Let’s call it love—the indestructible pulse that remains even when you’re burned out, at the end of your rope; the thing that drives your tolerance of heartbreak, anger, ridicule, discomfort, frustration, static—even attempts at public humiliation; it is the same force that, in other moments, will have you knowing and feeling the greatest, most profound potential in anyone and of any thing.
Earth Day can be a melancholy day for activists—it’s such a lowly gesture, mostly devoid of any real recognition that we are in fact solar/lunar/water/oxygen beings, dependent on the wellbeing of the earth. Yesterday I found myself at a “green" expo, surrounded by some awesome companies doing effective and meaningful work, and others that were, for example, handing out plastic promotional items—wrapped in plastic bags, no less—and serving dairy ice cream. I had a great time sharing Help Yourself and feeding a non-vegan crowd samples of my superfood trail mix and kale salad recipes, but it was spiked with moments where I felt an oppressive mundanity, the lack of a spiritual dimension in the work being done, supposedly in the name of the earth.
If you’re working for the vegan movement, you constantly have to hold a death force right along with the life force you’re trying to infuse into everything you do. The culture of death is an undercurrent in our society, one we're simultaneously working against and alongside of. I think women, especially, are the most capable of tolerating this task. We are both the receptacles of everyone’s energy and the nurturers of everyone’s energy, constantly internalizing and externalizing the flow. After the green expo, I felt two opposing things—the confidence and high of meaningful activism as well as the culture of death that persists through peoples’ destructive and unconscious habits. A green expo is the last place you want to feel the latter.
So on my way home, I cried. It may have had some to do with unrelated grief, but what’s not related when it’s happening inside you?
This is the moment where, if we want to go on—being an artist, an activist, a parent, a business owner, whatever we are—we have to effectively transmute the energies we hold. For me, transmutation feels like a a torrent, a tidal wave, a wash of all the things I’ve absorbed rising to the surface to seek oxygen, out of my skin and veins and eyes and lungs and mouth. I’ve made a practice of letting it come, because I’ve learned again and again that the only relief is to head through it, not around.
It’s quiet after, and anything is possible again. You know you can hold all the energies, everyone’s energies—life energies and death forces. We continue to exist—full, holding, acting, waiting, and being patient…because love keeps trying.
Earth Day, every day.
'Ya hear? Leave me a comment below...
Former NBA star John Salley (one my favorite leading vegans) and I have seen each other at a million events but finally got to hang out this past week when I was a guest on his live-streaming internet show, The Big V with John Salley. (Side note: is this not one of the funniest pictures, you guys?! I think Bob Marley is taller than me!).
Watch the episode here:
Let alone that John is insanely entrepreneurial and has a million vegan products across industries, and let alone that he is constantly lending himself to speaking engagements to promote health and wellness, John is a wonderful, real, open, straight-forward, hilarious person whose approach to vegan leadership I love. So I was thrilled to be on the show and talk not only about what's inside The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids, but about the concept childhood, the transformative power of veganism, and about ALL my non-children's book art that I never get to show you—you'll see some of my paintings in the background while we talk. Check it out!
P.S. Don't forget that Help Yourself pre-orders get FREE bonus materials for a limited time, so furry up, watch the trailer, and make your order here!