Please welcome our newest Vegan Bloggers Unite! guest blogger, Jen! Jen, is the author of Vegantia, and is passionate about the vegan lifestyle.
Here she is in her own words, “I am Jen, I have recently started writing because It is a way for me to express all I feel about life. I am a Vegan Mother, Wife, Friend and Befriender to people who are living with Young Onset Dementia. These are the roles that define and complete me, they are not separate roles. If someone asked me to describe myself in one word, that word would be…”Vegan” of course. Vegan is Compassion for All life. Compassion is not limited. The Animal Rights Movement is part of, not opposed to the Human Rights movement and I am a Vegan Animal Activist, In my spare time, and privileged to be a human rights activists for those living with a debilitating and misunderstood condition in my paid time. This blog is my attempt to raise awareness, educate and inform about the benefits of a Vegan Lifestyle and the humbling experience that is spending time with people for whom is just one great big challenge. The Compassion I feel means that I spend a lot of time feeling hurt and emotional pain. Writing about this helps me to process these feelings and find a way through so I can be a voice for the voiceless, Non-Human and Human.”
Welcome Jen! Please enjoy her fantastic post below.
THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS (by Wendell Berry)
When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
This poem is very pertinent to me. As may become obvious over time, like a wheel, I go through cycles of highs and lows. This poem helps to energise, inspire and focus me and helps me to feel more optimistic and determined.
As Autumn, the season of enchantment with its magical panorama of oranges, reds and yellows gives way to the bare, still beauty of winter, and nature prepares to hibernate, it is never more obvious to me that we are inextricably linked to our natural world. As the darkness of winter envelopes my part of Mother Earth, I feel my own personal darkness descend as the pain in the World threatens to engulf me.
We are microcosms of the planet. The body is made up of water and matter as is the planet. As we breathe, so does the planet and we are responsible for the breath of the planet. We are energy as is the planet. Our energetic frequencies reverberate into the planet as the planet’s energetic frequencies reverberate into us. With so much pain in the world, I can’t help feeling that the energy we transmit into the universe is negative yet she only imparts positive energy back to us, her guardians.
The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fibre and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.
John Muir, Naturalist (1838 – 1914)
The poem reminds me that nature and all its beauty is a part of me/us and I/we am a part of it. The same life force that animates me/us, animates the natural world in which we live, love and thrive. I am reminded that in every moment we can appreciate the gifts that nature provides. That is the true value of nature and the true value of living in the moment.
Birds singing passionately in the early hours when I am out with my Doggy Companions can lift me away from the treadmill of my negative thoughts. I find it an extravagantly exuberant sound which lifts my spirits and warms my soul and helps me to feel more hopeful and reminds me to just enjoy what I have, what I’m doing, and who I am right now. Just as the bird song edges its’ way out of the darkness, I feel myself leaving my own darkness and depression behind, at least in that moment in the early hours!
Not everything has to have any more a purpose than that I enjoy it and that it can give me a break from the overwhelming sadness I feel at times and remind me that the most joyful things in life cost nothing! This time of the day is when I am peace and reassured; when I truly feel an integral part of the Natural World, joined to a harmonious whole rather than a separate entity. I have always found my solace out in Nature. Growing up, to escape my unhappiness, I would take my dog and walk up a hill where there was an old disused barn where we’d sit and view the world go by and experience silence and tranquillity.
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
John Muir, Naturalist (1838 -1914)
I believe all beings on the planet are structures and are sustained by an influx of matter and energy that starts at the sun and is channelled through plants to us. We are inextricably linked. We all share this space on the planet which helps us to feel connected to each other and the world. Unfortunately Humanity has not been respectful of our place in the natural order and believes it is entitled to subjugate the environment around it. We must reconnect with Mother Earth.
Every human has value, every molecule has value. Nature recognises this and recycles everything and finds a use for it. Humanity can help our relationship with the natural world or completely hinder it by plundering, destroying, killing, hurting and ravaging the our planet. We have guardianship of Our Planet, NOT ownership.
