Being a vegan is not just about food. It’s so much more than that. It’s also not just a lifestyle but a mind-set. To live and not to harm, not to practice ahimsa (non-violence) but to live it. In my case veganism started like with the vast majority of people: no meat and no dairy products in my diet but I was still comfortable wearing leather shoes, leather jackets, using cosmetics tested on animals, sitting on a leather sofa and driving around in a car with leather seats. I was really not giving all these much thought. And I think it’s good so, it’s OK to slowly evolve. We’re all evolving some way or another and that’s just how it should be.
Today I cannot wear leather shoes, nor leather jackets and all that is left of my facial routine is cold pressed organic almond oil or some coconut oil or shea butter. And my skin seems to be deeply grateful for that. I hate that our car has leather seats. It just feels so dead to sit on them. Dead and sad. To know that an innocent animal was killed, her skin pulled off and now I’m sitting on that seat, when I could just as well sit on one covered with fabric.
A couple of days ago, I accidentaly killed a bee. Not killed but I fatally injured her. While I was soaking up the last rays of warm autumn sun, I felt something crawling up my leg and thought it was some fly and wanted to chase it away. But I was obviously too clumsy or just too fast and the poor bee couldn’t fly off of my leg. I accidentally tore off one of her wings and then there she was crawling on my deckchair. I could really, really see how the poor little thing was struggling, wanting to fly off but she couldn’t. I got badly stung as well but at the time, watching the bee suffer, it just didn’t matter. I realized how much I had evolved in the sense of being compassionate and loving to all beings. I didn’t even know it myself until then. I was totally helpless and kept screaming: “Mum, mum”,….. well not that she heard me.
The bee was fatally injured and I didn’t want to prolong her suffering, yet I didn’t want to kill her either. What do I do, what do I do? The question kept running though my head and I knew whatever I did would’ve been wrong and would’ve felt awful.
All misty eyed, I was looking at the little thing and I saw Love, the inherent Love of Life. I saw the zest we all have. The zest for living. To see, to witness the love of life of a bee was not only deeply stirring, it was a life changing experience for me. The only living being I was still able to kill but felt sorry every time I did so was a mosquito. I’m an insominiac anyway, so being kept awake because of mosquitos was really, really bad. But I know, I won’t even be able to kill a mosquito now. Yes, it does make a terrible sound and they keep one awake during the night but it’s not their fault, they don’t do that on purpose. That’s just how they are, they fly around in the night and go zzzzzzzzz. And for being how they are, they cannot be sentenced to death.
I went inside, leaving the bee on her own. And I sat down and the gratitude for being alive, for my loved ones to be alive, the gratitude for life itself felt overwhelming. Maybe the little bee’s premature death was not entirely in vain. I did learn a lesson and I cherish all life even more than I did before. I set up a monument for her inside of me as one of my best teachers so far.
I’d love to hear about you and your own experience of being a vegan, a carnivore, your own experience with life, mosquitos :)….
Hugs to all of you, xoxo,