As a follow up to Documentary Friday (my personal quiet protest to Black Friday) we have arrived at Saturday morning. The air is crisp and Firefly (which I went to sleep to late last night) awakened me at around 6:30. Coffee is hot, Handel is keeping me company and I'm planning my day around simple pleasures and inner focus.
My yoga studio has a new Saturday morning class at 11:30 called Saturday Morning Mix. I have been doing Intro to Ashtanga exclusively for a couple of months now (and will probably be continuing that for some time as I am nowhere near ready to "graduate" into a higher level class yet) so this will be a nice change for the day.
Then I have to make my way to the thrift shop to get some big, colorful pillows for my personal alter/work space, possibly food supply shop (although this is going to be made difficult due to the fact that there is a home football game in this town today). On home football Saturdays one is best to stick to the outskirts and plan according to kickoff and ending time. Today is particularly disruptive because kickoff is at 4:00 rather than Noon. The coop and farmer's market are downtown (right in the middle of the traffic mess) as is the best wholesale ethnic market...
But, I digress.... I do that a lot I guess.
After an emotional meeting with my soul yesterday I am moved to renew my commitment to a mostly vegan lifestyle. Now, I realize that many people feel that to not "go all the way" is a cop out. I am not one of those people. I don't believe that the key to change is through bullying or judgment and what I do makes sense to and for me, my true heritage and the lifestyle that I am able to lead due to my location. My soul is right with it and so I have lived it and now intend to live it again.
I define myself as an ~ "extremely selective carnivore" ~ as an ESC I will consume animal meat and some dairy products in certain instances. Those instances are either that Sam has killed the animal or that a farmer, one I know, have been to his farm and witnessed his animals, has done so or the product I am consuming comes from the same circumstances (such as eggs or goat cheese). This means I have chosen very limited options as to when I will eat animals or products made from their bodies like milk, cheese, eggs.
What I have drifted back into over the years is consuming dairy products and even some "organic" meat purchased through the grocer. True Fact: the term "organic" in relation to animal products has nothing to do with the treatment of or living conditions of the animal - it only guarantees that the animal is consuming organic feed. See Huff Post Article here.
Further, there have been times (in the last year especially) that I have eaten meat because I have just been so tired of trying to avoid it. So tired of explaining myself or going out of my way to NOT eat or being the reason for the inevitable conversation that ensues. Let me clarify that I have never been an "in your face" vegetarian or any form of the same. I do my thing quietly. If there aren't open veg options I eat some greens at a function. I am pretty adept at making it appear that I'm eating enough so as to not raise eyebrows or snickers.
But there are instances (and most of them hinge on particular people) where the shit storm of questions and veiled berating can't be avoided. It is a lame excuse to say I was just so fucking tired of defending myself for something I didn't even bring up as an issue but that is how it has been. The obvious point is that one should avoid having relationships with assholes of any sort and I am doing that too but I am just trying to work through where my head has been.
My reasons for going veg in the first place had nothing to do with nutrition, weight loss or even health. I have never denied that my focus was always the fact that I believed animals are beings just like us and it hurt me to think of them hurting, suffering, dying. More than it hurt me to think of people doing the same, although that is a completely different post I guess. LOL. So, on Simply Saturday I go back to that original intent.
During a recent group meditative exercise I had an unexpected visitor. An elephant. I have included the picture to the left in this post because it helps explain the experience.
As I began to go deeper into the exercise, my inner vision flowed from my upper left in a diagonal motion toward my bottom right field of "sight". Gentle colors came in ripples, all muted and slow and eventually a sort of wrinkling appeared. And then the slow blinking of an elephant's eye, pretty similar to the picture here, only that the elephant was facing me more "head on" and I could actually envision the upper part of the trunk as well.
The elephant blinked silently, slowly, over and over and I had the feeling that it was kind and old. Then the skin and the wrinkles and the eye slowly transformed into a partial face (same view) of a Crone and she smiled kindly. Then back to the elephant and back again.
Ever since the exercise I have been seeing elephants. Damn near everywhere. They will pop up in advertisements, as stuffed animals I pass in baby buggies on the trail. Some crazy lady handed me a flyer for a "white elephant sale" while we were in New Orleans recently. I opened a catalog yesterday that came in the mail to a random page and there hung an elephant pendant. We went to Florida to visit my mom and out of the blue she suggested we go to the Manatee rescue park where I learned that the closest animal link to the manatee is...the elephant.
So, the elephant wants to get to know me and me to know it I would say. I have learned that elephants are symbols of power and strength and that they can represent the three fold feminine aspect of ourselves. I have learned that elephants can deliver the message of our ability to deal with obstacles and that they can represent sovereignty, stability, and stead-fastness. Elephants can attest to gentleness and telepathic skill. They remind us to never forget.
I'm excited to speak with this animal further and to explore what it has to say and the connection to the Crone who visited me with it.
As Samhain approached this year several things changed in my life.
These things made me question my place with the creatures most important to me and left me uneasy. I may discuss them specifically at some point but this post is about making lemonade, not making squishy faces due to being handed lemons.
Through a chain of events that I can only say were magical, I ended up in a conversation with a dear friend of mine who told me she had been volunteering at the local animal shelter. I used to foster for the same shelter years ago. I work with them in my professional life on some of the events they coordinate in our facilities. And I always mean to go out to the shelter.... But, I never seem to get there. I contribute to the cause, I have a membership and each year give a monetary gift but my love of caring for animals seems to get lost in the shuffle of life.
So when my girlfriend said she was volunteering I made a commitment to her to be there....on the most sacred day of my year.
To me it was a little like volunteering at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving. I just wanted to put myself aside and look into the eyes of animals that would never (or never again) know fear or abuse or neglect. And wow did I get some puppy and kitten kisses that day! LOL.
It made my day happy. I haven't been so happy scraping litter boxes since I worked at a vet's clinic LOL. It made me remember how unabashed animals are. About everything! Puppies and kittens are THE experts in the phrase "just be"....
The crazy old cat lady that was supervising us gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek when we left and I came away feeling quite blessed. It surprised me. I mean, I expected to do good work and I obviously LOVE animals but as I figured it would be (and as most multiple animals spaces are) it was chaotic and a bit too cluttered for my own minimalist tastes LOL. So, I have to fight the urge to "fix" stuff. I'm a "fixer" in my professional life AND in life in general. Not a caregiver. A fixer. A fixer is more precise. Less touchy-feely. More clinical. As a side note/example I had worked at the vet clinic for a week before I organized all the blankets, asked if I could get new storage bins for the dog food (because the ones they had were cracked and then duct taped) and indicated to my locker mate that, er, your shit should not flow into my side of this cramped space....
My point being that I had to let go and just "do" the tasks I was there to do. And it was actually in the kitten room that I lost my heart. I dropped it somewhere near the little grey and white guy with the big green eyes. The purring, the gentle swatting, the fuzzy little bundles of nothing but pure bliss....
Everything is not perfect. Life does not go according to plan. But, puppies and kittens will always warm the heart of a good witch.