Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

–some ancient dude

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Today is my second consecutive day of being a vegetarian.  Yes, after 12 days of successful vegetarianism, I had to start over.  Again.  Wednesday I ordered vegetable fried rice at one of my favorite Thai restaurants. I was two lusty bites in to the tastey dish before I remembered that I had forgotten to ask the waitress to hold the egg.  BLARG!  Seventy-five days of trying and I cannot get past the two week mark.  

Wednesday’s egg was an accident. Thursday’s kill was not.  It was a selfish act of mindful entitlement.  My sister had been raving about the new haddock dish at Abuelo’s and I figured since I had to start over anyway I’d see what all the fuss was about. Plus, spring had sprung and I had a week off and you know how I get when there are holidays (i.e., The Valentine’s Day Slaughter). Besides, this has been a very annoying and stressful semester. My dog died in a mercy killing last week and Thursday I decided that something else needed to die to make me happy. So there. I ate the fish. 

People have started asking me (often with accompanying smirks or patronizing smiles) to explain what this enlightenment/vegetarian quest is all about.  I don’t know what to say in response to that.  I’m not here to proselytize.  I’m not trying to convert  anyone to my way of eating or thinking or being. I’m just trying to move through this crazy world with a bit more grace and, in accordance with my values, find my way.  In the words of Gerard Manly Hopkins, “What I do is me: For that I came.”

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You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.

-Rene Daumal

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