Monday, March 12, 2012

No Matter What.

Photo © Joanna Wilson Photography.
A day off - finally! - has afforded me time to write an adequately sized post on my beloved blog. Oh, how I have missed you all! Yes, I've been posting bits and pieces over the past month, but the hustle and bustle of living as an actress/activist/wife/etc in Los Angeles has left me little opportunity to nurture my blogging.

It's been an interesting, growth-filled year and a half out here. I remember living most of 2009 and half of 2010 dividing my time between blogging and babysitting, with acting on the back burner. I was churning out a post every other day and was so happy to be sharing a compassionate message to a growing audience. An opportunity to meet Alicia Silverstone came along, my readership continued to get larger and stronger, and I was at the precipice of a grand life decision - do I continue on solely as an animal activist, or do I divide my time between my original love of acting and this new passion of mine? Ultimately, I've found that living as 75% actress/25% animal activist is my sweet spot. A great life choice for Lindsay - not so great for my amazing KMIV readers who were used to checking out new posts every week.

Photo © Michael Bartelle.
For those of you who have remained loyal through the years and are reading this very post - I thank you. You are the very reason I keep this blog going. And for the vegan (or nonvegan) newbies - welcome! I appreciate and love each and every one of you for taking the leap and learning more about a vegan lifestyle. Basically, you are all kiss-worthy in my book, because you give me wings to soar in this journey. As a thank-you to you, the animals, and the world, I promise to live vegan for the rest of my days. Joyfully. Gratefully. And with so much delicious and - you guessed it! - vegan food at my table.

Today, Steve and I visited The Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita, CA. I learned about Gentle Barn through Ellen DeGeneres about a year ago and have wanted to visit ever since. Highlights of my day included listening to a poignant speech by Gentle Barn founder Ellie Laks, getting to know an adorable pig named Linus, and petting an Emu named Yoda (my first Emu!). But nothing compared to the nap I experienced. Let me explain - today, in my lap, for a good twenty minutes or so, laid Ellen, a rescued turkey at The Gentle Barn. Named after THE Ellen herself, this lovely lady was originally slated to be someone's turkey dinner a couple of years back, but thankfully she was rescued in the nick of time by activist and Thanking the Monkey author Karen Dawn and immediately placed into Gentle Barn's care. Thriving and beautiful now, Ellen's favorite pastime is getting close enough to people so that she can sleep on them. The way to get her to sit with you? Sit down on the ground near her and slowly give her a big, big hug.

 Ellen and me sharing a really good snuggle.
For a lot of the people visiting Gentle Barn today, seeing my arms curled around a resting turkey completely surprised them, mostly because they just didn't know turkeys could be cuddly and sweet. See, we've been taught as human beings to ignore the very things about "food" animals that make them so like us - the love, the joy, the anger, the unique personalities, the immense pain, and the bonds formed with others. This was actually discussed quite eloquently in an article I found recently at Psychology Today - totally worth a read.

Today, Ellie said in her opening speech, 

A sleeping Ellen.
"Here at The Gentle Barn, we believe that we are all the same - we just look different."

That one simple sentence tugged at my heart in a way that left me breathless upon hearing it. We are different, yet we are the same. No matter what our skin color, what our gender, whether we have feathers or fur - inside, we are the same.

I couldn't agree more.

Ellie's words and my time with Ellen the turkey are still sitting with me hours later as I write this, because they have renewed within me the strength and resolve to continue sharing the profound benefits of living vegan in this day and age. As most to all of us no longer need a single animal product to survive, purchasing and/or eating them (and their milk, eggs, fur, feathers... you get the idea ) is now a luxury, and one that is selfish at best. I know this is a bold statement, and I say it with full respect for anyone reading my words who has not yet transitioned to vegan living. Why? Because I used to stand where you are standing. I used to call myself an animal lover and then happily go eat a quarter pounder from McDonald's. I used to look at vegan pamphlets in the subway and laugh at the absurdity of giving up my chicken fried steak. I - Lindsay the happy vegan blogger - used to think vegans were weird, extreme people.  But life has a funny way of showing you who you truly are if you let it. And all along, the animal lover within me was begging to be fully realized. All along, I was a deep down vegan. I just needed the jump start to get me going.

Steve and Tulip the hen at Gentle Barn.
I want to touch on one other subject since I'm riding the activist train today - as I drove alongside Steve back home from our Gentle Barn trip, I got to thinking about all of the conversations I've had with vegetarians who just don't think they could ever go vegan. The thing is, if you eat chicken's eggs and cow's milk but don't consume their bodies, you are still contributing to - even paying for -  their deaths. Because that chicken who spent her life churning out eggs at an unnatural rate ends up in the same place as all of the other chickens destined for our plates - the slaughterhouse. If you are vegetarian and reading this, I implore you today - drop the omelettes and mozzarella and take a 30-Day Vegan Pledge with me. Your health, the animals, and this world will be better for it. And I mean it when I say that as a vegan, I have so many delicious foods in my life that I just plain DON'T miss dairy and egg products. I don't. And you won't if you give it a try.

(And on the off chance you happen to, email me and we can chat about it.) 

AND - to the vegans in the room, I know I haven't focused entirely on you, so I say this: YOU give me so much joy. YOU inspire me, excite me, revitalize me, and remind me of what's important. YOU are the solution. Keep up the outstanding work!

To to sum up this post, I say:

Today, if you are reading this blog and have not done so yet, why not pledge to live vegan? Start small - a day, a week, a month. Remain open, remain flexible, and celebrate every single moment of the experience. And continue it. A little more. And now - let's jump in with both feet! Let's boldly and joyfully commit to living in a way that does the least amount of harm to every living thing, including ourselves. Let's allow the magic and miracle of living vegan permeate the rest of our lives, until we are living our best lives possible. Let's remember and honor the animals and each other every single chance we get. Let's wake up each day with compassionate intention and a big, big heart. No matter what.

Congratulations!
Today is your day!
You're off to great places,
You're off and away!
You have brains in your head. 
You have feet in your shoes 
You can steer yourself 
any direction you choose. 
You’re on your own. 
And you know what you know. 
And YOU are the one 
who’ll decide where to go.
- Dr. Seuss

Need your own jump start? Check out my "Three Steps for Going Vegan" page for resources, read old posts on this blog, and finally, feel free to email me at kissmyvegan@gmail.com. While I'm a super busy gal, I will do my very best to reach back out to each and every one of you.

6 comments:

Molly G said...

Love. And joy. You are amazing. And I miss you!!

CurlyLocks said...

Loved the post ... truly heart-warming.

Anonymous said...

Tia says "that's my new friend". To all the readers that have not actually met you, she is an angel with a heart of joy so true you can physically feel it. Thank you for the day and the blog :) kisses to you both from my kids, you have their hearts.

Myra Wolf said...

I love you, my beautiful daughter.

Erin said...

Great Post Lindsay!! I love your blog and even included you in my fun little survey: http://www.creativesoulinmotion.com/2012/03/fun-elevens-survey/

Keep writing about your vegan journey - it helps inspire me each and everyday to be a stronger, brighter person.

Treesa said...

I love Gentle Barn! My husband and I have been supporting their heart work for awhile now, but we've yet to make a trip to visit in person. I'd sure love to though. Lucky you for getting to spend some time there.

Thanks for spreading vegan love about!