No, no, this is not a blog post about my life, nor will I be drawing anything. And it may appear to be another blog post about my love for Youtube — but it’s not that either. It’s a blog post about humanity. What it means to be human, and the common thread that we share.
I selected a handful of videos from Youtube. They are all part of the ‘Draw My Life‘ series (one of the many themes that Youtubers create and tag their videos with). Everyone’s stories and backgrounds are different, but they all had struggles. They also had unexpected twists and turns in their lives, that only the Universe could have planned or predicted. Often their worst experiences are what paved the way for their transformations, leading up to their best experiences. And the one thing that they all share, is their need for connection; their need to matter; their need to be seen and heard; their need to love and feel loved.
When you think of your life, what is your story? How did your suffering and challenging moments bring about a transformation and happier times? How has your life taken unexpected twists and turns? What is most important for you now? Is it making a difference in the lives of others? Is it being seen and heard? Is it feeling loved? Is it connection? Whatever it is, know that you are not alone.
In January of 2014, James Aspey started his journey of not speaking for 365 days. It was in honor of all the abused animals (for lab testing, breeding, etc.) and slaughtered animals (killed unnecessarily for food, religious ceremonies and sport) that don’t have the ability to speak on their own behalf. With compassion & commitment, James achieved his goal of not speaking for a full year — but he wasn’t silent. He spent the entire year spreading a powerful message of awareness & non-violence for the animals that don’t have the same opportunity to do so.
If an animal could talk, what would it say? Would it yell for help when being tortured in laboratories for the testing of products for humans (examples here)? Would it ask repeatedly not to be tied up or crammed into small crates (examples here)? Would it try to convince those who snatch its newborn babies not to take them (examples here)? Would it plead for its freedom when enslaved by breeders for profit (examples here)? Would it beg for its life just before its throat is slit (examples here)? What would you say, if you suffered the plight of these animals? Would you speak out and try to save yourself or those you love?
If we can say we love animals, or love other living beings, or embrace the idea of peace on earth and equal rights — then I think we need to be honest with ourselves; is our exploitation of animals necessary or fair? Or is it cruel, and based on old traditions, food addictions and insensitive actions?
The thoughts I shared above all came to mind, as I was putting this blog post together. And they are part of a thought-wave I’ve shared on Sunday Is For Lovers over the years. You can find similar trains of thought here, and here, and here. I am so grateful for James Aspey, and the year he spent in 2014. And for all of the other animal rights activists (most of them never acknowledged or named, many of them working in secrecy or anonymously for others) that make a difference in the world. Whether they are cheered, seen or ever acknowledged, their every action has a ripple effect. This blog post is one very small example of that effect. So are the millions of people that have changed their lives after becoming more aware. (There are over 7 million vegetarians in the USA alone. Meat-less food alternatives are now a multi-billion dollar industry, because of the demand for vegan & vegetarian options. Each day the number of people that eat this way grows, and the examples of people living healthy & fulfilled lives, without the need to eat animals or animal products, becomes more evident.)
You can get to know James and his work via the videos below. James is very open with his contact information. So if you have any questions for him, you can find him via the links I share in this blog post. Also, his direct email address is listed on his website.
And don’t forget, you have a resource in me as well. If you have any questions on how to transition to a vegan or vegetarian diet, I would love to help you. I have over 25 years of experience (it includes both raw and cooked diets, so I can answer questions and share tips from both perspectives). I’m happy to help you, and it’s absolutely free of charge. You can find me via my contact page.
I was talking with someone recently about how much I resonate with Dr. Gabor Mate‘s views and work. They asked why I would be studying information on addiction, when it didn’t seem as though I struggled with any. According to Dr. Mate, the definition of addiction is “any behavior, substance related or not, that a person finds some temporary pleasure or relief or craving for, but continues with it despite long-term negative consequences.” By that definition, I would call everyone an addict. So in my opinion, everyone should be interested in studying addiction. The way we live for money & pleasure, and will trash our own health, as well as the health of an entire planet; 196.9 million square miles of it; with our addictive & destructive habits, regardless of the consequences — is an example of acute addictive behavior. That being said, the real reason I can listen to someone speak for hours on addiction and the addicts’ mind, is because I’m interested in self-imposed suffering. It’s a topic I have been fascinated with for many years, and with each passing year, I continue to gravitate towards that topic. I believe almost all suffering in the world (in our individual lives, and therefore collectively) is self-imposed, or stems from self-imposed suffering — and that fascinates me. I am interested in the ‘why’. Why would we make ourselves suffer? Anyone that can shed light on that question immediately draws my attention. Therefore, Dr. Gabor Mate is definitely someone I would be keen to listen to.
Dr. Gabor Mate is an expert on addiction. He’s written several books, and speaks on the topic all over the world. If you put his name into a Youtube search, you will get a list of really good videos. Below are just a few. I could discus his views, or my views on addiction or self-imposed suffering, but it’s best for you to listen and hear his views directly from him.
[Today’s blog was originally published in December 2012. But I thought it would be nice to revisit it.]
I came across two quotes that I really liked yesterday and wanted to share. I think it might be a good time for them, because I have been receiving emails about the mass killing that happened in Connecticut, and also, emails about major changes for people personally (death, illness, needing new homes or jobs, money concerns, relationship issues, etc.). My immediate thought about it all, is that nothing (no-thing) can make us happy. When I say happy, I mean totally content, without disharmony, in total peace of mind. Our lives can experience major changes & challenges or seem to not have them at all — and still we can feel like we are in a state of chaos, wishing for things to get better or be different.