Our connection to Nature is inherent. We need to strive to protect Mother Earth, learn to love her and feel the rewards! By Living as naturally as possible on a plant based diet, I feel so much more at sync with the universe. I have a higher level of awareness and spirituality and I feel total connection to Mother Nature as I try to live in a way so as to preserve the many wonders the world gives us.
By being Vegan we can not only have a more positive effect on our health, but on the health of the world. Being Vegan can nourish us physically, practically and spiritually and, in turn, we can nourish our planet in so many ways as we live in the least invasive way, humbly within all creation, with respect for all beings and leading a way of life which uses the least of Mother Earth’s resources. It offers us a moral baseline for how we conduct ourselves in the world.
Veganism is a complete philosophical view point that is practical in outlook, simple to understand and aspires to the highest environmental and spiritual values. I am sure it holds the key to a future lifestyle for a humane planetary guardianship.
I am pessimistic about the human race because it is too ingenious for it’s own good. Our approach to nature is to beat it into submission. We would stand a better chance for survival if we accommodated ourselves to this planet and viewed it appreciatively instead of sceptically and dictatorially.
EB White (Author ) (1899 – 1995)
I believe that being Vegan enables me to have a higher state of consciousness because universal life flows through everything and I am not consuming the life force, physical and emotional of other beings. Those elements are being absorbed when we eat other beings, and, I believe, must reflect in our bodies; the stress, fear and terror of the slaughterhouse is the last thing these non-human animals know and that must be transmitted through their blood which must, in turn transmit negative energy when we consume the flesh and blood of that being.
Eating a plant based only diet deepens that deep sense of awe, admiration and respect I have towards Mother Earth and all the non-human beings that make her their home. We are one small part of the puzzle that is our world, and to fit in to the rest of the puzzle, we must respect our planet and ALL her inhabitants. We must open our eyes to the beauty that surrounds us and to realise how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things. We have an interconnection and we break the connection every time we hurt, kill and consume another living being.
We ought to celebrate Nature and its ability to co-exist with us Human beings. Unfortunately, it is our intolerance that prevents us from living in harmony with the Natural World. When interests clash with ours, we seek to manage or exterminate. We just can’t help ourselves in our desire, curiosity and greed to seek dominion over every part of our miraculous world of nature.
Take Nothing but Pictures, Leave nothing but Footprints, Kill nothing but time.
We must recognise that we have a disproportionate influence on the natural world around us. We need to understand how important it is that we expend energy in a positive way, trying to understand nature and wildlife, rather than separating ourselves from it. If we do, we may find that we heal not only ourselves, but the planet too.
The natural world is a source of, pleasure, delight, beauty and reassurance. If we get out of kilter with it, we are heading for catastrophe and the associated emotional, spiritual and physical loss would be a disaster. If we all live in a way that seeks to minimise the harm to the naural environment, we will find our true nature in harmony with our environment. By giving ourselves the chance to form a relationship with the natural world, we can learn to recognise that our landscape has its own life and its own spirit. If we respect the natural world we can live in harmony with it and we can live off it.
Our ancestors lived off the land and by the seasons, and each season presented them with new challenges, but they listened to the land and the land gave them what they needed because they were in tune with nature, they were part of it.
Going back to basics means reconnecting with nature, growing our own food and protecting mother earth for us and our children. It means becoming self-sustainable and self-sufficient. We can’t do any of that if we don’t feel part of our natural environment.
We must instill a sense of empathy and responsibility in our children, towards the natural world and all living beings. It is them who will ultimately be left with our legacy of plunder and destruction. Respecting their environment is one of the most important messages we can pass on to future generations. We must encourage them to engage with wildlife, our extraordinary neighbours and be inspired by nature. Our next generation will only protect their planet if they feel part of it and not separate from it. We need to teach them to embrace their circle of compassion to embrace of beings and the whole of nature and its beauty.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.
E B White, Author, Charlotte’s Web
I used to volunteer at an amazing gardening project which supports individuals living with a mental health illness. Projects like these, which are sadly few and far between, are incredibly valuable. Life is stripped back to basics and people can discover a sense of respect and wonder for nature, and experience something different from their normal lives which can be lonely, frustrating and challenging. Gardening allows us to truly reconnect with nature and these projects offer valuable opportunities to learn, grow and increase knowledge, understanding and experience of the natural environment; An environment that gives us a world that has a past and present reality and provides opportunities to exercise and socialise.
