Posts from: September 6, 2013

Do what you can and do a bloody good job

This time last year I was getting ready to farewell my dear friend Anna Om Shanti. Anna is a gifted Jivamukti yoga teacher and writer. She had just received a posting from The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to volunteer as a cook for the Brigit Bardot in the society’s most ambitious campaign ever, Operation Zero Tolerance. Anna was running a workshop with fellow Jiva sister, Sandy, in order to raise the necessary funds to get her plane ticket to the ship.
I felt myself deeply moved by Anna’s courage. I mean we all love animals but how far would we really go for our convictions?
It occurred to me how ‘safe’ I had been lately in terms of my animal activism. I simply love my vocation as a schoolteacher (for those who didn’t know). However, in the last decade it was this very vocation that I felt had limited my activism for the animals to not much more than online donations and Facebook reports of PETA and Sea Shepherd campaigns. Gone are the days when I would risk arrest for dangerous and let’s just say not-so-well-advertised animal activism. I mean I am a grown up now and I have a job. I wear a suit and tie! There was absolutely NO WAY I could even think about participating in an ‘I’d rather go naked’ photoshoot…
These thoughts lay heavy in my heart as I said goodbye to Anna. However, during the next month, things changed.
I saw my friends at rubyfruit cafe and hung out with Maz at Sadhana kitchen and I would hear these beautiful women say ‘this cafe is my form of activism’. I’d see vegan athletes and dancers online and without them even mentioning the ‘a’ word it became clear that they were positive role models for the young and dangerous. And I did a (fully clothed) online campaign for the gems at Yogeeks, a 100% cruelty free clothing label that utilises innovative design to promote the vegan message.
I saw activism happening all around me in many different ways. It’s great to be inspired by risk takers. However, all activists are risk takers, they just take different kinds of risks. There’s the risk of being rammed by a whaling ship, the risk of not making a profit running a vegan business, the risk of making a kid cry because you played ‘Behind the Mask’ to your religion students. But when a kid says to you ‘Sir, I have given up eating animals and its ALL YOUR FAULT,’ you know it’s worth it.