Many people might assume that because I talk to animals, I must be vegan – or at least vegetarian. I’ll tell you: I’m not. I eat them all.
I was vegan for two years, and vegetarian for another year – three whole years without any animal meat. I joined vegan dinner groups and internet mailing lists and chat rooms. Everyone everywhere insisted I’d lose the cravings for meat if I just stuck it out, got my diet right, took the right supplements, watched enough grotesque videos of factory farms.
After three years, do you know what happened? I realized the craving for steak had gotten so intense I would walk up to a beautiful cow and shoot it between the eyes myself.
In fact, that was almost preferable to what I did do, which was go to the neighbourhood butcher and buy a thick steak of apparent grass-fed, free-range origin.
I felt like a failure, but at the same time I honoured my body. I accepted that my body feels healthiest when a portion of my diet includes animal meat. I got over the failure and I eat meat without guilt, and I honour and respect the choices and diets of my vegetarian friends. Sweetie is vegetarian… actually she was vegan when we started dating but I hauled her off that wagon by re-introducing her to ice cream.
I will never return to my pre-vegetarian diet, which included some form of animal meat every day. In general, I eat meat once a week, and the rest of my diet is vegetarian. Once a month, I eat a steak or a burger. I don’t mark my calendar, the craving just comes up on it’s own, usually a week before I get my period.
Take iron supplements you say? Try this nasty german liquid supplement you suggest? I’ve done that. And you know what? I enjoy eating cow, every once in a while.
But something strange happened a couple of weeks ago as I was handling the steak of the month in preparation for cooking. I tuned into the spirit of the cow that used to be this steak.
For a while, all I could get was the moaning of this cow’s life. It’s a terrible sound, the groaning of a large animal in suffering. I saw the dark barn and narrow stall, I felt the truck ride to the slaughterhouse, the blinding light of the kill chute, the lingering of the cows’ spirits around the slaughterhouse as they tried to understand what had happened to their bodies, as they hovered, shell-shocked from a life of exploitation, suffering and fear.
The thing about “medium mode” is that I set all my own personality, thought process and judgment aside. That reflex where you cry from compassion and empathy is part of the personality I set aside when I enter medium mode. So as terrible as you might imagine it to be to witness this cow’s life by touching the remains of her body, the actual judgment, the protest against the experience wasn’t there, so I was just receptive of it. The information was allowed to integrate into my consciousness – I understood the experience and accepted it without taking on the pain. It’s difficult to explain – it’s not that my heart was closed to the suffering at all, as I’ve had to do in the past with my exposure to terrible experiences of animals at the hands of humans. It’s just that I was able to wrap my consciousness around it gently, and hold it, and be with it, and not label or judge it. It simply was.
I communicated with the cow, who I began to perceive as a connected to the “over-spirit” of cows everywhere on earth. I remembered the sacred nature of cows. This over-spirit was asking me to understand the experience of this particular embodiment of cow, which I was about to take into my own body.
I spoke with the individual cow again, and asked her to remain in heaven until humanity was once again in balance and at peace with the animals and plants on the earth. I asked her to stay and enjoy a full, beautiful cow life until her entire being absorbed the positivity of cow-ness, and her spirit had fully released the energy of her experience. I thanked her for giving her body to feed people, and I shared with her the state of my body, and it’s deep need. I felt her smiling – it’s the energy of a smile.
Now here’s the part that might make some people shake their heads: I cooked and ate the steak, and I thought about her the whole time. I’ll probably think of her every time I eat a steak for the rest of my life, and I’ll remember her with love.
I’ve written previously about my theory of food energy – how I suspect that my body is craving the vibration of certain foods just as much as the actual molecules. Why else would I want iron from cow, rather than a liquid supplement?
Penelope Smith talked about her years as vegetarian / vegan, and she found that years without meat caused her to feel ungrounded, peaked and unhealthy. She was struggling with her cravings for meat when she had a conversation with a live cow, pastured in a field. The cow gave her the understanding of how a cow’s body when eaten as food would ground her, settle her down.
Some vegetarians might be tempted to dismiss these experiences as Penelope and I simply finding in life what we wanted to find, permission to eat meat. Some people might judge us as weak, and insist that any true animal lover would live with / deal with the cravings indefinitely, because a true animal lover would surely come to the conclusion that eating an animal is worse than craving them.
If anyone reading this is thinking like that, let me assure you this is nothing we haven’t thought of ourselves.
I honour my body, and I meditate upon a better world. I am resolved to find a kinder source of meat. The nearest proper butcher is a two-hour drive away, and we have no car at the moment. But maybe I could get someone to pick some up for me, so that at least I am taking into my body an animal whose experience included fresh grass, liberty of movement and the companionship of other cows.
Maybe one day I will even be able to source meat from a farm that does its own humane slaughter, without the need for a long and stressful truck ride to the abattoir.