kids in Peru. The flock of frisky sheep in my back yard could be gently fed from my hand and yet it was another that ripped apart those innocent lambs to feed the lions share of my family.
To my Hindu friends I shamefully admit, yes, I have killed a sacred cow to satisfy my addictive desire for raw, red flesh, even vying with my cat, for slithers of left-over steak. When a baby calf was waiting to suckle at her mother’s bosom, she was wrenched away from this highly nutritious milk, that I may gulp down a creamy pint of the best. Taught it was a necessity for my developing bones, I now look back and wonder if an abundance of my own mother’s milk would have done the trick. In those early years, eggs were a must. Boiled, poached, scrambled and fried or subtlety disguised in deliciously sweet cookies, cakes and custards. My young eyes and heart were not open to a hen’s wretched cackling plight or to the cute male chicks obsolete life, who pecked their way into a new world order, only to be suffocated or ground alive into pet food for we, ‘the animal lovers’! Although I grew up near a farm, I was never truly sensitive to the hidden exploits of billions of enslaved animals screeching and yelping their suffering and brutal slaughter. Instead I stayed unconscious to the transparency of truth through the collective teachings of my desensitized environment and the blinkered perception of neatly packaged supermarket proteins. This was an inherited existence I chose to continue, despite my erroneous belief that I adored animals, well at least the perceived cuddly kind.
From my early teens I learnt to love the alchemy and creativity of cooking, proud to present a piquant of seasonings and spices with a rainbow of colors and textures to delight the most experienced of palettes. In reality, much of what I prepared and savored was either from, a part of, or a whole sentient being. Bright and beautiful creatures, great and small. There were my favorite blue cheeses and the white creamy chocolates I craved. Mouthwatering filet mignon was a treat and crispy strips of fatty bacon a frequent enticement. A rabbit, a fish, a chicken and snails, all ripped from their freedom and a potential to thrive, forced into submission by an executioners knife, to indulge this ill advised, unconscious child with a plethora of protein too plentiful to absorb.
It was in my twenties that I experimented with being vegetarian, although there were still times when I lapsed and realized my intellectual wish was overruled by the true underlying desires of my heart and taste buds for burnt flesh, mercurial sea creatures and hormonal laden dairy pleasures. Intellectually, being vegetarian allured a false sense of empowerment, to be trendy and haughtily ‘right’, but I know now that even after 30 years of a meatless diet, my soul hadn’t transformed. There were the years I worked in the Soviet Union when being vegetarian was not understood and unattainable. With vegetables a rarity, if I wanted to stay strong and healthy, I’d need to transgress, so months of intermittent diet ensued and my digestion showed uncomfortable confusion! More recently I was dangerously sick and painfully skinny, so when I finally got to breaking point with illness, I made the choice to heal and for a year I ignorantly thought eating anything and everything to support my body’s capacity to not only survive, but thrive, was par for the course. I was oblivious that my unloving choices were decreasing the condition of my soul, which would eventually show itself in my physical body, whether in further dis-ease or emotional turmoil.
At last I awoke from that slumbered error and although my body was beginning to become fluidly robust again, a deeper emotional level within me, knew that if I wanted to authentically and automatically make more loving choices and become even healthier than before, I had to develop the humility and desire to feel absolutely everything; the good, the bad and the ugly….. without judgement, blame or condescension. I needed to look at the emotional causes to my sometimes compulsive decisions, often taken out of fear rather than love and truth.
I’d been a healer and soul coach for many years and as the proverb goes, ‘healer, heal thyself’. Some months before I became debilitated, I’d started to be aware of a simpler, speedier and yet very challenging focus for healing my soul, ie. on a permanent basis. This meant developing a more loving condition in my soul through an emotional experience, addressing the cause, rather than the symptoms of my bodies (physical and spiritual). Before I had time to develop this new perception, pain and weakness overtook me and I dropped down into an abyss of darkness, but a spark of this inspiring inner knowledge stayed alive within the recesses of my hopeful heart.
My stroke of luck, literally a stroke, was like a bolt of lightening, blasting open some of the resistive emotions that now poured through the flood gates and created a new found clarity of the immense journey I was to about embark upon and becoming vegan was only one grain of sand in the great Sahara. I was ready! One purposeful step at a time, trusting the sign posts will help to me know if each choice is sincerely based in Love and Truth or in fear and addiction. Through everything I attract and the barometer of my body, I will know which direction to take and although I may stray, as soon as I make that shift in my soul, on each facet of myself, I will be changed.
