Corona virus aka #rona is on a 24-hour news cycle now. I’ve never seen anything like it. I keep telling my daughter that it feels like we’re living out a movie. Really, we are. We’ve all seen this show. Whether it was Contagion, The Walking Dead or the documentary series, Pandemic. Even Bill Gates has a TED Talk from 2015 called The Next Outbreak? We’re Not Ready. Despite the fact that the world seems surprised, this virus is no accident. It is apparently the inevitable result of globalism, animal cruelty, climate change and inhumanity. It’s not the first pandemic, and it won’t be the last. As troubling as these days are, I hope that they will inspire positive change around the world.
I remember when I was working on my master’s degree in the 1990’s and amazon.com was just a baby. We were using the word globalism as a new term. Companies were outsourcing work to Asian countries. Everything was manufactured in China. The internet was young. Information and ideas were beginning to spread at rapid pace. The term “climate change” was not yet a part of the U.S. vernacular. Back then, I thought fur coats and leather handbags were beautiful, and seafood was delicious. I used to love going to my favorite Italian restaurant on Montague Street in Brooklyn and ordering chardonnay, flounder francese and tiramisu. I guess I was a little fancy. Lol. Still am. 🙂
I didn’t know anything about animal cruelty back then. I may have heard the term animal testing and it sounded pretty harmless, like rabbits were being lined up to take the SAT or GMAT. It wasn’t until the film Food Inc. was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2008 that I began to slowly arise from my slumber. I saw chickens with breasts swollen from hormones trying to walk ankle-deep in feces in a huge, dark barn. They kept falling into piles of communal shit because their little bodies couldn’t support their enormous breasts. My mind immediately went to the Perdue oven-stuffer roasters my mom liked to buy. Is this where they came from?
That was 2008. I didn’t stop eating meat until 2012. I finally went vegan in 2014.
Some people stop eating meat because they don’t like the taste of it, or they want a healthier lifestyle. That’s wasn’t me. I stopped because I woke up to the cruelty that I was financing. Sometimes when people ask why I don’t consume animal products I say, “It’s cruel and it’s filthy.” It’s the filthy part that leads to the spread of disease and climate change. It’s so disgusting, most people will not watch the film Earthlings or Google factory farming images. It’s so revolting our sensibilities tell us not to look at it. And, yet, if it’s hidden from us we will gladly eat it.
This crisis also brings to the forefront the ongoing disparity between the haves and the have-nots. I believe health care is a human right. However, people suffer every day in the U.S. because of lack of mental health, dental and basic medical care. When we’re presented with a presidential candidate that vows vehemently to change that, we shrug our shoulders and say it’s naïve and impractical. As long as the problems stay in the so-called ghettos, it’s fine with the status quo.
When I was a kid the baby boomer generation was also called the “me” generation because of a perception of self-fulfillment being prioritized over social responsibility. The minimalism movement has helped me realize we’re a country of hoarders. We stockpile cash and an assortment of things while our neighbors go without. We compete with our peers for who has the most stuff while other folks have nothing. We don’t realize when one of us suffers, all of us suffer. When our neighbor is desperate, we are no longer safe in our homes.
I encourage you to take some time for quiet self-care during this global crisis.
See what wisdom rises to the surface.
Stew in your gratitude.
Be kinder than usual to yourself and others.
FaceTime or Skype with your friends and family.
And try out a new home-cooked plant-based recipe. Breaking bread is always sweet, even if it’s virtual.
I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. This photo is the cover of my new e-book, “Black Vegan Life ™ Guide to Self-Care.” You can download at honeybutterflyz.com/e-books. I’ve also uploaded a guided meditation and yoga nidra at soundcloud.com/vegan_honeybutterflyz. I hope you have a chance to listen. You can watch Earthlings on YouTube and Minimalism on Netflix. Full disclosure: I have never watched Earthlings but I understand it’s graphic. Netflix has a wide variety of films dealing with veganism that are not as graphic. A couple of favorites are Vegucated and Cowspiracy.