In the beginning....
(<--) 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,
You're amazing, Nikki! I loved hearing a bit more of your background in wildlife and environmental studies. I agree with you, we have to shift to seeing the innate value of every being, simply for existing. Right now, animals' value is based on how they serve us humans, (or those humans with the most social-economic-political power). Time for that to shift! Each animal is an individual with unique preferences, a personality, and a desire to connect with others on a social and emotional level - worthy of our respect and granting them their autonomy.
10/28/2013 06:34:07 am
Awww thanks for the recognition and sugar Charlotte, i adore you too! Yes all beings (human and non) are cut from the same amazing fabric that is life. Our opportunities to show that are limitless. We gotta include those people who cause harm / maintain the false belief of separateness (like with one group of people thinking they're better than another). Big shifts are underway! <3
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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 Miami, Florida 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.