Apathy can be starved by a single sunset
This project enables people, who may not generally have these opportunities, to be a part of something wonderful which only serves to build self- worth, a sense of purpose and the realisation that we are part of something much bigger. Being outdoors improves our psychological and physical health whether we are active or passive in our pursuit of enjoying the natural world. Garden colours and scents stimulate the brain. This project allows people to relax and enjoy the outdoors while giving them the chance to work on the land, get back to nature and find out how food is produced. There is something wonderful about going out in the morning, doing a hard day’s work and then actually seeing the results of your labour. That’s a real reward that money can’t buy and extremely confidence boosting. It can help to put problems into perspective
Keep close to Nature’s heart…wash your spirit clean
John Muir, Naturalist
Not so long ago, my husband and I chose to become eternally joined to one another! We were “joined” in a pagan hand fasting ceremony under an apple tree among all the splendour that Mother Earth had to offer! It was amazing! As we exchanged rings, we chose this speech to remind us and our friends and family of our inherent connection to Our Earth.
These rings, a token of your love for one another, will serve as a reminder that all in life is a cycle, all comes to pass and passes away and comes to pass again. May the elements bless these rings; Air for hopes and dreams; Fire for the spark of love; Water for harmony and healing; and Earth for strength.
The circle is the symbol of the sun, the earth and the universe. It is a symbol of wholeness and peace. In the form of a ring, may it stand for you as a symbol of your love for each other, looking inwards and outwards, an embrace that binds without imprisoning, a support that reassures without restricting.
By the exchange of these tokens of your love for one another, so are your lives interlaced. What one experiences, so shall the other; as honesty and love build, so will your bond strenghen and grow.
The circle is a perfect figure, without beginning, without end, with no area of weakness. It is a symbol of the Circle of Life, of death and rebirth. This shall serve as a physical reminder of your vow, and that all things begin and end and begin again. These rings shall serve to remind you that life goes on, that these moments passs. When you are engulfed in anger or in sadness, look to your hand and remember that the wheel turns forever onward, and it is love that turns the wheel.
The symbolism of the circular rings was explained by the great native American leader, Black Elk, who said:
“Everything the power of the worlds does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball and so are the stars. The wind in its greatest power whirls. Birds make their nests in circles…………..The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing and always coming back again to where they were. The life of a man or woman is a circle from childhood to adulthood, and so is everything where power moves.”
These words sum up our connection with Mother Earth. We are part of her, part of nature, part of the ever changing cycle of life. WE MUST STOP DAMAGING HER, STOP PLUNDERING HER RESOURCES AND HURTING HER INHABITANTS. WE NEED TO PROTECT OUR WORLD, GIVE HER TIME TO HEAL AND THEN NURTURE HER SO SHE AND US CAN LIVE AND WORK IN HARMONY. MOTHER EARTH IS OUR LIFE FORCE, WITHOUT HER AND ALL HER GIFTS TO US, WE WILL PERISH.
The forests are the flags of Nature. They appeal to all and awaken inspiring universal feelings. Enter the forest and the boundaries of nations are forgotten. It may be that some immortal pine will be the flag of a united peaceful world.
Enos A Mills, Naturalist, 1870 -1922
This weekend, Go out, be creative, FEEL GROUNDED, explore, plant, pick, taste, observe, listen, take photos and indulge in the wonder that surrounds us, the wonder that is OUR world! Tomorrow , I will be out campaigning for a Compassionate Christmas, and I believe we are going to be blessed with winter sunshine! On Sunday, I will be out in my garden pulling up my last crops of the year; Celeriac, and perhaps I can share a recipe for Celeriac soup over the next posts!
John Muir, talking about the natural environment, once observed
“Every time I bend down to pick something up, I find it is connected to something else.” There is an equivalent “ecology” to our behavior. Everything we do connects to something else; every action touches on the world around us, either close at hand and noticeable, or far away and unperceived, immediate in its effect or distant in time.”
Earths Blessings All x