In the next several weeks, I'll be discussing intersections between veganism and Paganism. As a long-time vegan, animal rights activist and wildlife rescuer, I believe I can bring a perspective to the discussion that might be helpful to vegans and non-vegans alike. But before I do that, I think it's important to lay some groundwork, and that's what this entry is all about.
First, I'd like you to check in with your body and your emotions right now. Take a breath and ask yourself if reading the last paragraph left your neck, shoulders or any other part of your body feeling tight or tense. Consciously release those muscles. Give 'em some love. Now ask your mind, heart and gut if they've thrown up any defenses to the topic at hand. Acknowledge those defenses, if they exist, and remind yourself that you are ultimately in control of your body, your mind and your words. You don't have to let anything in that you don't want to explore, and you don't have to let anything out that hurts others. Now take another breath. Thanks, and good on ya.
I began with that exercise because many people have strong, negative reactions to veganism, and that's okay. It's a mighty challenging subject. That said, I don't want for this space to be about offense and defense. Yes, I believe in what I'm writing about, and yes, I'll be writing about some challenging things. But I'm first and foremost a fellow traveler on the path, and I'm not here to pass judgement on your plate. I'm also not here to be the recipient of reactionary discourse. So let's be kind to one another around this topic, even when we disagree.
For those of you who plan to comment on this series, there's one other thing I'd like you to do. You might not know this, but vegans are asked the same sorts of questions all the time, so often that there are many articles on the Internet devoted to listing and answering them. So before you ask a 'What about...?' question in the comments, please peruse the fine selection of links below. No disrespect, but I won't be answering those questions here if they should pop up.
Above all, I ask that you hang in there with me while we have this discussion. Pretend you're in my house eating an awesome chocolate chip cookie and drinking the finest tea my prodigious tea cabinet has to offer. Pretend you have strong opinions and I have strong opinions, but we want to keep eating these cookies and drinking this tea because they rock and we want to be friends. Thank you.
Last, but not least, I offer you the beautiful, inspirational and amazing "Vegan Pagan Prayer" written by one of our fellow travelers on the path, Dianne Sylvan. Go read it. You won't be sorry.
I'll see you next month.