First I had a glimmer of desire, born out of a definite wish to improve my soul’s condition. This was my main reason. The bonus is it’s a powerfully preventative way to stay healthy, help the environment and reduce the suffering of animals. I read articles and watched movies about the food industry and it’s broad brushstrokes (there’s a plethora of information on the internet). Everything from the false beliefs I was taught as a child, to the use of antibiotics and hormones on animals, then consumed by us. From the impact on global warming and pollution through deforestation and animal by-products, to the desensitization of human souls who work in factory farming and slaughterhouses. The list goes on and I could go into so many details, but suffice to say, once I started reading, watching and listening to gruesome realities, I sobbed for weeks. Through the depths of lamenting has come some repentance for my personal responsibility in my past actions and a change in me that has released a desire for animal products, replaced by a hearty passion for a raw plant-based diet and plant alternatives.
Many have said it’s so dull and unhealthy to be vegan, but when you experiment with combination, eat fresh, local products, use lots of spices and herbs, balance each meal, it’s delicious and you feel so much more alive and nourished. I went from 24 hour pain, hardly able to take a step or speak coherently, to walking 500 miles of the Camino de Santiago (Spain) I’m healthier, fitter, happier and have less conscious burden from past choices. I didn’t suddenly change, I educated myself into the best combination of foods for my location. Here in Mexico it’s not easy to buy the specialty vegan products available elsewhere, but there’s a vast variety of legumes, tropical fruits, organic veggies, chia, amaranth and so much more.
People insincerely question and quiz me about becoming vegan, which I’m sure is masked in defence of their own choices and judgements. It’s not for me to tell them what to do, but if they genuinely want to know, I’m happy to share. When I became vegan I noticed how I was no longer asked to dinner parties, but what I seem to lose in one area, I’ll gain in another. Often others seem to find it more difficult that I’m vegan than I do.
There are many untrue vegan myths banded about from: you wont have enough protein or calcium, vegan diets make you weak, it’s boring and too difficult, children can’t be vegan, animals won’t survive on plants alone. All untrue! Educate, experiment and experience for yourself. It’s a huge subject so if you have a hint of a desire to know more there are plenty of resources. Of course it is possible to make unhealthy choices and be vegan. eg. a diet of potatoes chips and sweetened drinks, no fruit and veggies, etc.
By the way, in case you’re wondering, yes, there are plenty of vegans in the world: the most powerful animals are herbivores (elephants, gorillas), the strongest man in Germany ‘Popeye’ is vegan, as is ultra marathon runner, Scott Jurek. Brad Pitt, Ellen Degeneres, Alanis Morisette, Will.I.Am, Madonna, the Williams tennis sisters and many more.
For everyone there motivation may be different, but or me, becoming vegan was a soul based, emotional option and process. Once I’d moved through all the fears, educated myself, recognized the detrimental effects my choices had made, gone through a deeply emotional release and felt repentant, I no longer had a desire for animal products. Changing to a plant based diet became easy and automatic. A choice I know will never change.
We humans are the most complex of creations, giving us dominion over all earthly elements. Some would therefore see us as superior beings, who have the right to wield power over another life form, rather than be responsible for living in loving harmony with everything. As I explore my local environment or travel across the globe, it’s obvious the majority of us humans, throughout much of our existence, have chosen the arrogant power game of dominance, with each other and with everything in our environment. We have the ability to develop a more compassionate and caring humanity but first there are eons of erroneous foundations to disassemble, before a stable, sustainable structure can be recreated. Of course, as we dismantle the old, we could be overwhelmed with chaos, whether internal or external and our false fears will want us to avoid anything deemed too extreme by society. This can apply to becoming vegan or to practically any area of our life. Change begins with each of us being that change…..
Discover more truth about our abuse of God’s Creations, the damage it does to them, to ourselves, to our environment. Consider the long term effects on your heart and soul in your choices, rather than the temporary existence of your physical body.
Netflix Documentaries: What the Health, Rotten and Cowspiracy
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Free Vegan Starter Kit
The Vegan Society: (https://www.vegansociety.com)
With Hugs of Love,
Alicia Mary x