Today is a Special Day
Today is World Vegan Day and the first day of World Vegan Month. As I paused a moment to acknowledge this day, it brought me back to that infamous day in November, 1997 that thrust me into transition, when Freya Dinshah, Executive Director of the American Vegan Society, recommended that I read the book Skinny Bitches to learn more about what it means to adopt a vegan lifestyle.
Each of us came to this lifestyle at different times in our lives and for varying reasons. Some of us were raised in a home that was either vegetarian or vegan. But for the vast majority of us, we didn’t start out that way.
We were raised in homes where we were fed SAD (the Standard American Diet), but something happened along the journey. It might have been a movie that we saw. It might have been a piece of literature that we came upon, or a book that we read. It might have been as the result of a medical intervention. Some of us started on this path because of our compassion for animals, other sentient beings. Still others came to this lifestyle because of the environment.
Whatever the reason, here we are.
Let us take a moment
Today, let us take a moment to celebrate our vegan lifestyle and the awareness, compassion, and integrity it has brought forth in our own lives. Know that every day, each of our individual efforts makes a difference. Sometimes, as we walk in our everyday ordinary reality, it is easy to forget that what we do, individually and then exponentially collectively, is making a difference.
Is there still much to be done? Absolutely, yes. But it is always important to take time to recognize the progress that has been made so far, both individually and as the collective.
On a personal note, I’d like to suggest this task — take in a breath and mindfully check in with yourself to identify the ways in which this lifestyle change of becoming and being vegan has made a difference in your own life. Then, expand that thought in your conscious awareness to how you have been able to make a difference in the lives of those around you, and then within your community, and then go bigger–seeing how everything we do matters in the global and universal perspective.
While today is World Vegan Day, it is actually the first day of World Vegan Month. Maybe, each day, we can do something, no matter how small or large, to help plant some seeds regarding adopting a plant-based, vegan lifestyle.
Dynamic Harmlessness Day
In addition, tomorrow is Dynamic Harmlessness Day. November 2, would have been Jay Dinshah’s 89th birthday. If you haven’t heard the name, Jay became a vegan advocate embracing the concept of dynamic harmlessness after touring a slaughterhouse in 1957. Subsequently in 1960, he founded the American Vegan Society (AVS). Unfortunately Jay passed away in 2000; however, his tireless dedication and commitment to educating people about the practice of nonviolence and the benefits of adopting a vegan lifestyle are no less mirrored by his wife, Freya Dinshah, as the Executive Director of AVS, and his daughter, Anne Dinshah.
So, what exactly is dynamic harmlessness? It is based in the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist tenet of Ahimsa, which is Sanskrit and reflects the practice of nonviolence. It has come to mean doing the most good and the least harm. In modern times, Mahatma Gandhi embraced these values when he successfully engendered the Indian people to campaign for independence from British rule through non-violent practices and peaceful disobedience.
The American Vegan Society* defines the AHIMSA in a way that absolutely resonates with me:
A – ABSTINENCE from Animal Products
H – HARMLESSNESS with Reverence for Life
I – INTEGRITY of Thought, Word, and Deed
M – MASTERY over Oneself
S – SERVICE to Humanity, Nature, and Creation
A – ADVANCEMENT of understanding and Truth
We’re in this together, and we are growing in numbers becoming stronger. As the saying goes, “In unity there is strength”. So, in your own way, celebrate World Vegan Day and World Vegan Month as we share the joys of becoming and being vegan.
*If you aren’t already a member of AVS, I highly recommend doing so. For more information about AVS and membership, go to their website americanvegan.org. Their benefits are many, but the highlights, as least in my opinion, include an amazing magazine, “American Vegan” but also 20% discount on all books with free shipping. They also have a Speakers Bureau, which includes many of the experts within the vegan community. Throughout the USA, AVS has contact points, individuals who are members and vegan advocates, that are local to their area and one-the-ground resources regarding anything vegan.
World Vegan Day banner, Credit: awarenessdays.com