Archive for the ‘Animal Welfare’ Category

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Veganism – a step towards a more compassionate world

December 11, 2012

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The human race in the 21st century seems to pride itself on its sophistication and civilisation. My belief is that we’re far from civilised and are, as Bill Hicks pointed out, only half-evolved:

 Folks, it’s time to evolve. That’s why we’re troubled. You know why our institutions are failing us, the church, the state, everything’s failing? It’s because, um – they’re no longer relevant. We’re supposed to keep evolving. Evolution did not end with us growing opposable thumbs. You do know that, right? There’s another 90 percent of our brains that we have to illuminate.

In the same way that we can now sneer at our ancestors for believing the sun was a god and that the earth was flat, and express horror at the fact that kids were hanged for stealing apples and women were burned as witches for being different, so our descendants will deride us for our primitive behaviours. Fighting over territory, satisfying lusts for sex, blood and power – behaviours which are occurring, albeit in small and often petty ways  on a daily basis in each of our own little worlds, not just on a global level. We may be able to walk on two legs, communicate using a complex language system and create some amazing stuff, but underneath all that we’re still just driven by base animal instincts and ruled by those lower chakras.

 So how is this relevant to veganism? Here are some quotes from people far more eminent than myself who articulate this far better than I ever could:

 * “For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” Pythagoras, mathematician

 * “The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.” Leonardo da Vinci, artist and scientist

 * “To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man. For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal. But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse. If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous. And that is the unpardonable crime.” Romain Rolland, author, Nobel Prize 1915

 * “If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth — beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals — would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?” George Bernard Shaw, playwright, Nobel Prize 1925

 * “What is it that should trace the insuperable line? …The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?” Jeremy Bentham, philosopher

 * “In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they’re the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought.” Isaac Bashevis Singer, author, Nobel Prize 1978

 * “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” “To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.” Mahatma Gandhi, statesman and philosopher

 And finally, my original point summed up beautifully:

 * “Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” Thomas Edison, inventor

 The reason I feel there is a connection between the way we treat animals and our evolution is this. For many years I was a very strict vegetarian, then briefly I lapsed – not a lot, but enough. And with hindsight I can see that the reason I had this lapse and lost sight of the truth for a short while was because I was temporarily ‘asleep’  due to being in a very dark place in my life, and therefore living through my ego, my life ruled by fear rather than love. As I reawakened, opened up my higher chakras, and rediscovered my authentic self, I found myself naturally drawn to total vegetarianism again and the final turning point came when I stumbled upon a video online similar to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeJfY5CXTM0

The actual video I watched, which is no longer available, was entitled ‘If you eat meat, you can watch this’. Now, I am one of those highly sensitive types who can’t bear to witness violence of any kind, so I tend to avoid this kind of thing as I know it will literally haunt me for the rest of my life. But I thought the challenge was fair enough, so I forced myself to watch it (though I had to have the sound turned down, and keep scrolling up and down). What I saw was so horrific that it was enough to convince me that I would never touch any meat product again. It seems abhorrent to me that an animal should suffer such a terrifying and violent death – and in many cases, an entire lifetime of suffering –  just so that a human can eat a meal which he or she probably doesn’t even appreciate that much anyway. When you grab a burger in your lunch break, your only concern is to satisfy your temporary hunger, and then it’s forgotten about. Yet in order for you to eat that meal, a sentient being gave his or her life. I could never again eat something knowing that in its original form, this food was a creature who lived a miserable existence treated as a commodity and spent his/her last few moments on Earth shocked, frightened and in pain. (And on a purely energetic level, is this really the kind of energy you want to be ingesting?)

I’ve since extended this to all animal products, having researched more on dairy and egg production and been horrified at what I found. I also no longer use cosmetics, toiletries or cleaning products which use substances such as glycerin taken from animals, or any product which is tested on animals. This also extends to my clothing, shoes, bags and any other object I purchase. Becoming vegan has been a really exciting life choice for me (and it IS a lifestyle choice, not just a diet) and is the only logical step for anyone wanting to lead a compassionate and ethical lifestyle. Plus, the food is yummy – since becoming vegan I’ve eaten a wider range of delicious and healthy foods than I ever have in my life – and I’ve really surprised myself with my cooking skills!

 As you cut through the swathes of negative conditioning and beliefs which have masked your authentic self, achieving inner simplicity and enjoying the fulfilment, harmony and serenity which come from opening up your higher chakras and finding meaning in your life, you will probably also find yourself gravitating towards a cleaner, purer and more ethical diet in other ways. As well as becoming vegan, you will probably find yourself naturally rejecting such things as nicotine, excess alcohol, recreational drugs, too much sugar, salt and caffeine and processed foods. Most addictions to these substances are due to a lack of meaning in your life, so it makes sense that an improvement in your emotional, psychological and spiritual wellbeing will result in these habits naturally falling away. Where the mind and spirit go, so shall the body follow.

If you are interested in committing to a compassionate lifestyle and becoming vegan then there are now many great resources on the internet  – type ‘vegan starter pack’  into your search engine and you will find loads of interesting material to get you started.

I can also highly recommend Liz Cook’s book ‘So what do you eat?’  for some fabulous vegan recipes. They’re really simple and yummy and the book is beautifully illustrated, and it’s a great introduction to vegan cooking. It really helped me and my family to make the transition.Check it out here.

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How I’m trying to change the world

March 26, 2012

So far I’ve shared with you the story of my awakening and the transformational process which followed.  In this post I’m just going to briefly share with you the causes I support and the little bit that I do to try and make a difference to the world.

