Over the Threshold, Into Awakening
(an excerpt from sweethome's upcoming book)
The Star I did not know I was following
~ David Whyte
It was the year 2003 when I came to the revelation that I wanted to devote my life to the health and well-being of animals. It was the ending of one story with the man who fathered my children. It was the failed fairytale of being homesteaders on a piece of land with garden, fruit trees, chickens, and goats. The animals in this story were loved and cared for, but also set into a paradigm of product and ownership. I cared for a herd of twelve goats. I milked four of them and made cheese weekly, selling what their bodies made for their babies for small change. I loved these goats and in the situation that we were all in we did the very best. They had lots of space. They were well taken care of, yet it was not natural. But what is when humans are involved? Once, I raised ‘meat’ birds; chickens bred to grow huge rapidly with the purpose (unwittingly unto themselves) of being eaten by humans. We as humans disgrace life for efficiency, gluttony. Once, I did it, only once. I raised them. I killed them by slitting their throats. I plucked their feathers off their bodies and froze the carcasses in my freezer. I could not eat them. I could not see the product, only the murdered chicken that once lived. I could not swallow this story anymore.
I recognize that the world is how it is, but in this case, the world was not how it was meant to be. There are karmas lingering due to the actions of the human race. We must accept that this is where we need to take a step from and investigate the relationship that exists now. Domesticated animals are in relationship with us due to us making that so. We must take care of them. And at this moment in my life, I am so aware of how my point of view, in order to be healthy, must be malleable—so don’t take this as infinite truth, just the truth for me now. I believe that a symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationship can be found between humans and animals.
I remember moment back in 2003 when a thought was born, a spark of union between concept and form; the sperm and the egg conjoined and the cells began to multiply: sanctuary. It was to be a word that slipped from my mouth, from my heart into the world over and over again. That heart would break millions of times over and the light would shine through those shattered cracks with more courage daily, for thousands of days. And I always knew to never hold too tightly onto a picture of what I thought I wanted or what I thought my future looked like. I painted the picture in an ocean, in the ever changing sky, in the vast universe of my dreams while I slept, in the words that spilled onto biodegradable paper in flimsy journals making sure that nothing was too solid so that my partner in all of this, that star I did not know I was following, could have her influence upon this new story.
This precious gift of life is undeniable and persistent.
Yoga Animal Rights Alliance
~ is a grassroots organization that directly aligns the practice of yoga with animal rights activism. This organization offers yoga retreats at or near animal sanctuaries around the world. As part of our practice, a significant aspect of the retreat includes direct engagement by being a volunteer to the animals who have been rescued from dire circumstances, as well as bringing a humble awareness to the rich and diverse culture that is in deep relationship with the situation at hand. Our volunteer work deepens the yoga experience, as we become change-makers and stewards of diverse life.