On Living with Compassion | Starter Guide | Vegan Outreach.

Feelings

(I’m linking to a page which I think gives a good account of Vegan Compassion, from an organisation in the U.S. called ‘Vegan Outreach’. I don’t know anything about these people, but I like this page.)

They say that choosing a Vegan way of life is a compassionate choice. If you bring your consciousness to the food you put into your body every day (and other aspects of your lifestyle) and start to become aware of what has gone into producing the things you take for granted – the death of animals, the pain and suffering of animals, bodies subjected to industrialized processes, people’s labour in less than humane conditions – you will become a more compassionate person. The act of physically placing your awareness in food is what heightens this. Apparently the transformation of consciousness can be quite remarkable.

Well, I’m a politically active person, and like to think of myself as an environmentally aware person. I spend quite a lot of time and energy doing ‘good things’, BUT, I know deep down I’m not actually that compassionate. I feel incredibly frustrated sometimes about what I perceive to be the state of the world, and I know that, when I express my opinions, that frustration often comes across sounding quite harsh and judgemental. I’m also not too good at being compassionate with myself, and can easily suppress emotions, be passive-aggressive, and get myself into a state because I’m not communicating clearly (and compassionately) with others. (I used to not be aware of this at all, but life-experience and some work in therapy have helped me to see things in a different way.)

It’s not easy to write about this side of me, but I’m thinking about it because of something that’s happened this morning. I have a housemate whom I’m not naturally at ease with. I find her manner loud and insensitive, and I often feel quite annoyed by things she does around the house (spontaneous re-arranging, throwing things out, hiding the back door key as an anti-burglar measure) and would prefer to be consulted about these in advance. It’s fair to say I’ve swallowed quite a lot of my feelings in order to not have deal with them, and have been doing this over a period of time. This week however, two such incidents have happened in quick succession which have left me grinding my teeth. I’ve felt really aware of how frustrated I’m feeling. This morning, just as my housemate was leaving the house she said, “Don’t forget to shut the window”, and I suddenly found myself turning around and snapping and telling her I didn’t need to be told and would she just stop trying to tell me how to keep house.

What surprised me about this was that I was actually expressing what I was feeling as I was feeling it, which, believe me, is not something I normally do, but it just came bursting out, and I was so glad to be telling the truth instead of biting my tongue.

Now, it came out with a lot of force, leaving me feeling shaky and probably leaving her feeling hurt and surprised at my aggression. I shall have to apologise to her later. I shall also have to make sure that I honour my feelings in future, because that’s going to be what stops the frustration building up. That’s seems pretty scary, but I can see that being compassionate to animals is not going to help that much if I can’t be compassionate with others and myself.

Feelings seem very close to the surface at the moment. Maybe it’s mood changes caused by food changes. Everything feels a bit new and ‘clunky’. I feel more sensitive, in good, and less good ways. I suppose if you clear stuff out of your system, other stuff will rise to the surface.

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