I choose to support non-violence. I choose kindness and compassion. I believe in the power of healing, love, and open-communication. I value kindness towards myself, others, and creation. I wish to create peace within myself and to share that peace with others. I hope to cultivate kindness and understanding in all my relationships, including relationships with nature.
For me, choosing to eat a vegan diet is just about that: non-violence. It’s about taking the mistreatment, abuse, and neglect that the animals experience and actively and intentionally choosing not to participate. It’s a stance that makes a difference; one that starts conversations and piques curiosity. Most importantly, it promotes compassion. Compassion, kindness, and non-violence are interrelated and they all beckon engaged, active responses.
I began writing the above litany after the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. It’s just one of the small ways I’m still processing all that has happened and continues to happen as a result of the shooting. Ultimately, my hope is that this horrific occasion and others like it will awaken an awareness of how connected we truly are with one another and creation. May it open an access to mental health resources in general–not because those who are diagnosed with a mental illness shouldn’t have access to weapons–but because funding for mental health programs has been significantly reduced in the last 20 years. May it engender a sense of responsibility to one another, awaken a call to action, and instill a promise of hope for a more supported future.
I invite you to take a stand today in support of non-violence (or even less-violence). Choose your words so they are free of hurt, judgment, spite, and offense. Consider going out of your way to include someone you normally wouldn’t. Turn off the violent TV show–or just turn off the TV or your favorite electronic device period. Write a love letter to someone. Visit the sick or imprisoned. Feed the hungry. Do whatever it is that works for you to continue the movement of non-violence–and please, begin or continue this work today. Your effort is vital to promote the kind of healing that is needed. As we strive to live our lives with more peace and kindness, may we witness life around us embodied with the same gentleness and respect. May we be awake to the peace that lies within. May we access that peace when interacting with one another and may all these things be so. Amen.