After I had my second child, in November of 2014, I started to see her in all living creatures. All babies, mainly animals, were my Lois. Maybe it helped that I had decided in 2014 to go vegetarian and my brain was helping me along with some internalisation.
In zen monk Pema Chodron’s book When Things Fall Apart, she calls this bodhichitta. Bodhichitta is a Sanskrit word that means “noble or awakened heart.” It is said to be present in all beings. It is the kinship with the suffering of others, this inability to continue to regard it from afar. This is the discovery of our soft spot.
This sense of my baby in every creature is why I don’t want to participate in eating meat or why I don’t want to participate in using animals for humans’ benefit. So this year I am going vegan. Leading a vegan lifestyle is not that easy or straightforward in a society where the use of animals is so common. Milk is in so much food that it’s ridiculous.
I don’t think it’s going to be easy but it is what I want to do. I will need a lot of preparation and an attitude that doesn’t involve shame. To keep me going I will be focusing on all the ways that stop me from being vegan.
I remember wanting to stop eating meat a few years ago – maybe nine or 10 years ago – and at the mere mention of wanting to stop I would get a craving for meat and I would have it. This was very helpful. I knew that one of the things stopping me from achieving what I wanted was simply my ‘desire’ for it. I would then notice this desire come up and see what happened. Just noticing didn’t ultimately make me stop. Learning about the life that animals bred for meat, face, is what made me stop. I watched innumerable videos on cows being abused, cramped conditions, babies being taken away and slaughtered, the pain of mastitis for cows in the dairy industry and much more about their lives. I finally got to a point where I had been vegetarian for a few months and decided to try a beef burger. I was pregnant so my body and hormones were all over the place.
I started eating the burger and all I could sense was muscles and tendons and a very unpleasant experience. I didn’t have to worry about desiring meat after that.
So this next stage is to pay very close attention to all the things stopping me from being vegan. Some things that stopped me in 2015 were hunger, no options at restaurants, not enough preparation beforehand and in terms of the yarn that I dye and sell, not enough knowledge or access to vegan yarn.
Let’s see what happens next. Here’s to a curious 2016.