My main reason for running this site and Facebook page and writing my blog is to promote empathy and equality and help others to find inner peace. I believe in equality for all regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality or species and I think the way to achieve this is through increased empathy and compassion for others. Empathy and compassion increase in people who are content within themselves and are in touch with their authentic selves, having healed their emotional baggage. The flip side of empathy and compassion are injustice and abuse, and I do my best through my internet communication to promote the former and counteract the latter.

I am particularly concerned about the way humans exploit animals and consequently live a vegan lifestyle, which has proved to be a lot easier than I thought it would be. There are many resources out there now for those of us wanting to commit to a completely compassionate lifestyle – just put ‘vegan’ into your search engine and see what comes up.

I also support an animal sanctuary with regular monthly donations. I decided that I wanted to give my support to an animal charity but didn’t just want to give money to one of the ‘giants’ – I wanted to support a specific cause and to see what happened to that money. Last year I visited the Animal Sanctuary in Wilmslow and was really bowled over by the warmth and compassion I felt as we were shown round. The animals are so well cared for and all the staff clearly love what they do. I also like their ethos –  the sanctuary is part of the Humane Education Society,  a charitable organisation working for a more compassionate society through education and practical work with children and animals, and as such offers permanent and temporary homes to animals in need of some loving care, including cats, horses, hens, rabbits, ferrets and pigs.

However, probably the biggest way I’m currently doing my bit to change the world is through my work with young people as this is actively working with the next generation to prompt lasting and positive change. I decided to offer Empathic Guidance sessions to schoolchildren after discussions with my daughter and her friends about many of the usual issues which affect young people such as bullying, body image and sexuality. The support and guidance which I gave them seemed to make a huge difference to their self-esteem and what I found particularly heartening was the fact that the coping techniques which they learned soon became second nature to them. This resulted in a positive increase in their intrinsic self-worth and in their ability to deal with difficult situations and ultimately (and delightfully),  in significantly happier children.

I strongly believe that it really doesn’t matter how gifted and talented or academically successful someone is – if their emotional well-being has been eroded and consequently their  core sense of self is significantly diminished then chances are they’ll end up leading dysfunctional lives. I also feel that the emotional well-being of our young people isn’t given enough attention within our current educational system, so I thought it might be a positive contribution to our society to offer a service which might redress the balance a little.

A school Empathic Guidance session offers support, insight and guidance to the pupils  and is  a safe place for them to share any issues which they feel they cannot discuss with parents, teachers or peers. I began a year ago working on a one-to-one basis but am now working with Panda, the school’s youth worker, on group workshops covering topics such as assertiveness and confidence-building.

My dream is that Empathic Guidance will prove popular enough for us to offer sessions and workshops to other schools and that eventually emotional well-being will be recognised as an important part of our children’s upbringing and education.

Finally, like the famous Gandhi saying, I do believe that we should ‘be the change we want to see in the world’. So as well as the above, I do my best to be pleasant, amiable and polite to everyone I meet during the course of the day – little things like saying please and thank you  and hello and goodbye to people who serve you in shops, leaving tips in cafes, holding doors open for people can make a huge difference and hopefully has a ripple effect, so that the recipient of the amiable and courteous treatment will then treat the next person they encounter in the same way. It’s a really simple way of ‘spreading the joy’ and making a difference.

So that’s a little bit about me and what I do – how are you doing your bit to try and make a positive difference to our world?

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Support The Animal Sanctuary!

September 15, 2011

If you’re ever in Cheshire and you or your loved ones are fond of animals and care about animal welfare, then I would highly recommend a visit to the Animal Sanctuary in Wilmslow.

As part of the Humane Education Society,  a charitable organisation working for a more compassionate society through education and practical work with children and animals, the Sanctuary offers permanent and temporary homes to animals in need of some loving care, including cats, horses, hens, rabbits, ferrets and pigs.

We were shown round the sanctuary by a lovely woman called Jenny (thanks, Jenny!) who is clearly devoted to all the animals and had a tale to tell about each and every one, telling us how they ended up in the sanctuary in the first place and sharing little details about each animal’s individual personality.

All the animals are extremely well cared for and well loved by the staff. Whilst I would love to work in a sanctuary like this,  I think it would break my heart to say goodbye the animals which are rehoused, even though I knew they were going to a good home.*

Not all of the animals are rehoused though, and some – like the pigs Erica and Babe, and Flea, the office cat – remain permanent residents of the sanctuary. It was wonderful to wander around and be followed by little black cats, some hens and a duck – and my partner was particularly taken with Daisy, the resident donkey!

Of course, sanctuaries like this cost money to run and as a charity, the Animal Sanctuary at Wilmslow is reliant on public support. Having spent some time in its wonderful warm and welcoming atmosphere, I can assure you that any donation you give will be money well spent. I’ve personally signed up to make a regular direct debit payment each month and plan on doing some fundraising too.

If you’d like to find out more about the Animal Sanctuary, then please check out their website here.  And do pop in if you’re ever nearby – you will always be guaranteed a warm welcome by both humans and animals alike 🙂 The Sanctuary also welcome group visits so if you run any kind of group which you feel will benefit from a visit the sanctuary, then drop them a line via the website.

*As an empath and HSP, I was bracing myself for the floods of tears I thought I would be reduced to – in the past, I’ve visited other animal rescue units and I’ve ended up sobbing the whole time and left feeling desperate to adopt all the animals. However, the vibes I picked up at the Animal Sanctuary were so loving and compassionate, and the animals were so well-cared for that I left the centre with a warm glow in my heart and a feeling of joy that there were such places in the world (although I did still want to adopt all the animals!). There was only one heartbreaking and tearful moment – we visited a little pony who hadn’t been there long and had been the victim of a cruel former owner. The terror in this little chap’s eyes, despite the gentle reassurance and kindness he was being shown by the staff, was something which will haunt me forever. I do hope that when we visit again, he is much happier and has learned that not all humans are bad.

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