(<--) He's dapper, debonaire, suave and sophisticated - yet modest. They call him Rufus, and he's the 2nd feline with whom my life is graced. I had to introduce you to him. He's my best guy <3
So as the title of this page suggests, I'll explain how i arrived at my current perspective of animals and effective ways to advocate on their behalf.
The beginning of my "awareness" of how horribly abusive humanity is and has been to animals was a roller coaster. I majored in wildlife ecology and conservation in an effort to find compassionate ways to get animals out of zoos in the face of habitat destruction and poaching. There I learned about the human enterprise, which showed me how destructive our behavior has been, mutilating and exploiting everything in our path. The phD's teaching about wildlife conservation in my college were by and large animal "users", considering wildlife an "important cog in the wheel of life". Hunters were the loudest force in this arena - their preferred game species depended on healthy wildlife populations! My mind = b l o w n.
I considered this sickening, and ultimately a glorified form of narcissism if our interests are only to conserve lands for our own asses. The prevailing wisdom was overlooking the inherent value each being is granted by existing in the first place. It's tough to relay this point to people when they just don't "feel" that animals are inherently valuable, deserving freedom and having their own reasons. Yet I knew the fate of animals being free from suffering depended upon people making that shift in consciousness.
During my "awakening" of this crises, I went through an angry phase, strengthening my bond with coping mechanisms (beer.....red wine....cigarettes....repeat), and pursuing counseling. Fortunately nothing traumatic happened during my pickled college days (I was rather skilled at managing the drinking part, so I told myself). For the first time in my life I wasn't making friends with new people I was meeting - this was a traumatic yet crucial shift in my life experience. I had always been popular with people and made friends easily. Little did I know my identity became dependent on people liking me! Formulating my own opinions about things, for the first time in my life, deflected the superficial connections I grew accustomed to. This was also the beginning of a very intense ride.
Entering college a meat eater who planned to champion wildlife and environmental issues, I became a vegetarian in the middle of my first year when I let myself accept how destructive it is to raise animals as a food source (to learn more click here). Later, near the end of my last year, I (again, let myself) learned how horribly abused the female animals in the industry are (dairy cows and egg laying hens), and knew - at a visceral level - that if I cared anything about addressing suffering of others, I had to live vegan. Though it always sounded extreme and unnecessary, it was a Truth I couldn't overlook anymore. Excuses, fears, inconveniences, blah blah blah. They failed to measure up to said Truth. There's no difference in suffering when looking through the eyes of those who suffer.
Before I could say Anbesol, it was December of 2006 - I made it! (Yeah right, it was the longest 2 years of my life at that point.) Graduation day couldn't arrive soon enough. Though my keg stand needed some polishing, I walked across the stage knowing my accumulated knowledge of our environmental (....and social, and political) challenges was thorough enough to arm my crusade for justice! I held in my heart an unwavering view of the fact that animals are to be cherished not oppressed. This vision was the only tool I needed.
Though my Bachelors of Science was in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, I set my sights on illuminating the food animal issue going forward. I realized that wildlife issues are a *symptom* of an overarching disconnect: that animals aren't valuable, therefore not considered in our daily decision making choices. No other choice has a greater impact than what we consume for food. Not everyone hunts or visits the zoo, but everyone will eat. If we can shift our consciousness to feel compassion for our sandwich, other behaviors will naturally reflect that compassion, rendering other crises moot. So my energy's been focused on lifting the veil and encouraging compassionate action since.
So there's that.
For the love of love,
If you've been on the front lines for social justice issues (aka you're an "activist"), you've noticed a groundswell of action these days. Groups advocating for compassion in general are gaining strength and support every year. No doubt, there's an awakening.
With this shift, how do our old messages and modalities measure up? I've been soul searching a lot lately and have a new, clear view:
We need unconditional, unapologetic, limitless love and compassion - for all.
Yes, this sounds like the truth most of us are already living by. However, I'm specifically referring to us advocates digging deeper, accessing that genuine love and compassion for even the abusers, manipulators, unethical industries, corrupt governments and corporations - everyone.
It feels like the underlying reason we see injustice anywhere is a lack of love by the "perpetrators". Only people who are suffering cause others to suffer. They may not see themselves as suffering, but they are definitely missing this "L" word in their lives. How do we know? If you know you are loved, and love yourself, taking actions that cause harm to others is never an option. You're living in love! And there's no fear. They can't coexist.
Why do us advocates need to fly this love-flag for perps?
Because it's not WHAT we're doing that determines the outcome of an action, it's WHY we're doing what we're doing. If we're taking action because we only have love and/or pity for the victims, we're not curing anything. This is still "us versus them" (and we see how much suffering is born out of this false view of disconnection). The fact that there is suffering is a symptom of something bigger. If we want compassion to reign, we need to infuse the root with the missing ingredient. We need to BE what the world is missing (unconditionally loving!!!). When we view the worlds issues from THIS SPACE of limitless love, our ideas, campaigns and interpretations of what is and what's needed will be more powerful. And the home for solutions.
To clarify further: everything is energy, vibrating at different frequencies - that includes emotions. Communication is always happening at levels WAY bigger than our brains can comprehend, beyond language and actions too. Picture angry/scared energy as red, and love/compassion energy as green. If we have unchecked red energy in us (let's be real here, most of us do), everything we touch has essentially red finger prints on it. Even if we're wearing a smile, pretending to be nice so people do what we want them to do, there's still red finger prints "out there". We need trails of green fingerprints. If we're not living in limitless love for ourselves and others, we aint green.
If someone doesn't feel loved, and we attack, or attempt to shut their behavior down, or stifle them, or manipulate them from having what their fear tells them they need, we won't shift the situation toward our baseline solution (yes, love). We need to love dysfunctional behaviors outta people!
Ok, so this makes sense right? Now what?!
If the thought of loving perpetrators of violence makes you want to hurl, or you're rolling your eyes, convinced that I'm just another granola eater on a crusade, noodle this: when we dig to our own depths, and access the limitless love that's already in us, what I've just said makes perfect sense! You know it does. It's a work in progress to live in that space, but what else is more important? If you've read this far, you "get it". Plung into your true loving nature people!
The big-big question: How do we parlay this into an action plan?
Let's figure it out together! When a collective comes together with a mutual intention to help the world with love, answers come from our highest wisdom. All we need to do is be willing to allow love to guide our choices. The HOW will be born out of that opening.
Every second of every day, we're all contributing to the state of the world - at home and beyond - whether we recognize it or not, we're all connected! Let's co-create a world we know is possible, rather than channel our precious energy into a world stuck in disconnect. Channel your inner Care Bear!
Contact me if this is something you feel drawn to. Let's mobilize!
For the love of love,
"If love isn't the answer, then maybe I misunderstood the question." -- Aqualung
An east coast native, Nikki spent her college years and beyond as an activist for animals, the environment and social justice issues. Needing to make sense of and come to peace with everything along the way, she began her work on the spiritual level. When she realized that the conditions of our outer world are just reflecting the conditions of humanities inner world, her focus shifted to energy healing arts and yoga. Now a Reiki Master, yoga instructor, author and speaker living in Austin, Texas she hosts discussions on the importance of living a heart-lead life, inspiring steps for self love and personal mastery - the recipe for global peace.
Services offered listed under HEALING SERVICES tab.