DISSOLVING THE SPECIES DIVIDE ONE INSIGHT AT A TIME

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4 keys to heal the world and dissolve the species divide

I changed the world today.

In contemplating the oneness of all of us, I could easily accept my oneness with all … except those who perpetrate hurtful deeds — to me, to other individuals, to other animals. How can I possibly be one with them?!

So I meditated on that question. Then my Aha! Well Duh! moment struck! In order to feel true oneness I must extend to them the 4 keys of healing: Forgiveness, Compassion, Love and Connection. That’s the only way to heal the divide.

For centuries our primary human response to resolving issues has been anger, aggression, hostility and retribution. An eye for an eye. But all that does is serve to instill fear, mistrust and disconnection, from each other, and everyone with whom we share this earth. It solves nothing. It widens the chasm between us. Doom and gloom and pain grow.

So today I chose to break that cycle. I let go of my anger and chose instead to extend Forgiveness, Compassion, Love and Connection to anyone who has ever hurt me, to anyone who has ever abused a person, to anyone who has ever abused an animal, to anyone who has ever exploited another for their own gain, human or otherwise.

I extended Forgiveness, Compassion, Love and Connection to the hunters and poachers, to murderers, to child abusers, to dog kickers, to farmers, to bullies, etc. etc. etc. to EVERYONE! And to myself for any energy I’ve put out that doesn’t foster the connection we all share.

So today I did a little bit to dissolve the divide between us all. Will you join me? Imagine, if everyone did that, how transformative it would be!? I truly feel that it is the only way we have a chance to heal our world and survive. If we replace the aggressive energies with loving energies, the daily atrocities in the world cannot continue and cannot take hold. Harm of another individual isn’t fathomable.

Are you willing to make a change to foster the oneness and healing connection as well? I’d love to hear about it 🙂

With love and peace to all,

Marianne

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Make a difference just by walking into a room

“Well, anyone working to change the axis of the world must be prepared for the fact that her neighbors won’t always be happy.” The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

This is a quote from one of my favourite books. It reminded me about a letter I wrote last year called “Letter to a New Vegan” which I submitted to be published in a new book. Unfortunately, it wasn’t chosen to be included. But now that gives me the freedom to share it in other ways, like here in my blog!

Whether you are a “new vegan”, are considering shifting, or are just curious, I think this letter will be illuminating and thought-provoking.

So here it is…

 

Dear New Vegan,

Congratulations on making the decision to live vegan! I am honoured to have this opportunity to offer my support by sharing my experience.

When I first made the commitment to become vegan, I thought it was all about the food. However, I quickly came to realize I was embarking on a lifestyle transformation. I started to question many of my choices. Was it really just about the food I ate? What about the cosmetics, shampoo and toothpaste I used? Or the products I used to clean my home? What about my clothes and shoes? Basically – where did I draw my boundaries and why specifically there? As time goes on and I experience different things, I find myself continually negotiating my own boundaries. At first I was frustrated by it; I wanted a definitive end-point to reach. Now I embrace it and enjoy the evolution.

There is another aspect of living a vegan lifestyle that I wasn’t prepared for. I had never really heard anyone talk much about it, even now, 11 years into it. So that’s what I want to focus on here with you. That aspect is navigating the social realm.

We become vegan thinking the relationship is purely between us and the animals and environment. But it extends so much further, no matter what your motivation may be. Our choices cause waves throughout nearly all of our relationships. Sometimes it’s a gentle ripple and sometimes it’s a tsunami!

Once it’s known we are vegan, our very presence causes a stir. Sometimes we don’t even have to say a word! And yet you can certainly feel the energy shift.

The experience with newly acquainted people varies every time. At one end of the spectrum it can be a friendly enjoyable exchange with someone being very curious and interested to learn about why you live the way you do. On the ugly end, you find yourself needing to put up a shield against a barrage of downright nasty confrontational spewing of why they think you represent everything that is wrong with the world. Thankfully, it’s not usually at that ugly end.

