what is it with vegans?
3. Compassion for animals
my vegan journey
Several years ago I was very far from being vegan. I was making coats out of goat and sheep.....
This part of my journey was definitely one of the more unexpected parts. I think this started at the same time I was making fur coats for my final project at university. I watched a film called 'Blackfish'. Blackfish is about the orcas in captivity at SeaWorld. I couldn't believe how badly these animals were being treated, I felt sad for a long time after I watched this and had many dreams about the orcas at SeaWorld. I even questioned whether I was an orca in my previous life....that is far out! I made no link to the suffering of the goats and sheep I was sewing. I made the connection with the fur and the animal, but I didn't make the connection with animal suffering. Blackfish drifted into the back of my mind and the next time I felt touched by animals was when I moved to Canada. I was there doing a ski season....well that turned in a yoga season. I was living in the mountains in Whistler and it was so beautiful. There were bears walking along the same foot paths as us. I saw one of them on my morning run once with such peaceful and such kind eyes. There were also Cougars, that was a more terrifying run....
I walked to work most days and didn't feel scared about the bears (like everyone else). I started to notice how being close to nature evoked feelings of peace and kindness, of wanting to live at one with these amazing creatures. There were lots of vegetarian options over there and everything was so fresh. I became interested in the health benefits of being vegetarian and noticed a good change in my health. I felt much better, lighter and more vibrant. Being vegetarian was great, there was lots of options and even when I came back to the UK it was easy to cook and eat.
Fast forward 2 years to training as a Jivamukti teacher in India. The Jivamukti method has a central belief of compassion for all beings - ALL BEINGS. This was a month long and it was ALL VEGAN. I wondered how I would survive with no chocolate, no pizza for a whole month... Would my body be able to cope? But....it did. In fact, whilst I was in India my skin completely cleared up and I felt great. I met lots of amazing people on plant based diets whilst I was out there and tried to get as much information as possible from them for when I headed home and had to fend for my own vegan self. Well...so far so good.
But....it wasn't just the way I felt physically that lead me to where I am now and more importantly to maintain where I am now. I feel the maintaining factor of this journey is the suffering animals go through. We don't see what happens to animals everyday and as said by Paul McCartney 'If slaughter houses had glass walls, we would never eat meat again.' Animals feel suffering deeply and who is there to relieve this pain? There's not many people :( It's only when I watched a animal truly suffering that I felt a big shift. I knew there were films out there with this content but I never chose to watch them and most people don't, why would you want to watch suffering. The thing is though, this is happening every day... that hamburger was once a really sad cow in the diary industry with it's calf taken away and then all it's milk taken and killed when it was maybe even half alive.
Veganism is a practice and even if you decide to eat veggie for one day, it makes such a huge difference for the animals :)