If Not Now, When?

 

Around the first of the year, people kept asking me if I made any New Years resolutions.  My answer was always the same: “Anything that is that important to me, I will start right away.”

I remember as a kid, the first time I heard someone say, “Mother’s day is everyday.”  I was in elementary school and it made such an impression on me.  Why do we just honor our mothers and fathers one day out of the year?  What does that say about how we are doing the rest of the year?

The same is true for Earth Day. Really? Do we really think we can just pay attention to the Earth, our HOME, one day out of the year?

And what about Be Kind to Animals Week.  Doesn’t that mean that all the other weeks are Be Cruel to Animals Weeks?

And, while I know that Meatless Mondays is a start for many people, I can’t help but think that if we are aware enough to cut out meat on one day, we are ignoring what we believe for the other 6 days.  A friend of mine says it could be called “Meatless Monday, then Senseless Slaughter Thru Sunday.”  I am not trying to be critical of something that is certainly a positive step toward living compassionately.  And, I still wonder what that says about us on the other days we choose to ignore what we know.

There is a website that promotes being a “weekday vegetarian” and even provides recipes for your meat eating weekends.

Here is just a small sampling of their recent suggestions:

5 Weekday Vegetarian Meal Suggestions, with Tunisian-Braised Short Ribs for the Weekend

For the weekdays, try these great recipes for Sweet Potato Cornbread, Squash, Sage and Feta Pasta Bake, Vegetable Tagine, and more; once the weekend comes, try this great recipe for Tunisian-Braised Short Ribs.

Become a Weekday Vegetarian: Eat Pork and Fennel Ragu

Learn more about how a weekday vegetarian diet and lifestyle works, and where this delicious Pork and Fennel Ragu fits in.

If we were talking about some other lifestyle choices, we would never share publicly if we were going to put it off for another time or ignore it for most of the week or year.

Most people would not be proud to say,  “I am going to stop beating my dog on Mondays.”  Or, “I am going to stop beating my kids and wife one week each year.”   Or, “I will think about how I beat up my wife on Be Kind to Wives Day.” Or, “I will only beat my kids on the weekend.”

The very awareness that created these special days is the same awareness that can be our incentive to stop our violent practices immediately and choose this new way consistently.

If this seems like an extreme comparison to you, I can word it more accurately in terms of the reality of the situation.  It is December 1st and a friend says to you, “I will stop paying someone else to imprison and murder individuals for the New Year.”  Or, “I will stop paying someone to steal babies from their mothers for one day a week when Be Kind to Babies Week is here.”  Or, “I won’t pay for slaughtering innocent beings during the week, but I will pay for it on weekends.”  Wouldn’t you wonder why they don’t just stop paying for this kind of violence and suffering now and at least try to do it consistently?

The reality of animal agriculture is that we are imprisoning and murdering individuals who have committed no crime.  The reality of dairy is that babies are stolen from their mothers every day so that we humans can have the milk and the meat/veal industry can have the male calves.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am grateful that a friend said to me recently, “I am going to start practicing veganism in the New Year.”  But, I also wonder what happens to our spirits and our belief in ourselves and our values when we can postpone life-affirming choices that are consistent with who and what we say we care about.

I have never met anyone who is 100% consistent in their compassionate values, myself included.  But, I have seen the peace that comes when someone makes consistent choices that are in alignment with their values as much as possible.  I would like to see a time come when everyday is Mother’s and Father’s and Children’s Day and all mothers, fathers and children are included, human and non-human.  I would like to see a time when everyday is Earth Day and it is reflected in our daily choices.

No governing body needs to decide when these holidays are.  We can choose for ourselves.  As individuals, families and communities, we can choose to celebrate life everyday…starting now.

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About RaeSikora

Rae Sikora has been a spokesperson for animals, the environment and human rights for over 30 years. Her programs have been changing people's vision of what is possible to create in our lives and in the world. Rae has worked internationally with participants ranging from teachers, students and prisoners to businesses and activists. As co-founder of the Institute for Humane Education, Rae created interactive critical thinking tools that are now being used by people around the globe. Rae draws from years of experience to help individuals and groups discover how implementing changes personally/locally can bring about positive change globally for all life. She is and co-founder of VegFund and co-founder/co-director of Plant Peace Daily.
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