Welcome to my first blog of 2020
I hope you are reading this full of hope and plans for a meaningful and productive year ahead.
While the country I live in is being ravaged by devastating fires, I have been forced to take stock of my life and its meaning. It’s hard to imagine just how painful it is for those who are caught up in the suffocating atmosphere, and for those who are volunteering their time to fight the spread of such fearsome fires. People have lost their lives, hundreds of thousands of animals have perished, and many properties and livelihoods have been destroyed. It really does make you think. I have been thinking about how much I take for granted. In fact, I have had what you could call an epiphany of sorts. I have woken up to the meaning of my life, at last.
Babies, women and kings
It isn’t just for this reason that today’s blog is titled Epiphany. You see today is actually called the feast of the Epiphany in the Christian calendar. It is so called because it is the day that Jesus was revealed as being someone of great importance to the world. This revelation was marked with the visit from three kings – Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar – also known as the three wise men, who came bearing gifts for the Baby Jesus.
Around the world, people will celebrate this day in many ways. When I lived in Spain, I revelled in the excitement of the local children as they anticipated the visit from ‘Los Reyes Magos’ on the eve of the Epiphany. I grew up anticipating the visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve whereas Spanish kids had to wait two more weeks before they received their gifts from the three wise men. In a number of European countries, it is tradition to eat a cake in the shape of a crown and kids take to the streets to sing songs about the kings.
In Mexico, the king cake has an added element to it. A figure of the Baby Jesus is hidden inside when there is a new baby in the house. The person to get the piece of cake with the hidden figure will be a Godparent to the child.
Back in Ireland, the 6th of January is known as Nollaig na mBan, or Women’s Little Christmas. On this day, it is tradition for women to come together to enjoy their own Christmas. Men are asked to stay at home to look after children and tend to the housework. The tradition is dying out in many parts of Ireland now, but I understand it is still going strong in the county of Cork where I come from. According to my sources, many bars and restaurants in Cork City are filled with women catching up with their friends, sisters, aunts and mothers to celebrate their own little Christmas together.
The eve of the Epiphany marks the twelfth night of Christmas, the end of the festive season and the day when decorations are taken down and packed away until next time. I spent a couple of hours doing this very task yesterday.
With the traditions out of the way, I can focus on my own epiphany. It wasn’t like a ‘light-bulb’ moment as such. It was more a series of enlightenments over the twelve days of Christmas that culminated in a feeling of peace and acceptance as I came to realise that I have found my truth. We all have the truth within us, and we are all free to choose what we believe. It is too easy to be led by others and their agendas but ultimately, we are responsible for what we accept as truth.
We live in a time when information overload is killing us. No matter where we turn, we get different opinions. Take Veganism as an example. For a very long time, I have felt sickened by the suffering of animals for my pleasure. If I see pigs, cows, sheep, chickens or any other animal, cooped up in dark, confined spaces being force-fed grains, antibiotics and hormones, I feel weak and want to curl up and cry. It is cruel to keep animals in this way however you wish to look at it. Imagine the stress they feel? They are sentient beings, just like my dog or your pet animal, if you have one. That is truth. Imagine what this does to our psyche as human beings, when we have to justify this cruelty in order to eat their bodies?
Then a headline pops up on my social media feed that reads ‘Eating Meat Is Good For You’ and another one that says ‘Drinking Red Wine Prevents Cancer’. It’s as if my social media feed is trying to convince me that I’ve got it all wrong. In the past I would have felt confused and overwhelmed. But not anymore. I have woken up to the fact that these headlines are the result of somebody else’s truth, in particular, the meat and alcohol industries. I am not buying these things anymore because I have made an informed choice about what I want to put into my body. Just as the CEOs and shareholders of those companies have done, I have decided what is my truth.
Whose truth is it anyway?
Look at what’s happening with Climate Change in Australia. The ruling government has chosen to believe the companies with a vested interest in pretending it’s not real, companies that promote the mining and burning of coal as an example. These companies are powerful because they use money as a bargaining tool. They fund research that aims to disprove the evidence that has been gathered by scientists whose only interest is to save the planet. They hire scientists to work for them who will sell their souls by producing reports for money, reports that match the agenda of the people who paid for them. The same scientists that once told us that smoking wasn’t linked to cancer and alcohol isn’t a drug. Then the newspapers take the research and turn it into a narrative that will push the political agenda, the same newspapers that helped put the politicians into the top jobs.
A tobacco executive in the US was once quoted as saying ‘Doubt is our product’. By paying scientists to come up with an appropriate piece of research, they were able to sell their toxic product to millions of unquestioning victims. In their eyes, once there was doubt, the truth was hidden.
Let your core values guide you
If we were to follow the money trail behind every piece of research out there, we would find the answers to many questions. We mostly believe what matches our values and belief system, also known as information bias. I choose to believe what my inner voice is telling me. Eating farmed animals, farmed fish and dairy from farmed animals is bad for me. Just as alcohol, tobacco and drugs are bad for me. This is my truth and I will not be swayed by any further research. I have been a guinea pig for my own research, and I have suffered the consequences of those experiments. Apart from the obvious impact it had on my body, it was my mind that felt it the most. I feel a deep sense of freedom from knowing that no animal will have to suffer for my pleasure again and I will no longer have to suffer the knowledge that I am killing my body and mind with toxins.
I realise it is challenging in this day and age to avoid toxic chemicals, but I am trying to eliminate them from my life as much as possible.
We have to start somewhere. I started with my thinking. I question everything. I remain curious about people’s motives and choose my truth carefully. I avoid people and things that are toxic to me. The greatest epiphany of all is the one that allowed me to wake up to my true self and to love my life for all that it is. I have everything I need to be happy and I am truly grateful. I don’t want to inflict suffering on any living thing, and I will not live in denial of truth.
So, if you are confused about the whys and the why nots in your life, my advice to you is to read as much as you can about the matter, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries and make an informed choice that resonates with your true desires in life. Remember,
Truth always prevails in the end.
Thanks for being here. Best of luck to you with your new year’s resolutions, or should I say, revelations.