New Beginnings – January 1, 2012

So, I am restarting my blog.

I’ve been meaning to get back to it for quite some time, but inertia…you understand. Then, I decided to conduct a personal experiment for the next year – all 366 days of it.  I am going to spend the next year NOT eating meat.  Mostly, I just want to see if I can do it.  But, part of me is also developing a much different perspective on the use of animals for food.  Again, though, it’s mostly because I just want to see if it’s something I can accomplish – much as some of my friends periodically give up alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine.

Strange how people respond when you say you’re going to give up meat, even if only temporarily.  Some seem to take it personally and say some fairly harsh things.  I don’t really get attacking someone’s personal choices in such a manner.  Folks who know me know I have a pretty strong libertarian (small ‘l’, not large) streak running through me; so, I really do try to accept people’s choices at face value.  If they’re making an obviously harmful choice, based on objective evidence – not my opinion, then I will say something.  But, when it comes to daily, life choices, it’s simply none of my business.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with meat for the better part of the last twenty years.  I love meat.  I am well known as a fairly accomplished smoker/griller, and I admit to thoroughly enjoying the positive accolades I get when I turn out something that is especially tasty.   On the other hand, the older I get the less I like being involved in killing and violence.  And, make no mistake, if you eat meat, you’re involved in the killing of the animal, however passively.  This is something many try to avoid acknowledging, but it is true.  I am guessing this awareness for me has increased as I’ve amplified my studies in Buddhism…mindfulness and interconnectedness being key components of Zen study.  Not all, maybe not even most Buddhists, are vegetarians.  But, a good many are aware of the food process from start to finish, even the ugly bits.

I don’t plan to preach, but I am sure some will take my comments over the next year in that way.  That’s unfortunate.  I am far more likely to “preach” about environmental and forestry practices, which I will also be commenting on as the year progresses.  That’s something about which I feel quite passionately.  I hope I can convince you to be just as passionate about it.  We need to “put feets to our prayers” to quote a preacher from my youth.

Oh, and my first non-meat meal of the year 2012?  The very fine Where’s the Beef sandwich served to me by Courtney and Olga at Espresso World in Kennewick, Washington.  Mmm…mmm…good!

If you’re new to my blog, then I highly recommend reading many of the previous entries, which mostly cover my time in Saudi Arabia.  I think you will enjoy them.  If you’ve followed me in the past, you may enjoy re-reading some of them.

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