To be honest, I used to dread meeting new people and the inevitable disclosure that I was vegan. It was quite exhausting. I felt like I was under scrutiny all the time and that I needed to be on guard. Or sometimes it was easiest to go on the offensive. I chalked it up to just being the high price I had to pay to live according to my values within our current culture. It does take inner strength, courage and knowing who you are to stand for what you believe is right.

But it didn’t sit well with me. How could I inspire compassion by yelling at someone, or by withdrawing from interactions with people? I couldn’t. So I decided to delve deeper. I started looking for what was underlying people’s reactions.

As vegans, we represent a rejection of the status quo and the ‘normal’ North American culture and traditions. So our presence naturally puts people in the position to question their own choices. Often this is the first time they are faced with that, which can be quite uncomfortable. Some may embrace this opportunity for self-reflection, while others immediately react in defence.

Once I pinpointed what the root cause was, it changed my experience entirely. I could handle others’ discomfort far more effectively, not taking it personally, and enjoying the process. Even the more challenging exchanges! Now I ask a lot of questions rather than being the only one sharing information. I am genuinely curious to learn each person’s own reasons for why they draw their boundaries where they do. I also enjoy the experience when something I say resonates for someone on a new level. You can see the spark and the shift happen. It is my favourite thing to hear, “I never thought of it that way before!” That is all I need to hear to know I am making a difference.

By living up to my values of freedom and equality for all living beings, I am leading by example, making the world a kinder and gentler place for us all.

And now you are too!

Peace to you and all beings,

Marianne Verigin

 

Animal Rights is Laughable. Human Rights as well for that matter.

Why, you may ask? Because every individual of every species, human or other, possesses an inherent and intrinsic equal value. We all have equal right to exist, to live our lives freely.

Whether we acknowledge it or not does not negate that basic foundational fact. It is not our place to grant, assign, declare or judge another’s worth or value or basic rights. They already exist.

It’s no wonder that we have bought into the concept all of this time. We’ve been conditioned for centuries that someone else decides for us what our and other’s worthiness is. So we look outside for validation – are we smart enough, good looking enough, thin enough? Do we pass muster in someone else’s judgement? Do they approve? We are constantly striving, dancing, jumping through hoops and tying ourselves into pretzels to get that stamp of approval. Now am I good enough?

We do it with other species as well. We share stories of how intelligent, adorable, ingenious, and amazing they are. We try to elevate their value by including them in the dance we all do.

And we create movements and fights for rights of all sorts. But those rights are there, have been there all along. We just don’t all acknowledge them. Why? Because we have bought into the concept that it’s someone out there that gets to decide. And we’ve set up our society around it with our institutions and governing bodies.

But there is a way out of this vicious spiral. There is a solution that doesn’t involve lobbying governments, debating, or convincing. It actually can’t because that just perpetuates the cycle that created the issue in the first place.

It’s a simple solution, in fact.

It starts with me, it starts with you. The answer is for each of us to acknowledge our own full and equal intrinsic right.

When each of us does this with full heart and soul, we naturally stop looking to others for validation, for approval. We don’t need it anymore. We stop buying into the system. It loses its power over us.

AND when we acknowledge our own equal worth and value, we can see and accept others’ equal worth and value. Of every human, of every species. It’s not threatening anymore. It’s not a competition. It becomes and begets collaboration and community.

Can it truly be that simple? Yes! I believe that’s the only way lasting change can happen.

So when I say that I don’t stand for animal rights, I stand for animal equality, it means that I am acknowledging my equal value and see others’ intrinsic equal value, human and other-than-human species alike.

That’s the world I want to live in and help create. Will you join me?

Human purpose: blight or blessing?

“Please don’t kill that insect.”

 “Why not? It’s gross!”

 “He has a right to live too. He has a purpose.”

 “Oh really? What is its purpose?”

