Imagine if… thoughts on suffering in response to the coronavirus.

Imagine if we come out of this with our hearts opened. Our hearts opened to more than just our tiny network of family and friends. Imagine if we start to truly care about those who aren’t our ‘family’. If we start to give them some of our money perhaps, offer help, buy them food, support people in our communities and on the other side of the world.

Imagine if we start to respect our planet. “Doing our bit” is no longer good enough. We need to do more than our share, we need to hold our planet in the highest reverence. All our actions should be preceded with “is this helpful or is this harmful”.

Imagine if we come out of this with compassion for animals, for birds, for insects. Not just for our pets who are fortunate to be dogs and cats instead of pigs and sheep. But for the animals who give their lives in the most sickening of ways so that we can drink their babies milk, eat their meat and wear their skin. Imagine at the bare minimum if before we sipped that milky coffee we held a moment of reverence for the life that animal endured and her numerous calves taken from her at birth.

I’m sorry to be so forthright in an already tumultuous time. But if the Coronavirus has taught me anything it is teaching me to no longer hide in the shadows, trying to please anyone and everyone. Its teaching me to educate myself on the abhorrent ways we/I treat and have treated the planet and one another. And to work out how I can help rather than cause further harm. It’s teaching me that within us there is both light and dark, and we can choose how much of each we want in our lives and in the lives of others.

As the reality of the next few weeks is made clear, what the NHS staff will be witnessing, there are no words for. But there’s no space for fear in my heart, it is full to the brim of love for them, risking their lives to save others. I used to work for the NHS up until 12 years ago and as they have asked for old staff to return I have sent off my form and will wait to hear if I can be of use. No it won’t be pleasant work but I feel young, healthy and full of energy that I can give. This virus is teaching me that I am more than my little, small life… mother of 2 beings, wife, daughter, designer-maker.. I am a being capable of the most extraordinary of things. I can reduce suffering in the world within minutes by opting for oat milk over cows milk, I can donate money to charity, I can pop a few tins in the food bank box in the supermarket, I can support a small business, I can grow flowers for the bees, I can be a good friend, a kind mother, smile and be courteous to the person behind the till who has likely just witnessed the worst of us and probably needs cheering up. I have so much to give, there are so many ways I can help. Before the virus outbreak gosh I was doing very little, just thinking about my own tiny world and forgetting about my capacity to make changes for the greater good.

Many people are going to die. They will die on the wards without their family beside them. I am not trying to invoke fear in you, the opposite in fact. People and animals suffer all over the world at the hands of others all the time. That isn’t new. The virus is just putting worldwide suffering at the forefront of our consciousness. And rightly so. Because then we can decide if we are going to do something about it or not. NHS staff will work beyond the brink of exhaustion to save as many lives as they can. The least we can do now is try to reduce the spread by isolating and practising social distancing. We can leave food on the shop shelves so that they have something nutritious to eat when they finish their unimaginably long shift. And we can think about the part we want to play in our world.

And now we have a decision to make. We can either sit tight in our comfortable homes, riding it out, waiting for the storm to pass and come out of it exactly the same as we were. Or we can come out of this as more thoughtful, compassionate and kind beings to more than just our family, to more than just humans, with a respect for our planet that so lovingly gives us air to breathe, water to drink and food to eat.

Please if you can, spend time sitting with just yourself. Breathe in and out. As you breathe in know the world is nourishing you, as you breathe out you are nourishing it. The air you breathe came from another animal or human on the other side of the planet a mere few days ago. We are all connected. We are not separate. In this quiet space where you let your thoughts pass by, feel that energy inside of you. The energy that can change the world, a ripple at a time. The energy that fills your heart with so much love you wonder if your lifetime is enough to share it. The energy that makes you feel like the empowered spirit I know you are, not can be. You are. Imagine if you realised it. What a world it would be.

Sending you all love while we navigate this turbulent time. I set my intention here and now to be a different person in 3 months time. I won’t come out of this the same, I will grow and help others to grow too. My heart is full of grief and love at the same time. Grief for the effects of the virus and love that the planet is getting a moment to breathe. The duality of our world has never been so apparent. Loss is only loss because of love, anger is only anger because of passion and frustration is only frustration because of the desire to act in line with your truest nature, which is only love.

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These animal and bird earrings were supposed to be finished, beautifully photographed and backed upon gold embossed cards by now. (How laughable my obsession with control and schedules is now). I’d designed them earlier this year before the outbreak in reaction to our/my mindless treatment of animals and the planet. And 10% of the full sales were to go to Anima International . I don’t have the beautiful photographs, or the gold embossed cards (yet, they’re on their way) but they are ready non the less. They are available now and 10% of all full sales will go to Anima International. I’ve put a 2 week wait which I’ll try really hard to stick to but please be patient if I don’t or let me know if you ideally do need them for a certain date.

P.S

And as I have brought up animal cruelty in farming I wouldn’t want to leave you in the lurch without providing you with a go to next step. I am not trying to push you to be vegan. I enjoy a vegan diet and lifestyle but I don’t expect that just because it works for me it will work for everyone. I will try and write another blog soon about how I became vegan and any hurdles. But should you wish to know more about where your meat/fish/dairy is coming from then there’s lots of info to be found online. Some of it is shocking and you may not feel like you can delve into it yet. I still struggle with it and learn new things all the time as well as educate myself on the arguments against veganism to try and keep an open mind. I feel compassion for all those involved in the meat industry and I’d love a solution one day that supports animal welfare and the welfare of people who’s lives depend on the meat/fish and dairy industry income.

A good place to head to next is the Vegan Society . It has recipes, nutritional advice and facts about farming industries that are a little easier on the heart. I don’t follow many chefs as it can become overwhelming but my current favourites are: Anna Jones, (veggie and vegan – I just use the vegan recipes), Bosh and Aine Carlin.

Love to you all and I’ll write again soon,

Marie

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