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

Vegan is Easy, part 1

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I love this sign over my friend Amy Lou’s kitchen doorway: “Turn soft and lovely any time you have a chance.”

* * *

There’s a reason why certain expressions become platitudes, right? No matter how irritating it may be to hear “you win some, you lose some,” or “This too shall pass,” the truth these sayings carry is undeniable.

The platitude I have in mind right now is attributed to Henry Ford:

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re usually right.”

But I prefer to say it this way:

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are VIRTUALLY ALWAYS right.”

You probably know by now (and if not, you might be interested to read this essay) that I believe in the creative power of semantics. That’s why I try my best to avoid saying “I want” or “this is really hard for me” or “I’m struggling.” (I also try to avoid the word “try,” but y’know.)

This isn’t just a theory for me; I taste the fruit of my words on a daily basis. My words (thinking or speaking) reflect my attitude, and my attitude creates my reality. This can be as basic as thinking “I can DO this” when I’m easing myself into a more advanced yoga pose (and guess what: I prove myself right), or as “important” as writing and selling a novel, or speaking in front of a group (same words, same outcome).

Awhile back I stumbled upon the Twitter profile of a woman who described herself in her bio as “struggling to be vegan.” I don’t remember where she was from (though I’m pretty sure she doesn’t live in New York City…or India). It made me sad to know that not only was someone creating and perpetuating a struggle for herself, but that she had actually chosen to frame her own identity in this negative light.

Life can be really, really challenging sometimes, and there’s no sense denying that. Strangers and loved ones alike will question your decisions, and maybe even make themselves unpleasant about it. But if you can adopt a “free and easy, no matter what happens everything will be just fine” sort of attitude as you move through your day-to-day activities, then why not choose to live your life that way? Why WOULDN’T you make life as easy for yourself as you possibly can?

This is how I feel about veganism. Before I left Sadhana Forest, I decided that this new diet and lifestyle and belief system would be joyful and easy, even if it required a little extra planning from time to time (such as packing several packages of nuts, sesame sticks, and dried fruit on our trip to Turkey).

You know what I’m going to say next, right? It HAS been joyful and easy.

When they find out I’m vegan, people often say, “Wow, no eggs or cheese? That must be hard,” and I come back with, “It’s easy, actually. Fun and easy.” I have traveled extensively in a meat-heavy country like Colombia, and eaten like a (vegan) princess in every single place I visited. I have “broken bread” with meat-loving friends and relatives, and enjoyed the experience even if I didn’t like what I found on their plates. I am making and purchasing beautiful new vegan clothing, and not regretting giving up knitting or wearing wool. I decided I could do this, and I would love doing it, and I have absolutely proven myself right.

But I’m not special. If I can do it, so can you.

(The other piece of this is, of course, educating yourself to the point where you no longer desire animal foods–so that veganism is your choice, and a joyful choice at that!–and I’ll be writing about that process next. Time for Some Context; Vegan is Easy, part 2.)

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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.