Plants are wonderfully powerful things, so often overlooked next to those flashy, moving animals. They have incredible capacities to heal us and keep us healthy. Tomorrow marks an important date for me. It is my 20th anniversary of switching to a plants only diet. I’m vegan. There I said it! In these twenty years it’s not always been easy – and I don’t mean knowing what to eat and sticking to it – but where other people are concerned. I reached a point where I ended up feeling a little like a pariah, enduring so much criticism and stick that I just stopped wanting to talk about it. It is something that the eagle eyed would notice if sitting down to eat with me or if you were kind enough to invite me round for some food and I would feel like I was confessing to horrendous crimes. I have felt different; swimming against society’s norms and after so long I found this exhausting and just too uncomfortable. I kept on being vegan; I just didn’t want anyone to know.
This is one example where, particularly since having children, I have not stood confidently in my space or spoken the whole truth about who I am and the values that are important to me. I’ve kept quiet for fear of offending others. Life felt difficult enough having two small demanding children. But this year, I have been reflecting as to whether I have actually been at peace with myself. This is who I am and I shouldn’t be ashamed of my values and my beliefs, if spoken about from a place of consideration. It is another powerful lesson that being ill this year has taught me, I lost my voice after my operation, and this feels like a metaphor for my life and how I had lost my voice.
I am now taking the courage to be seen. I have decided that I will not be defined by others anymore and their criticisms. I have not stopped caring, quite the reverse, as Brene Brown puts it, “When we stop caring what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. But when we are defined by what people think, we lose our courage to be vulnerable. The solution is getting totally clear on whose opinions actually matter.” - Brene Brown. This is who I am and I hope that people will accept me. I am a human, with plenty of flaws, just doing my very best to be open hearted, kind and compassionate for all beings in our world, including our non-human neighbours (those flashy, moving animals!).
Next week, I am undertaking a course called ‘Speaking Out’. I have just received the course details and my first reaction was one of utmost horror and the thought “aaaaggghhh, is it too late to pull out?!”. This is a serious thought that I am working with. Quite by chance, I came across a quote from Tim Ferriss which made me smile: “What we fear doing most, is usually what we most need to do.” I had such a strong visceral response that I know that this is what I need to do. So I am going to do it (at least I think I am!), I’m continuing to fight my urge to flight. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. But first, it’s time to celebrate 20 years vegan and the healing power of plants.
Please don't be shy commenting on here, you are welcome and I'd love to hear from you. Clare x
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