Day 30 – 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Live Vegan

Being a Joyful Vegan in a Non-vegan World

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2feIt’s up to each one of us to reflect our deepest values in our daily choices and in doing so create the healthful, compassionate world we all imagine. If not you, then who? If not now, then when?

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

Day 30 is the end of the book and the end of the challenge. The key message is to keep going. But how do you stay the course in a non-vegan world?

Personally, I am not worried about staying the course. I cannot now imagine myself not living vegan. As it is, I have 46 years of unintentional indifference and conditioned ignorance to make up for.

Sometimes I still find myself suspended in this strange in-between space where older thought patterns compete with new ones; moments when I hold two equally coherent but contradictory thoughts or impressions at once.

brunch-154850_1280The other day I watched someone eating an omelette at a cafe in the sunshine. It held itself there this relaxing, happy Sunday brunch kinda feeling, as I lazily wondered what to do with the day and how the kitchen had got the eggs so light. Yet, right beside it sat this sad anger, a memory of images of birds broken, sick, locked in cages, bodies failing as eggs after eggs after eggs pushed out of their bodies for a few miserable weeks in sheds without grass or sunlight, the stench of ammonia always strong in the air.

penguins-429134_1280The woman eats her eggs enjoying how they taste oblivious to what that pleasure rests upon. The volume of entitlement we feel to use another, to bend and break their bodies for our pleasure, to shorten and take life on a whim for breakfast. Dead birds, dead pigs, dead calves, substances made from breast milk intended for slaughtered babies.

africa-466602_1280I cannot unlearn what I now know of the sentience of others. This goes way beyond mere kindness or compassion and into the realms of morality. What we do to other animals I am starting to understand is immoral. If someone has a central nervous system and can feel pain it is wrong to physically hurt them without a very good reason. If someone is capable of valuing their life or freedom it is wrong to take it from them without a very good reason.

For me the question is how do I live in a non-vegan world with genuine happiness?  How do I continue to find pleasure in the everyday rituals of life, work and community when so much of it rests of the exploitation of others? How do I, as Colleen puts it, be a joyful vegan in a non-vegan world?

girl-340769_1280The advice Colleen gives is valid, but for now I cannot really feel it. I hope this is just part of the process. Maybe I need to create a deliberate practice of being joyful even when I don’t fully feel it. The reason I have hope this can happen is Colleen herself.  She inspires me to find that balance, to hold as she does a full awareness of what is going on, to keep pushing for change against almost overwhelming odds and yet, at least it appears this way to me, to live a genuinely happy, fulfilling life.

4 thoughts on “Day 30 – 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Live Vegan”

  1. I know exactly how you feel. Thought not being a ‘fresh’ vegan, I still sometimes feel lost in this non-vegan world. Since we embarked on our healthy journey that led us to veganism for health reasons, for a while I was more concerned about someone’s health, seeing them eat meat, dairy or eggs. I could sit at the same table with omnivore colleagues and don’t mind the meal on their plates.
    But recently, after seeing only first 15 minutes of ‘Earthlings’ (I just couldn’t watch more, I was literally sobbing) and few videos of Gary Yourofsky, I became ethical vegan as well. And I really find it trying sometimes. Not like I want to turn back, that is not even an option, but how to function ‘normally’ in this animal abusing society. How to spread the vegan word through peace and kindness and not to be an angry, aggressive vegan?
    My husband and I are still working on it. Most of the times we just try to keep it to ourselves, while trying to find a balance. But, knowing how good are we already doing by being vegan always helps! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is tough going sometimes. What I think about is how for 46 years I lived without making the connection. I realise how strong the indoctrination is. Society thinks it is normal to eat other animals. Or, at least normal to eat and abuse some animals. I have had my nephew tell me with genuine horror about the slaughter of dogs in China for their skin and meat, while he was in the middle of eating chicken for dinner.

    When everything and everyone reinforces our behaviour as normal we tend not to question what we are doing. I think being vegan is inherently disruptive to that social norm, which means even without saying anything we are going to be perceived as a problem. Then, whenever we do say something, even the most benign something, we are going to upset people because we are challenging their view of themselves as ‘good’ people. If they acknowledge the truth about eating animals then the only option they have is to stop.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Everything you said is a spot on. Vegans, being out of the norm, even if minding their own business, are challenging the way people perceive life, their eating habits etc. Being vegan, more than ever before, we came to realize how humans tend to act like as a flock of sheep. But I wish to believe that in the future, there will be more ‘black sheep’, who can think for themselves and act accordingly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Colleen calls it ‘being the vegan in the room’. She sees it as being a powerful position to be in. We are disrupting was is normal, a way of relating to the world in a way most people have never thought of before or even seriously considered.

      Culture can take awhile to change, but I believe that the vegan perspective is the way of the future. We will come to realise that other animals are sentient with their own inner emotional lives, attachments and experience pain and suffering in ways that we would if we were treated like farm animals.

      I hope that if we have a future people will look back at us in horror. How could we let this happen?

      I am glad that, even if it is late, I will know that I stopped participating and became ‘the vegan in the room’.

      Liked by 1 person

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