I started working on a simple assignment for my stress management class, talking about an experience where I was mindful this week. Next thing I know I am typing a full blown rant and word vomiting(if you’ve seen Mean Girls) all over my computer. I got so into it that I thought I’d share it here as a post. I know I’ve been gone for a very, very long time…
Mindful Awareness Reflection Journal
Describe your experience
This month I have been paying close attention to what I am eating and getting in the habit of mindful eating. Many people like to try new things at the beginning of the new year. Last year I went back and forth from being vegan to vegetarian, to eating whatever I want without thinking about it. This year my husband and I decided to commit to being vegan after watching a documentary narrated by actor Joaquin Pheonix called “Earthlings”. Before going to sleep we decided to watch the documentary, not knowing how powerful it would be. I knew the reputation this movie had but was not at all prepared. “Earthlings” was an hour and a half of animal abuse footage ranging from the meat, dairy, leather, and even circus industries. Within the first ten minutes I became emotional and couldn’t believe my eyes but I told myself to finish the film. What my husband and I thought was a simple movie night lead to a major life change for us.
2. Intentional Attention
Describe what you noticed
|BREATH: My breath was even most of the time. A few times I caught myself skipping breaths/holding them in out of shock.|
|BODY: I was lying down at first, by the end of the movie I was sitting up straight.|
|EMOTIONS: I felt, sad, overwhelmed, and mostly disgusted.|
|THOUGHTS: I thought about the pain the animals were feeling, I wondered how humans could treat living creatures this way, and asked how could my husband and I help.|
|SENSES: I could physically feel my heart beat pounding in my ears and chest, and the tears welling in my eyes.|
3. Accept Without Judgment
Describe judgment; acceptance
The judgements I made were mostly about the humans in the film. I was outraged and could not understand how people could do the things I saw. I made judgements that those people should be put in jail and that anyone responsible for the way these industries are run should be held accountable. I decided how I think things should be done and made my opinions based off the information I had learned. This was one of many health, plant-based, meat and dairy industry documentaries I have seen, but “Earthlings” completely changed my perspective on how humans should eat and treat animals.
4. Action Toward Change
Intention/willingness; new perspective
While at first I thought negatively about the industries, people I saw, and the fact that the government is doing nothing to stop it. I then decided to channel my energy away from judgements and towards change. How could I help? How can I be involved? Is eating meat necessary? How can we compel society to change? How could we be blinded for so long? I decided to channel my anger into finding the answers to these questions. This also lead me to make decisions every day about what I was going to put into my body. I wanted to see how my husband and I would feel when we took meat out of our diets. After a few weeks of the experiment I can say that I feel not only physically better, but also better about myself.
5. Mindful Meditation Experience (Mindful Practice)
What did you notice about your meditation experience this week?
After seeing “Earthlings” I knew I wanted to help the cause in some way. I was thinking about the bigger picture when I realized that was not the place to start. The way to make change is one person at a time, within each community. When my husband and I decided to go vegan, I noticed a few things. The most noticeable thing at first was the fact that we felt better about ourselves. It’s a good thing knowing you are doing something good for someone else, or in this case, the animals. We want to show our friends and families what it truly means to eat animal products. I wondered how I had lived most of my life eating this way and never thinking twice about it. Society does not have a problem eating meat because we have been blinded to what this really means. We have not been shown the reality of this traditional way of eating. After a few weeks we noticed we had more energy, felt less heavy, and had clearer skin.
What I’ve learned this week is that being mindful about what you eat is much more than fully experiencing a meal. It is about knowing why you are putting this in your body and understanding what it does for you. We would not want to put unhealthy foods into our bodies if we were practicing mindful eating.