Try this list on for size: someone being alive, someone being well, losing weight, gaining muscle, finding a great home, finding a great job, meeting the ideal partner, bonding with a best friend, having lots of money, having lots of love, getting rid of someone, getting rid of some thing, being free everyday to do what you want, absolutely no violence in the world, the perfect family, being a mom or dad, growing your own food in abundance, buying the ultimate summer home, losing all bad habits, being super prolific & productive, radiating flawless health, looking absolutely gorgeous, having no debt at all, blessed with amazing talent, owning acres of land, feeling totally secure & safe, …the list goes on & on, and you can put any words you like into this long list of “I can’t wait for this to happen” or “If I had this, then everything would be much much better.” Ask yourself, would it be? Have you not said this before about other things? Other things that happened for you, changed you for a little while, then the ‘missing’ came back? Also, look at all the people that might already have what you are missing, are they happy or content?
I think we need to go deeper. I think our lives serve as our mirrors. We see a ‘missing’ or something that is eating away at us; a person or situation is causing us stress or disharmony that we can’t wait to change; we think life would be suddenly better if our idea or desire finally happened; etc.. What is beyond all of these things that must happen in order for us to be happy, content, at peace, or feel secure?
Ask the ocean if it would be happier without any waves. It might very well say, yes. But is there a way that the ocean can find peace within a deeper part of itself? A part that is unmoving, unshakable? Is there a place within itself that is relaxed & grounded? Can it not identify with that part of itself more than the surface waves that are only transitory? The ocean is deep, very deep. So are we. If we want stillness, if we want peace, we must learn to dive deep — to anchor in the deepest part of ourselves.
Below are the quotes I promised. Let them sink in, then take responsibility for them. Be fearless. Relax into your deepest self — your unlimited, unconditional, universal self.
“You are who you allow yourself to become. The self is what it allows itself to be. […] The fundamental issue is getting past fears, getting past limiting beliefs, getting beyond habits, and getting to a blossoming of oneself — an allowing.” – R. Waggoner
“Whatever your passion is, it is also your path. And you have to go deeper. It’s not enough just to save the world, you have to also look at what is creating the disharmony in the world within yourself. That is what a death-rebirth experience is. The death is basically the death of what the ego or the mind believes to be important. The rebirth is, being born again into the wider perspective of reality; what it is to be a human being, but not focused on yourself. Focused as part of nature, as part of the wholeness that is nature. […] The longest journey we have to make is from our head to our heart.” – T. Samara
I love Youtube. What I love most about it is, every so often I randomly stumble across a video that feels good to watch and has a lasting impact. It’s usually a video you won’t find on mainstream TV. It might be a long & serious video, or a short & silly one, or maybe somewhere in the middle. I just like the fact that the video is raising awareness and contributing to the consciousness of others. And if the video’s message is delivered in an interesting way — hey, that’s even better.
This week I found Kanwer Singh aka Humble the Poet. He’s a Canadian fellow that is very creative. He raps, designs t-shirt graphics, has a cool sense of style, produces books, makes videos, and last but not least… writes poetry. I wanted to share a few of his videos with you.
Help Humble the Poet reach his birthday goal of 100,000 subscribers. You can find his Youtube channel via this link.
Thanks for your creativity & passion, Kanwer. We know it takes courage & dedication, and we appreciate your hard work. Keep it up!
Tomorrow is my birthday. It’s the one I’ve been waiting for. I turn 40. And I’m very excited & optimistic. So much has happened over the last 4 decades. So much that has pushed & pulled me in various directions. But I feel that I’ve reached a turning point. Where I’m no longer tethered to a past — I’m free to be in the present. This newfound presence feels liberating. I feel childlike. Free to do as I please, and free to be me fully. I’m not sure what sparked this. But I am happy that the flame has been lit.
January 12th is my birthdate. It makes me a Capricorn. Below is a little information about Capricorns I found on Josephine Walls website.
Capricorn: December 22—January 19
Capricorn’s form of half goat, half fish derives from ancient Babylonian mythology, in which Ea, the Sea-Goat and Lord of Wisdom, emerges from his home in the sea to bring civilization and knowledge to mankind. In the zodiac, the placement of the constellation represents high achievement. Steady, purposeful, and long-sighted, Capricorns have a plan for the future and set their sights high. They seek security and certainty, and insist that rules be followed. But don’t let that fool you into thinking Capricorns are all work and no play: they have a lively wit, a dry sense of humor, and that rare combination, creativity coupled with organization.
And not wanting to toot my own horn… (No pun intended.) There are negative traits to Capricorns. I think the description above was trying to be sweet. And since it’s for my birthday — I’ll take it!
I am wishing everyone a fresh start and liberation from their past. Starting tomorrow! I know I am being silly, and birthdays (or born days) are just a concept, along with all the other concepts. But they are fun! And who doesn’t like the feeling of childlike wonder & excitement for what is here or what is to come? It’s fun to play & dream, it’s fun to rejoice & celebrate. It’s a reminder that each day can be special, and each & every one of us deserves to feel special. Please remember that. YOU ARE SPECIAL. And each day is a special gift for you. Celebrate it! :)