Nourish relationships and self-care

Empathy works. It always does.

VegaNVC

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One of the assumptions of Nonviolent Communication -as I understand it- is that when we connect to the universal needs underlying our differences, we can find solutions that work for everyone.

I like that. It paints a world in which we all can find happiness, peace, harmony, joy, and love. It speaks of a world of acceptance, understanding, and inclusion.

Do I believe this is possible?

Yeah! Duuh!

Even in the most challenging circumstances of disconnect, distrust, and despair, I’ve always found NVC opens connection with others and support for all needs on the table.

We have a natural tendency towards compassion and comradery, and I think there is nothing more fulfilling than to contribute to the well-being of others (and ourselves!).

I have a sadness about what I perceive to be the missing link: awareness of the needs of those living beings who cannot speak for themselves, such as future generations, those with less resources, and animals. I wished we would include the needs of those not in the dialogue, yet impacted by the outcomes of our solutions. If we brought more awareness to their needs, we probably would make different food-, work-, travel-, and social choices.

I, for one, stopped eating meat and birds when I found myself turning off the shower and making an effort to rescue a spider that was frantically trying not to drown. I was perplexed when I realized that I brought so much care and compassion to this creature, and ate my bacon beef hamburger happily a few hours later. Did I not think that the pig and the cow on my plate had been equally terrified when they were slaughtered for my appetite? Did I not care about the horrendous circumstances of their life and journey to death? How could I go to bed with a clear conscience, knowing I had contributed to suffering in unique creatures, whose names I didn’t even know?

It doesn’t take a genius to understand how much harm and torture we deliver to animals for our consumption. I’m pretty sure YouTube offers vivid footage of the keeping, maiming, and killing of our food. (I watched some years ago, and don’t have the stomach to do so again).

I stopped eating fish after I watched Finding Nemo. I had cried my eyes out over the terror of the fish being hunted down. I realized the cognitive dissonance I was creating by crying over a cartoon and enjoying my raw herring as a snack.

I’m not perfect. I still act in ways that are directly or indirectly harmful to other living beings. I just want to share my passion for compassion for all beings. Please, leave a response, so we can enter into a dialogue how to support all needs.

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You want help to make choices that include the needs of all living beings? Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a complimentary discovery session.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping professionals schedule time for relationships and self-care. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

6 thoughts on “VegaNVC

  1. I must confess that Elisabeth has really had me do some soul searching last night. Introspection is my ally, and I thought long and hard about what she said. To be a true animal lover, you must be vegan. I so agree with that now. I think I always have, but never really allowed myself to accept it due to my taste buds. I spent 14 years of my life going to work out here in Washington and always passing the IBP company. They’re the Tyson meat butchers place over here. The thing I hated most was to see a cattle car drive passed me. I would look over and see the eyes of the cows and would think, “this will be your last night on earth.” I always felt bad about that, and I hated seeing it. I now truly understand the vegan idea, and I totally agree. This is another reason why I love reading these blogs. Important lessons in life can always be learned with an open heart. Thank you both Miss Elly, and Elisabeth. I see the light on this issue and will change.

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    • Gosh, Richard, I feel so touched by your willingness to reflect on yourself and your own motives, and by your ability to connect to what you hold dear in life: compassion for all creatures. I feel impressed by your courage to change your food patterns. It took me years to get there, and even now, I sometimes eat cheese (traveling to my family in the Netherlands this summer will be a new challenge: so many of our traditional dishes include at least some dairy). I am as inspired by your reflections as you are by our posts. Thanks!!!

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  2. Wow, both Miss Elly and Elizabeth made some wonderful points. I remember a conversation I once had with a family member about Animals VS Humans. She said she had no guilt about animals because we are the superior beings. I told her that, “I believe a maggot eating coyote dung has more significance than her or my life.” At least the maggot is contributing to helping mother earth. Gandhi said, “A nation should be judged by the way it treats its animals.” Humans may be the superior force on earth, but I truly believe not the superior being. I’ve learned more about love from animals and any human being. I now feel a bit, or shall I say, a lot guilty about eating meat. Any suggestions on how to go vegan, I think you just convinced me. Thank you both!

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    • What a delight to read that you are inspired enough to figure out how to go vegan. I’ll offer some suggestions in this Friday post. This Wednesday I’m gonna explore the reasons why it may seem hard (and I think we have some good ones). For now, I suggest you find some yummy vegan recipes that have enough protein from different sources. I like the vegan table, she is a practical vegan cook, who makes sure that people who are not used to a vegan diet can enjoy the new dishes. That supports my need for inclusion, belonging, and acceptance. Goodread offers titles of 188 vegan cook books, many of which seem inviting, yummy, and do-able.
      I feel touched by what you wrote about the maggots and humans being maybe more powerful, but not superior. I like that distinction.
      Talk to you soon again!

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  3. Wonderful post Elly! I am so happy that you are spreading the word for widening one’s circle of compassion to include ALL living beings. If a person believes cruelty is wrong, then that person already believes in veganism. Selective compassion doesn’t make any sense. If a person truly values compassion, they would be vegan. The only true “animal lovers” are vegan. There is no difference between your family dog and the pig, chicken, or cow on your plate. Go vegan today, stay vegan forever! It’s easier than you think. NVC is “nonviolent” communication, and VEGANISM is nonviolent living!
    ~ Elizabeth

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    • I love your response! Thanks for sharing your passionate dedication to transform our selective compassion to expansive compassion. I also like your encouragement that veganism is way easier than it might look like. Did you know that one of my blog-fans is inspired enough by our posts to start a vegan diet himself? Isn’t that cool? To expand the circle of people who eat and live with compassion?
      Btw, David and I are offering a one-day workshop on empathy Saturday, June 28. We’ll have a vegan potluck. We ask $70 as an offering to our financial well-being. I would LOVE to welcome you again!!

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