Thursday, February 17, 2011

Compassion or inclusion?

Veganism is a way of living where you don't participate in the harm of any other living being. You don't buy leather shoes, or wear down filled jackets, or include dairy in your diet. It is often called compassionate living, which is ironic since it is causing me internal hell.

I have always been a vegetarian. I remember hearing I was about 5 years old when I made the connection between the cute wide-eyed cows I would see on the side of the road and a McDonalds hamburger. That was it for me - no more meat.

Recently, however, I have been pondering full-on veganism over merely being a vegetarian. From a compassion standpoint I feel I need to do more. But.....and here is the big what cost? I am finding my vegan attempts isolate me from otherwise beautiful bonding moments. Being a vegetarian, I can still join in on family dinners and holidays. I may forego the main course but I can still participate in the rest of the meal - veggies, breads, finger foods, dessert. But a vegan needs to worry about if those green beans were cooked with butter, or if that bread has eggs in it, etc. And forget sharing in the birthday cake and ice cream with everyone else. I have found to be truly vegan, you either need to demand others change the way they prepare stuff (I mean really, who keeps Veggie Shreds on hand instead of cheese?) or bring your own food. And both feel just as isolating. Both ways take away from the moment of just enjoying a meal together.

My internal fight is between the present moment and the big picture. Do I want to live compassionately - YES! But at the expense of feeling disconnected from those I love? Not sure yet......

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