Part 1 of this article was published in last week's newsletter. It was the nail-biting adventure in which I rescued a teeny spider that was floating in my toilet. Thankfully, it lived! I put it outside, turned off the bathroom light, washed my hands, and returned to the project at hand: making beef tamales, with lard as the base for the masa dough.
I immediately felt the irony, or perhaps hypocrisy, of caring so deeply about rescuing a distressed spider, while in the middle of making a meat-based dinner.
I have been a vegetarian many times in my life, from months to years at a time. The longest stretch was when my daughters were very young, around 7 and 10 years old. One day we were in the supermarket, and they both simultaneously ran to the meat case and hugged it (literally). “Please, oh please, Mommy! Can we have some meat tonight?” I was astonished, because I hadn’t talked to them about “going vegetarian," I just stopped cooking with meat. They just naturally missed meat in our meals. So, yes, I bought some that night.
This human dilemma: the call of the wild, human, carnivorous self, is something that has distressed me on and off for decades.
That, and knowing that when I buy something that comes in plastic, I’m contributing to the cluttering of the earth. Or, when I toss batteries, or color my hair, I’m contaminating the earth with chemicals. Or, when I drive my car. Gadzooks. There is no end to the shame, guilt, and inadequacy I am capable of feeling.
But, in the past year, seeing face masks and gloves scattered about, and being forbidden to use the $100+ of reusable grocery bags that I purchased, I’ve been doing some soul searching in a different way.
Yes, I’m a spiritual teacher. But, I’m also profoundly human.
I’m giving myself permission to live this human adventure of life. I do what I can. I pack as many groceries as I can into each plastic bag at the self checkout. I rarely put my fruits and veggies into plastic bags, I just toss them (gently) into my cart. I do this for me; for my own sanity in knowing that I’m doing what I can (and also because I can’t stand the mounds of plastic bags that pile up so quickly), but I’m also learning not to beat myself up emotionally for what I can’t do in that moment.
I thank the animal that has given its physical life for my sustenance. And, I save the spider from potentially drowning in my toilet. Are those actions really at odds, or are they both based in love? From my perspective, I’m doing my very best, as the human that I am.
I have even felt the gratitude of the animal spirit that inhabited the body that gave me my delicious homemade meal. It’s almost as if they wanted to be part of that experience. Who am I to judge?
I’m giving myself permission to be human these days. And, I kinda like it.