Things change from generation to generation, stories of hardship and triumph are passed down, interpreted by those left behind and discarded or integrated into the fabric of present time. But even if we consciously decide to ignore the lessons of those who came before us, there seems to be an energetic element that persists, continually sending the unheeded lesson until we are forced through the sheer magnitude of it to stop, to reflect, to evolve spiritually and to redirect a kinder more inclusive energy out into this world. Accompanying this energy is a call to end human exploitation of all species of animals, ourselves included, as well as the planet we all call home.
When I stop to think for a moment of the family history relayed with love to me by my mother, as well as my own recollection of my youth and young adulthood, a couple of vivid stories of hardship come to mind. We come from farming people. My maternal grandfather, Gordon Pardo was a fruit, vegetable and animal farmer in Southern Ontario. Born in 1900, he bore witness to some challenging social and economic times, both as a boy and as a man with a family of his own. Grandpa lived in the era of WW1, The Spanish Flu, The Great Depression, WW2. Through it all he seemed to maintain a certain equanimity and stiff upper lip as a farmer working in the time before crop insurance.
My mother often told the tale of my grandfather standing on the porch of their home, leaning up against a pillar and watching the sky become dark and the wind swirl ominously as the hail filled clouds moved closer and closer to his unprotected fields of tobacco and orchards of fruit trees. He said not a word and was not obviously stressed, all the while smoking a cigarette as the devastation unfolded. Somehow my grandfather survived the day and managed, with the help of my grandmother who was a force to be reckoned with, to feed his family and to plant another crop the following year.
Through the tough times of food and product scarcity, the farming community would come together on Saturday night, most often at my grandparents’ home. Everyone would share their personal bounty, roll up the rug and dance and sing to my grandmother’s tunes which she played on the piano with great gusto and hearty laughter. Her foot would be keeping time and her fingers would sail over the keys as the piano seemed to leap from from floor, bringing joy and worry free engagement for as long as the songs lasted.
In later years I observed with trepidation as my father and his partner, who were vegetable farmers, navigated the accidental destruction by fire of their warehouse twice in a short period of time. Some of the details are fuzzy in my mind about the how and the timeline, but I do remember my mother and sisters and I sitting down to do some crafting to pass the time as the fire burned and then smoldered, wondering what our futures would hold with the crop gone and the insurance company rightfully questioning how this could possibly have been accidental. They managed to settle with the insurance company, to rebuild twice and to farm another day, with my father eventually selling his partnership at the age of 55 and settling into retirement.
The moral of my family’s history is that somehow the hardship passes, a new normal sets in and we all continue on our path of merely living and producing, perhaps and most likely not looking at the long term cost of the oftentimes unnamed and unprocessed anxiety, anger and fear created along the way. Do we, as wise teachers are saying, carry within us the memory of personal and familial trauma, which then becomes deeply embedded, waiting to fester and bubble up causing us to face the world and its challenges with fear, not love?
What we do as individuals negatively affects the health of the collective as we continue to hide, albeit unconsciously, from our emotions, from our healing, from our innate expression of energy which is designed to be one with nature and with all life on this planet. The result is domestication of all around us, our loved ones, our companion animals, farmed and free living animals . We no longer recognize our place in that very nature which blesses this earth. We seek to harness in order to exploit for profit, whether said profit be economic, emotional, physical or psychological. The planet groans under the weight of our insatiable appetite for frivolous consumption and distraction.
Because we humans are so disconnected from ourselves , we ignore the signs of impending collapse. We continue to exploit farmed and free living animals for what passes as food, creating enormous abuse of and suffering for these beings and well documented degradation of the earth. We compromise our own health with the proliferation of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity. We categorize these lifestyle diseases as an inevitable part of our genetics, ignoring the growing number of experts who cry out that these are diseases of excess and inherently preventable, manageable and in many cases curable with a whole food plant based diet.
Our conditioned and therefore artificially created and seemingly insatiable desire for the flesh and secretions of other species of animals is the catalyst for the current pandemic now called Covid19. It is a coronavirus, which the scientific and medical fields have long identified as a zoonotic.
A zoonosis is any disease or infection that is naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans. Animals thus play an essential role in maintaining zoonotic infections in nature. Zoonoses may be bacterial, viral, or parasitic, or may involve unconventional agents. As well as being a public health problem, many of the major zoonotic diseases prevent the efficient production of food of animal origin and create obstacles to international trade in animal products.
And so, here is our lesson that change is still needed. It has come in physical form, a form that threatens the life of many humans, as well as the world economy and the fabric of social connection, such as it is. We have pushed the earth to its limits through our deeply conditioned exploitation of others. Will we heed the loud and potentially life threatening call for evolution? Or will we continue to control without also addressing the need for elemental change? Will the governmental edicts which come in the form of social distancing, widespread closures of school and daycare as well industry and jobs deemed non essential be the solution for which we are all looking? Is the virtual shutting down of the economy with a view to flattening the curve enough, or are we just creating more surface level change instead of much needed systemic change to our role and place on this planet?
This is an inspiring time, time to think about what is really important, driven into isolation by the government. Bottom line, in the future we will know if this is the best remedy.
The question is why are they trying to keep us all safe, alive… because they care about us or they need us to make the economy roll…have my questions as it goes on. ~Jimmy Videle
My thoughts turn to the most vulnerable of our society-children who live in abusive homes and no longer have school to rescue them if even for a few hours a day, parents who are struggling to put food on the table and to pay their rent and to keep their jobs and businesses going, elders and others who may be isolating alone, barred from seeing those who mean the most to them, essential services workers in all sectors, families and friends who have lost loved ones to this disease and the the list goes on.
I appreciate the principle behind the actions and we shall have to leave it to history to decide how many of the measures worked and whether or not the as yet untallied cost in deaths of despair was worth the effort to vanquish the virus. A wise and well loved family member said it well:
The surgery was a success, but the patient died.
And from a much appreciated friend and mentor:
I think what’s most important during this time is to stay informed in a detached way, and trust the wisdom within wholeheartedly. ~Ren Hurst
Annie’s Vegan View
Vegan Peace and Plant Powered Food.
May all beings be happy and free.