I’ve been struggling to find the words to write about this for months, and although I don’t quite feel that I’m there yet I need to open this dialogue and address it. I have been really interested in animal-free and whole foods eating since I was sixteen, and two years or so ago I finally took the plunge and became vegan. This was such an exciting time period for me and I felt so centered and so within my truth for the first few months, and then I started becoming active in the assorted vegan groups on Facebook and things started to change for me.It stopped being exhilarating, empowering, joyful and celebratory and started to feel like the same old group-think I’ve always fought against.
People have their own ideas about what a vegan is and does, and most of us are excited to share this with the world HOWEVER, it stops being sharing when people begin thinking that their path is the only path, and that everyone else needs to change and follow that path. This is not how a healthy, vibrant and empowering community grows, this is how exclusion, cliques and wars start. I’ve had to take a step away from most of the Facebook groups because I get really frustrated with all of the judging and condemning I was experiencing and it was infuriating me to the point that I wanted to give up on living in my truth.
I don’t always see things the same way that other vegans do, and as a result I often call myself a “strict vegetarian” or tell people “I only eat plants” or well, avoid the topic entirely to avoid having to explain why my 16 year old coat which once belonged to my grandmother is made of wool, or why I still wear the leather Doc Martens I bought in 1992.
I suspect that the best route for me is just to continue sharing my joy of cruelty free cooking, eating and living and just refrain from trying to define myself with labels which other people have created. I have known for years that by adopting labels and stories to define who I am I’m really ego identifying rather than celebrating the connectedness of all living things, and even in something as simple as choosing a less cruel life style ego clashes, judgments and battles begin when one person’s (or more than one person’s) egoic identity feels threatened or encroached upon.
I’m really struggling to leave my desire to fit in and be accepted as exactly who I am and how I live behind and just accept myself unconditionally and free of labels. On a spiritual level it makes sense to me to just BE and forget about defining myself as part of a man-made grouping, but my social conditioning bucks against my desire to free myself. I wish I could figure out how to just let go of the mental traps I’ve laid for myself and just fully, 100% embrace The Great I am and stay here.
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
My truth as far as lifestyle goes is quite simple and straight forward:
I believe in living as simply, ethically, beautifully and harmonically as possible. This includes being a cyclist instead of driving, buying most of what I consume used, bulk, or with very little packaging, avoiding animal rights). I believe in education in place of indoctrination, and in progress rather than perfection. I believe in treating my fellow Earthlings (both human and otherwise) with respect and dignity and in learning about our differences rather than attempting to force myself or others into uncomfortable hive-mind situations.and chemical ingredients as best I can (which means I still use my old things which are usable because I believe in waste reduction as strongly as I do in
I believe in walking the middle road in my relationship with the planet and the Universe. I strive to be as non-dualistic as possible, and I often fail miserably, and get back up and try again, and I believe in applying these same principals in all of my relationships.
I think it’s time to increase my meditation practice again, as I feel things birthing within me and meditation will help ease my labor pains.