Bring your life into balance

Empathy works. It always does.


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Fear and veganism

Fear is being afraid of what’s gonna happen in the future. Fear is never about this moment. Jack Kornfield tells a beautiful story (at least I like it) in The Roots of Buddhist Psychology. A man goes camping. He sees footprints of a bear. He gets scared, because he is afraid he’ll be eaten by the bear. He starts worrying, even though he is fine in the moment. Then he sees the bear and starts running, scared of the anticipated pain he’ll feel, if the bear starts eating him. The bear runs after him, and indeed bites him. What the man feels in that moment is pain, hurt like hell, not fear. There is fear, but that  is not about the bite, it is about being eaten alive and dying. Something that might happen in the future. Fear is about an anticipated moment you dread in the future. Pain and hurt are what you feel as you experience this moment.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Vegan_patties_with_potatoes_and_salad.jpgI dreaded holding on to my vegan diet when I went to the Netherlands. I feared non-belonging, critical questions, ridicule as I was eating differently than everyone else. I was afraid I would roll over into eating cheese, butter-filled cookies, and anything else that might contain eggs or dairy, as I soon as I thought my sense of acceptance, belonging, and understanding would not be met.

None of it happened.

My family and friends easily offered me vegan food or accepted me bringing my own dish so I had enough yummy food to eat. To my big surprise my aunt, who I don’t think ever considered veganism, even made a separate dish that completely supported my choices. My family ate my vegan dishes with joy and delight, even though some of it didn’t turn out as yummy as I had hoped. I felt joyful, enthusiastic and excited to offer my compassionate alternative as an invitation to understand how our own happiness and suffering are not separate from the happiness and suffering of animals. I felt proud to water the seeds of compassion and interbeing in each of my family and friends, and they received it for the acceptance I have for their meat-eating choices.

I have learned that eating vegan isn’t synonymous for exclusion, loneliness, and ridicule. It equals inspiration, integrity, and connection.

Hallelujah.

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You want help to offer your compassionate choices as an invitation to understand the interconnectness of our happiness and suffering? Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a complimentary discovery session.


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Home

I’m back home. In Austin. I said the same thing when I landed in the Netherlands July 12: “I’m back home.” I have two homes. Well, actually, I have many more. Or actually just one.

When I first arrived in Austin in April 2009, I was homesick for the Netherlands, my family and friends, my two cats. For many years.

blue_globeThis time before I flew out to the Netherlands, I had what you might call a little epiphany. I was driving through Texas hill country, enjoying the beauty of nature, the gorgeousness of everything G*d created and is creating, when I realized with a sudden insight “G*d created this piece of Earth, just like She did the Dutch piece of Earth. I am always home in G*d’s Earth, no matter where I am.”

Even though we, humans, establish boundaries, Immigration control, and property lines, Earth knows no such thing. Presence and energy just continuously morph from one manifestation into another. From mountain, into meadow, into river, into ridge, into cliff. There is no sign “Stop here. Go no further. Identify yourself first.”

It is not hard to understand the wisdom of the speech the Indian Chief Seattle gave in 1854 “How Can you Possess the Earth?” when you connect to your breath. Do you know who exhaled the breath you’re breathing in now? Or who will inhale your breath after you exhale? You can hate the person in front of you -or far away- and you cannot stop inhaling her out-breath. Nor can he stop inhaling your out-breath. You share the same air and ‘inter-are’, whether you like it or not. Even if you succeeded not sharing the same air, you cannot stop your dead bodies being held by the same Earth. And even if you could do that, you’ll always be part of the same Universe.

It is Thich Nhat Hanh’s simple message of interbeing.

I am home. And I have always been. Wherever I am.

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You want help to connect to the interbeing of all life? Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a complimentary discovery session.