 “I’m not sure. But I do know that everyone does. Do you know yours?”

Speechless…

 

I have had that conversation a number of times. It’s a question I take quite seriously, giving it a lot of contemplation – what is the purpose of humans?

Some of us figure out our individual purpose, but do we really know what it is as a species? I bet that most people have never even given it a moment’s thought.

Some days when I feel very discouraged by the state of the world, I think we are a destructive negative force on the earth. A blight. A cancer even, when I feel the worst and hopeless for our future.

Then when I am feeling hopeful I change my mind. I see that we can bring joy, compassion, peace, beauty and harmony to our world.

And the energy that I bring to the world demonstrates it perfectly. When I’m in a negative space, I am acting from fear, anger, jealousy, frustration, sadness and pain. And when that’s my experience, I am acting as a blight, tainting the energy around me.

But when I’m acting from love, compassion, peace, joy and faith, I bring the blessing of that energy to my surroundings.

Our world is at a cusp, a precipice. We have a choice to make – are we going to be a blight or a blessing? Will we continue down the path of destruction and warring and despair? Or will we make a new choice, bringing light to the world through love and peace?

Each one of us affects the collective energy. It is not something happening “out there” to us.

So I invite you to give it some thought too – what energy will you choose to bring to the world?

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My inaugural post!

My inaugural post! Let’s tackle a big one right off the top 😉

We are a funny speciesist lot, us humans. We arbitrarily decide to value one species over another, even one individual over another. That saddens and fascinates me all at the same time. I am always curious to understand why people draw their lines of love where they do. I question and adjust my own lines all the time!

A perfect example of this lately is the public outcry at the tragic roundup and killing of dolphins in Japan. The dolphins are either killed to be eaten or captured and sold into slavery to entertain and/or swim with people. It has sparked an outrage in many many people.  Thankfully!!

I have been observing some attempts to highlight the speciesism at work at the public’s reaction. Things like pointing out that while we get so upset over the dolphins being treated this way virtually countless chickens, cows and pigs are massacred every single day. Many of whom are to be eaten by the very people outraged over the dolphins.

At first I am heartened by these attempts, my first thoughts being “Great! This needs to be pointed out! People need to make that connection!”

But quickly that hope is dashed and replaced with alarm and worry. It’s a backfire waiting to happen! At least in the attempts I have seen.

I see a HUGE gap in the message; a gap that actually causes the message to turn back on itself and discount it.  Yikes!

I want to help bridge that gap.

The Gap

The message taken away is “You have no right to get upset about the dolphins, while all manner of other atrocities are happening to countless other animals all over the globe. Especially if you contribute to any of it.”

By pointing out the speciesism in this way, someone can easily conclude that they are wrong to care about ANY species. They may just accept it because it is done to other species. So not only does that get them to back off of their compassion and concern for the dolphins, it does nothing to heal the species divide, for anyone. It could very well widen it.

The Bridge

“Yes, is outrageous what’s happening to the dolphins! It is good you are upset about it and want it to be stopped.  What can you do in your life to stop such awful things from happening? Have you considered that it is equally horrible what happens to other animals? Could you extend that same level of care and concern to other species who are being exploited all around the world? All other species have their special qualities and deserve to live a life free of human exploitation.”

Start the conversation. Ask questions that will help spark people to ask themselves “Hey yeah.  Why is it that I love the dolphins (or seals, or cats or dogs) so much but am willing to just accept so many other atrocities inflicted upon others?”

Let’s not make people wrong for loving a particular species. Instead, use that as a springboard to close the gap for others! When a person can illuminate the species divide within their own thinking and actions themselves, they can start the process of dissolving it and making a different choice.

What shift can you make today?

I invite people to share their insights – has there been any spark of illumination for you?  Or what questions are you asking yourself?

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Ta-Da!

My new blog is under construction. Come visit soon to see all the insights and well duh’s I will be sharing 🙂

Marianne