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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Experiments in incandescent living

Imagine you are a white-hot tangle of ice, dust, rock and gases, and as you hurtle across the night sky the rest of us are celebrating your transit with champagne and gourmet lollipops. The universe is vast, but we are only as small as we believe ourselves to be; and if we lived each moment in that same spirit of humble awe with which we now and again gaze at the stars, the world would be an infinitely happier place.

I blog about books and writing, travel, spirituality, art, knitting, and sewing, but above all I want to use this space to explore the connection I’ve discovered between veganism and creativity. I’m working on a follow-up book to Life Without Envy to that end, which I’m tentatively calling Tenderheart.

Recently on the blog...

12/07

Compassionate Creativity Beta Coaching FAQ

When I announced that I’d be offering a creativity coaching beta program early next year, several lovely people replied to communicate their interest. I’m going to keep this group small so I can give you more bandwidth, and so that you guys can actively learn from and inspire each other. Here’s what you can expect from this six-week program beginning Monday, January 8th:

  • weekly presentations followed by Q&A and informal group discussion (75-90 minutes total; if you can’t attend live, you can watch the replay any time)
  • fun assignments to integrate each module, usually a combination of journaling exercises, worksheets, and trying something new (in or outside the kitchen)
  • Recipe roundups based on you and your family’s preferences and needs, meal planning resources, and personalized suggested reading lists
  • a private Facebook group to make it easy to share questions, experiences, and resources with your cohort

Now it’s time to tell you “the catch”—it’s the awesomest catch ever, though. In order to participate in this six-week program, I’ll ask you to commit to a vegan diet (or as close to it as you possibly can) for the duration. I experienced the most amazing boost in productivity that has continued uninterrupted since the day I went vegan (going on seven years ago), so I can tell you that adopting a more compassionate diet will enhance your creative output and outlook big time.

Got questions?

What does my diet have to do with my creativity?

Apply to the program and find out! Seriously, though, I’ll explain this in my first presentation. In the meantime, read this post and watch this video of slam poet Saul Williams explaining why he required his students at Stanford to eat vegetarian for the semester.

 

 

I’m really interested in trying out a plant-based diet, but what happens if I cave and eat a slice of my mother’s meatloaf? Will you kick me out of the program?

I will not. Let me tell you about my friend Teri, who set a goal of eating vegan during the week we spent at Rockywold-Deephaven Camps on Squam Lake in New Hampshire, eating three meals a day in the dining hall. At one point she articulated that she was so tempted by the macaroons on the dessert table (which were made with egg whites) she didn’t think she’d be able to resist, and I said, “If it’s between eating the macaroon, feeling guilty, then going back to eating meat and dairy, and eating the macaroon and returning to eating vegan at breakfast tomorrow, then go for option #2.” I haven’t felt a single craving for non-vegan food since I stopped eating eggs and dairy almost seven years ago, but I do understand that for many people, “weaning” oneself off animal products is the more sustainable method. I simply ask that you make a good-faith effort. I’ll provide you with all the resources and support you need (unless you need official nutritional or medical advice, which I am not qualified to give you, though I can refer you to someone who is.)

Can’t I just try Meatless Mondays, to start with?

I totally acknowledge that going vegan won’t be as seamless a transition for everyone as it was for me. That said, it is much too easy to bolster our current habits and worldview with a framework of self-reinforcing excuses. I’m looking for a six-week good-faith commitment from you. If you embarked on a new relationship, you probably wouldn’t say, “but I can date other people while you’re at your bowling league on Wednesday nights, right?” If you started an exercise regimen, you wouldn’t work out once or twice a week and sit on the sofa eating junk food all the other nights, would you?

If you’re feeling more stressed than excited at the prospect of going plant based, then it’s probably safe to say you’re not ready for this. Don’t worry, I will offer some version of this program again, and in the meantime, remember that every resource you could ever need is literally at your fingertips. Google “vegan 101” or “easy vegan recipes.” When you throw up your hands and say “this is just too complicated,” notice how you are buying into one of the narratives of mainstream carnist culture. The livestock, dairy, and pharmaceutical industries profit from you eating the same foods you always have.

This program sounds like a lot of work for you. Why is it free?

I received a vegan lifestyle coach certification back in 2013, but for the past four-plus years I’ve been focused on book projects. Now I’m finally ready to move into this new phase of my professional life! By participating in this beta program, you’re helping me hone my content for future (paid) programs as well as a book I’m writing about veganism and creativity. Some testimonials will be nice to have, too!

I’m already vegan. Can I still participate? 

Yes! While this program is geared toward making veganism feel do-able for (current) omnivores by exploring the creative benefits of compassionate eating, it’ll still be helpful for current vegans in terms of moving through creative blocks, creating a solid foundation for a new artistic practice, or adding another dimension to your animal-rights advocacy work. And your knowledge and insight will prove invaluable to everyone else in the program.

Want in? Look for the application link in the email update I’ll be sending on Monday morning (December 11th).

 

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.