Ann Southcombe is president of The Kerulos Center’s board of directors. For over 35 years, she has worked as an Animal Relation Specialist and licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
I had nothing in my mind to inspire me for my monthly Writers Group. I tried and tried to get back to my book. Nothing popped up. Then, my friend Cyndy commented on a photo of a pumpkin I posted on Facebook. She suggested that I could write about the pumpkin and bring it as a “show and tell” for our group. I could see sharing the cute pumpkin but saw no story to tell.
Then this morning after listening to a video by Vandana Shiva, one of my heroes, I was inspired! On the video she said how science is spirituality. Quantum mechanics is about understanding deep patterns, understanding lasting process and how things hang together, and what is our place in the Universe. We are a very small part yet having a great responsibility for our impact on the rest of the world.
After watching the video, I sat and stared at my pumpkin. I was immediately drawn into the mind state of the little Buddha squirrel. I became connected to the natural world. I was one with all non-human animal life, which is not hard for me to do!
This being November, the month of giving thanks I was enveloped in the Thanksgiving energy. This time of year has also become a very sad one for me. Listening to Vandana Shiva also put me in touch with how much humans create culture, how we live our lives. Today we live in a complex world that goes faster and faster. We do things out of habit without thinking of what is behind our choices.
I know I have had a different experience with my close encounters with many non-human species. I know for a fact they all think and feel. But many humans are oblivious. Oh, yes they are connected to the animals who live in their homes and would do anything for them, but most of the time, that is as far as it goes.
When I got deep into the little squirrel energy, I felt a smile coming from the non-human animal world. I was seeing how far humans have come in their understanding of us being a part of the whole. When we harm others physically or emotionally, in the end it hurts us. Our economy is based on using the earth’s resources to make products we don’t need in order to create jobs that only will create a depletion of resources and an increase in billionaires and poverty.
Most of all I was feeling how we as a species have gone from African-Americans being non-human to humans with rights. Women have more rights, disabled have more rights. Things are far from perfect but slowly going in the right direction. I am seeing the same for our non-human partners on the planet.
Thanksgiving now is my saddest month because we humans celebrate thankfulness while happily consuming a tortured dead animal 90% of people don’t think about this or don’t care. 300 million turkeys are slaughtered for our Thanksgiving celebrations. These factory-farmed birds are bred to be so large (white meat brings in the most money) that their bones break under the weight. Many turkeys cannot perform natural breeding behaviors so they have to be artificially inseminated. Some hens are artificially bred up to 30 times in one laying year. Turkeys can live up to 10 years, but in the life of a factory-farmed turkey, many are slaughtered at 12 weeks—probably a blessing because their lives are so miserable.
Why then am I smiling? Because seeing the future through my squirrel Buddha’s eyes, I see a different future. One where vegan and vegetarian menus for Thanksgiving will be the norm and not the weird. We will celebrate the oneness of all life and give thanks for our non-GMO healthy food. I will still continue to be sad on Thanksgiving but with a glint of hope. I believe we will evolve as a species to include our non-humans companions on our planet as our families. As my friend Gay Bradshaw said in response to a horrible out break of diseases in chicken meat at a factory farm, “Science’s message is simple: there are consequences when you eat someone with a brain and mind comparable to or greater than your own.”
Thank you Buddha Squirrel for a message of hope!