Forgiveness. Non-violence. Acceptance. Unity. Love.
Activism is a new bag to me. I went vegan not too long ago, in November 2010. Before then, I was always inspired by stories of people who would raise money for charities, complete extreme feats in the name of a cause, go on hunger strikes, etc. But I never thought that “little ol’ me” could make a difference. It wasn’t until late in my adulthood that I realized that every little bit helps. I made the decision to become vegan because of animal welfare issues. I watched “Earthlings”, a movie that shook my world. I was angry. I was angry that my fellow man could treat living beings so poorly, just because they were not humans. I was angry that humans could beat animals in circuses, shove chemicals in dogs’ eyes and shoot innocent beings all in the name of entertainment, “beauty” and sport. I was angry. I wanted to do something extreme, I wanted vengeance; I wanted to channel that anger into some extreme action to get back at humanity for treating innocent beings in such horrible ways. I judged. I couldn’t even talk about my veganism without instigating an argument or debate about meat.
Gradually, at some point, a shift happened. I’m not sure when, or how, (though I suspect my yoga practice played a huge part in this…) but my anger and judgement and hate started to dissipate. In its place I welcomed the notion of spiritual, nonviolent activism. I’m not even sure when the shift happened, or how to explain it, but at some point I realized that leading by example, being accountable for my own actions, and spreading positivity into the world might be a better option for the cause, the planet and my own spiritual well-being. Attending protests with a smile – ready and open to speaking authentically to people about veganism – was so much more successful in my case then arriving angry and ready to scream at people who disagreed. Spreading love was so much more peaceful than spreading hate, and seemed to resonate much more with the very cause I was fighting for. I started searching for positive ways to make a difference – sharing vegan cookies and treats, taking friends to vegan restaurants, running a half-marathon for the animals and donating the money I raised to an animal rights organization, etc. Sharing my truth, my ethics, and my beliefs, through positive actions is so much more peaceful, and so much more rewarding.
I discovered spiritual activism in my late 20s. My cousin, Kayla, discovered spiritual activism in her first year of high school. Kayla is my inspiration, my spirit animal. In October, Kayla will be shaving her head and donating her beautiful locks for cancer research. She will be raising her goal amount of 2,000$ over the summer and donating this to cancer research as well. I have offered to teach a yoga class by donation this summer to aid her in her goal, and will share the details here once location and date are confirmed! What I realized late in my 20s, that love, positive action and the insane impact that one person can do, Kayla realized in Grade 6. This is actually not the first time that Kayla will be donating her hair to cancer. Last year, while she didn’t do the big shave, she did cut off most of her hair to donate to the cause. Her high school has also noticed Kayla’s incredibly huge heart and awesome impact on her community by bestowing her with a Citizenship award at her school’s awards ceremony. She is an inspiration, and proof that one girl can have a hand in changing the world, one strand of hair at a time.
“Spiritual Activism is the coming together of spirituality, and activism. It is not about religion, it is not about any form of dogma, it is activism that comes from the heart, not just the head, activism that is compassionate, positive, kind, fierce and transformative. Being a spiritual activist means taking our part in creating change, with a spirit of positivity, compassion, love and a balance of interdependence and self-determination. Nothing could be more inspiring and more rewarding than being the change we want to see in the world, within and without.” – fiercelove.wordpress.com
Kayla is the definition of a spiritual activist. If Kayla’s actions have touched your heart as they have mine, please donate, share the below link, attend our fundraising events, do anything in your power to help her reach her goal. What a gal!