My husband and I ate better at my sister’s wedding last weekend than at our own. At ours, one of our friends told us that it was the most meat he’d seen at a wedding and couldn’t believe it was at a vegetarian reception. I just finished Jonathan Safran Foer’s book “Eating Animals” and this quote from that book reminds me of that moment with our friend:
“Of course our wedding wasn’t vegetarian, because we persuaded ourselves that it was only fair to offer animal protein to our guests, some of whom had traveled great distance to share our joy. (Find that logic hard to follow?)”
Usually there aren’t any or many vegetarian options, let alone vegan options, when attending functions such as these. And that’s OK – the event is usually about someone else and not us. But, my sister offered us a bountiful meal. We ate like kings and queens that night. My grandmother came up to my husband and I and exclaimed how we’re influencing the world with our dietary choices. Although I think she put us on too high of a pedestal, I was in shock and awe that we were so well fed. My sister said, “I told you I’d take care of you.”
Now is my time to take care of her. Her new family is going through a tragic loss of a loved one. I grieve for my sister and her – our – new family. I hope memories of our departed continue on through his family because he was such a beautiful soul with a bright spirit.
Unfortunately, we were all faced with a hard reminder that life is precious and short. What we do today, in this moment, is all that matters and we should never take anything for granted. I’ve been following “Write Meg!” for a few years now and Meg wrote a wonderful post about how we shouldn’t wish our lives away. What a powerful message – living in the now. I’m in the middle of Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now”, which I recommended to Meg. Tolle hones in on this topic – living in the moment – which I practice daily. I admit, it’s difficult to do it all the time, but with more practice, it gets easier. One of my favorite quotes is from Lao Tzu and touches on living in the moment:
I’ve been following the Buddhist page on Facebook for awhile now, but this past week is the first time I’ve truly felt solace from this network. Here are some of my favorite posts of theirs:
“A trained mind brings health and happiness. The wise can direct their thoughts, subtle and elusive, wherever they choose: a trained mind brings health and happiness.” – Dhammapada
“Love is an infinitely renewable resource. For the well-being of society and for our own personal growth as well, it is crucial that we learn to love without needing a reason or reward.”
“Buddhism teaches that nothing happens by chance. Everything has meaning. Please be convinced that your inner life is already endowed with everything you need. No matter how difficult your situation may be, you are alive now, and there is no treasure more precious than life itself.” – Daisaku Ikeda
“There is no path to happiness; happiness is the path.”
“Compassion should be without bounds, without attachment, without judgment, and without hope. In other words, it should be very grounded.”
Living a compassionate lifestyle through our food and our actions has a lasting impact on this earth around us. My heart beats stronger when helping the voiceless. I constantly question if I could be doing more for the beautiful, majestic creatures of this world. And then, I see something small (what may look insignificant to some) in the shadows – a vegan meal at a wedding – and I smile in gratitude of that small glimmer of a peaceful, humane and cruel-free world.
“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.” – Dalai Lama