I’ve always found it fascinating that where we end up is never where we began. You know, how each journey is designed to grow you to discover new truths about your sacred self along the way. Yet sometimes we do find ourselves back into a full circle awakening and what we once firmly rejected from our life is the very thing we find ourselves needing.
For me, my unthinkable taboo for years has been eating animal meat. An off/on vegan, long-time vegetarian, sometime raw, and mostly macrobiotic (the food, not the entire lifestyle) eater, the thought of using animals for food makes me want to cry – for both ethical and spiritual reasons. As well, because everything around us is energy and we are all connected, having the tormented wailing energy of an animal during its last moments of life enter my body is enough to make me shudder. And so while my eating philosophies have changed over the years as I learned more and grew wiser as an intuitive eater, a common thread always remained: no animal meat. Ever. Yet two weeks ago, through tears, reluctance, and after a deep long prayer, I found myself deliberately putting the physical self and spiritual energy of a cow into my body. Pray tell, why?
Well, it’s easy to confuse what ‘makes sense’ with what ‘feels right.’ My decision to stop eating animal meat years ago was easy for me as I have a strong reverence for our universe, brotherhood, and all living things. I have always been overall healthy, no diseases, never a medication. I eat clean, live happy, and love gratefully. I never missed meat, I didn’t crave it, and I instantly and always felt better without it. Then began a few stages here and there, spanning across a few years, of losing hair, low blood pressure, threatening blood tests (low iron, protein, and B family), and a general feeling of physical weakness. I knew what feeling amazing felt like and this threw me off center.
This last time around, in November 2011, in the heart of my feeling yucky, I had Andrea Beaman as a guest speaker at one of my CT Holistic Health & Lifestyle Alliance meetup events that I organize. I was riveted to her beautiful unapologetic belief that our bodies should be gifted with what it physically needs. That Monday night I asked her why she began eating meat again; what brought her back? She said she found herself constantly questioning it, craving it. The more she ignored the urge, the more it felt like a struggle. Her mind was fighting her body’s urge. Mmm. Sitting in the front row that night, I got it. I was near spellbound. How authentic are we to ourselves by sticking to a personal value (in this case, me not wanting to eat animals), all the while ignoring what is truly, physically happening inside of us? We are so unkind to ourselves to hold on to anything so dogmatically tight when it doesn’t complement all aspects of our selves – mind, spirit, and body.
Even before that night, I suspected that my body needed animal meat. High quality, well-lived, and well-loved, but animal meat all the same. While cleaning up after the event that night, Andrea and a good pal, Nick Oddo, offered the one ‘tipping point’ statement to me that cemented my decision to start a ‘mindful meat eating experiment.’ They said just the fact that I’m questioning it, suspicious that my body needs animal protein, that I should honor the whisper. Because our bodies never lie. But our minds do. And because I worship my body, I decided then to be willing to get out of my own way.
Truth be told, it hasn’t been easy. I have completely stabbed my spiritual beliefs in the back in a really sizable way by allowing myself to connect with an animal as food. Yet a few days into my experiment, I had a monumental aha that found my own personal centered space on this. I recognized that almost as strong as my belief in not eating animals, is an unwavering belief that our body knows best and if I really want it to heal (and thrive) then I have to work with my body, not against it. My scientific body doesn’t function on spiritual beliefs, my soul does. All along, I’ve based my decision to not eat animals on a spiritual foundation. I wasn’t listening to my body. I wasn’t paying attention to the blood work I so attentively scheduled each year for the very purpose. I was ignoring a mountain of in-your-face signs. I was stubbornly married to the needs of my spirit and mind, and ignoring the needs of my body.
And while I’m entirely convinced that our spiritual selves do help to heal our physical vehicles (think of people whose resolve and faith will heal themselves better), our bodies need a fuel beyond compassion, and love, and gratitude. These are the daily foods for my spirit. My body on the other hand, requires unique physical substance to keep the breathtaking network of cells, and organs, and blood, and lymphs, and muscles, and other complicated things that instinctively go on inside of me to keep working right. And if allowing animal meat into my body’s tapestry will bring me closer to my balanced self, I will honor the animal with awareness and gratitude … and allow nature’s healing miracles to happen.
To read more about Rosa’s vegan-to-meat-eating journey, visit her new blog on this topic: http://honoringmybody.wordpress.com
Writer, Healthy Lifestyle Educator