A Life-Affirming Experience

There are moments in your life that can help define what really matters to you. Moments that can help solidify your life's purpose. 

For me, this past weekend proved to be monumental because of two experiences that have forever changed me for the better. On Sunday, I found a note in my inbox from my dear friend Molly.  Her email to me was an unbelievably kind, sincere, and generous note about how much my blog has impacted her life.  Molly's words touched me deeply, and the experience of receiving such a special response is exactly what I had hoped to accomplish with this blog - to connect people in a tangible way to how rewarding, important, and easy a vegan lifestyle can really be. 

 As if that wasn't enough to warm my heart for the day, Steve and I were finally able to visit the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Now, I have always been an animal person, so I knew I would love spending time with these beautiful creatures. What I was not prepared for, however, was much they really would change me. I cannot go back, only forward knowing that my experience at Woodstock will keep me from ever consuming meat, eggs, or dairy again (as well as purchasing a single product tested on or made from animals). 

Whether it was cuddling up next to a goat named Albie, feeding a carrot to a big, friendly cow named Elvis, or gently petting a sweet and majestic turkey named Olivia, the animals (and people) living at this sanctuary are a symbol of hope in the midst of so much darkness. These animals have not only begun to finally enjoy their freedom, but they have enough goodness in them to forgive and trust the same species that had abused them again and again up until this point. It was clear to see how much co-founder Jenny Brown loves each and every being that enters her farm doors as she took us around for a tour and carefully introduced us to each group of animals. The only word I can think to describe my experience at this sanctuary was heavenly - the air was crisp and clean, the atmosphere peaceful and quiet. Despite the large amount of varying animals living in this place, there was a calm there that happily surprised me. It was an honor to be a guest in their home for a day.

What better way to celebrate these two experiences than to combine them? Below, please enjoy a few of the many pictures I took at Woodstock, as well as Molly's beautiful letter. Also included are a few quotes I found within Amy Hatkoff's book, The Inner World of Farm Animals, which Steve and I purchased at the Woodstock FAS's gift shop.


I just wanted to say thank you for opening up my eyes to a different way of living... it can be confusing to understand how someone who wasn't always a vegan became a vegan, and how someone who is such a "foodie" can also be a vegan.  And then I read your blog and it all makes sense. Thank you for making me curious to understand what it means to be a vegan.  I think you have done a great job to show your readers that human compassion and the desire to change the world in a big way doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your love of cupcakes.  I have unconsciously found myself eating more vegetarian meals and less meat.  I have started to click on the links on your website and read the Vegan Dad and other posts.  I've found myself googling vegan recipes.  And last night I served a couple in the restaurant who was vegan, and to them it was no big deal.  They ate a salad with avocado, tomatoes, and olives, the delicious soup that is always made without cream or chicken stock and a pasta with red sauce. How easy!  I can do that! 

You have opened my eyes to what it means to be a Vegan, and how it doesn't have to be as big of a deal as so many people make it out to be.  I can make simple choices that make me feel better, like ordering a salad with chick peas instead of feta, or pouring almond milk on my oatmeal. 

Anyways, I'm really proud of you!"

Our problem with realizing the full implications of animal sentience may not be the difficulty of 'liberating' animals, but of liberating ourselves from centuries of conditioned thinking. Only then can we see animals for who they are and award them the respect and compassion they deserve.
- Joyce D'Silva, ambassador, Compassion in World Farming

To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.
- Gandhi

Animals are conscious of the present and can anticipate the future. They are aware of themselves and of the environment. They know when they are comfortable or uncomfortable. They seem to be able to perceive pain the way we do. If you look at their brains, they are not that different than ours.
- Katherine Haupt, professor of animal behavior, Cornell University

Pigs develop close relationships, particularly if they have grown up together. If they have the opportunity to mature together, the bond pretty much lasts a lifetime. They will make choices to be with one another - to sleep together, take mud baths together, and roam together. They become partners.
- Kim Sterla, co-founder, Animal Place

For us, the animals are understood to be our equals. They are still our teachers. They are our helpers and our healers. They have been our guardians and we have been theirs... We have deep obligations to them. Without the other animals, we are made less.
- Linda Hogen, novelist

... Animals undoubtedly feel, think, love, hate, will, and even reason.
- David Hume

Animals share with us the privilege of having a soul.
- Pythagoras


veganf said…
Looks like a wonderful visit!
lazysmurf said…
WOW that is so cool that she wrote you that letter, that makes me really happy!
Myra Wolf said…
I love your article and want a hill like that in my backyard.

Animals help you find your peace.

They are without doubt, a great teacher of balance. That is where alot of their intelligence is seen over humans.

I don't think many people have ever seen an animal feel sorry for itself. Despite the bleakest circumstance, they have an acceptance for a balanced condition inside of them. Maybe because of their ability to balance we see them as unconditional..

They don't blame. I think that is probably a condition humans invented. That is why an animal can love in the purest form. They aren't chewed up inside with blame.

Another human condition is to look at purity in a living soul as stupid and sometimes blantantly annoying. It gives humans the condition of a superior ego.

As you take this journey of other life forms and what humans do to them, you also find your purity Lindsay. It is speaking here through your words and experiences.
You are purely in love with the balance you are being taught.

So much beauty in one post!
Heavy Metta said…
Thank you for doing this. Peace for all sentient beings!
petrina said…
Thank you so much for that picture of Anne the baby goat. I see her horns have grown!! I can't wait to see her again in late December!!