Four of my inspirations...Bonkers, Osito, HoneyBun, and Callie in the back.
Four of my inspirations…Bonkers, Osito, HoneyBun, and Callie in the back.

When I look back to my life almost 5 years ago, what I see in myself makes me sad. I was sleep walking through life. The only time I think I felt alive is when I was running. And that’s because I was running from a lot of problems, or maybe the better word to use is doubts. Doubts about myself. Doubts about my marriage. About whether or not I wanted to have kids. About whether what I had then was all that there is to be in life.

If you had said to me five years ago that I would be riding my bike to work or taking mass transit, I would have laughed. My motto was always “friends don’t let friends take mass transit.” (true story). If you would have told me that I would be living alone with 5 cats and a dog, I never would have believed you. I wouldn’t have thought about how much love I feel in my heart when I come home from a day at work, and there are 6 furry creatures crowding toward the door with one wagging her tail quite enthusiastically. It is the best moment of my day, because they are my family. (Granted, they are probably crowding the door because they are hungry, but I choose to think it’s because they love their mommy.)

Back then, I don’t think I even knew that tiny houses existed. Or even heard the term “peak oil.”  I was afraid to volunteer at an animal shelter because I was worried I would get too attached to the animals. Well, maybe it is true that I get very attached to some of them (ahem, did I mention I have 5 cats?), and I now consider my visits to the shelter as one of the biggest highlights of my week. Sure, I’m not doing something glamorous – in fact it’s dirty work, cleaning out stalls. But I absolutely love the way the animals respond when they see me or one of the other volunteers. They know they’re safe with us. Also, the horse and pony know I usually have treats on me in the form of an apple or carrots, etc.

Back then, I ate meat. Summertime meant grilled steak tips or chicken. I had no clue about how animals were treated on factory farms, or if I did, I chose not to think about it. Nowadays, while I still like the aroma of cooked meat, I can’t bring myself to eat any of it. It’s because I realize that every person can make a small difference and the result of all of us can be cumulative. So if someone asks me why I am  vegetarian, I explain why. I don’t want to be a part of any of that suffering. So that’s why I am now working on cutting out dairy. People say to me “but they don’t slaughter the dairy cows” but yes, I think they do. They all eventually come to an end.

Right now, I’m taking an Intro to Animal Science class and the chapter we are covering now is called “Harvest.” Not the harvest that you think of where you end up with a bunch of awesome fruits and veggies, but as in “harvesting” an animal. It’s killing me to listen to it. I know that the professor is definitely from the midwest and has grown up with that way of life, so I try to not fault him.  People in that world tend to view animals as a commodity, whereas I view them as a living, breathing, feeling soul. I have to write a brief research paper for the class, and I’d like to stay in line with my values, so I have to see what I can come up with. I’ll report back on that.

I recently came upon a webpage called I watched the video that shows up on the home page a few times.  I found myself with tears in my eyes. Maybe I was just tired, but I think it’s because I was just really touched. Because I really DO want to make a difference in this world. I know it will involve animals or converting my tiny house to solar in the future, or gardening and providing all or most of my own food. I am just getting this feeling that day by day, I’m getting closer to whatever it is I am meant to do.

I know how to research – that’s one thing I do quite well, given my current profession, but I want to be able to take that research, that insatiable wanting to learn more and actually DO something with it.  Thing is, I feel like I don’t know enough about one particular thing to be able to put it into action. Or I don’t have the resources to do it and don’t know how to get started. I’ve recently begun thinking of how I can help homeless animals or injured animals and I keep coming back to one word “sanctuary.” I just don’t know how to make it work, short of adopting all of them myself, and I know that’s not realistic.

I’m not sure where I am going with all of this but it’s just been a feeling gnawing at me lately. I know I need to be patient and the next phase of my life will start soon enough. I just want to make a REAL difference in the world.

Does anyone else out there feel like this, now or in the past? If so, please drop me a line. Hell, drop me a line if anything in this post touched you. And thank you for reading. 


14 thoughts on “Awakening

  • i feel like this all the time. I’m just not sure which direction to go in because I have so many different thoughts.

    • It is the same with me. But I’ve just started using a free app on my phone called “calm.” They take you through a 7 day process of showing you how to meditate. When you do it, you see how much your thoughts scatter, but the idea is to not be angry at yourself for it but just focus on bringing it back to the present.

  • Hi Terri,
    I had an epiphany about meat eating several years ago after watching a documentary about the meat industry and its horrific antics, lies, and cruelty. I, very soon after stopping eating meat, did some research into how dairy cattle were treated and laying hens and thus decided to become a vegan. I’ve never been happier. I am the only vegan in my family,and workplace. When I first started, others would warn me of the dire consequences of not getting enough protein and such; it was all rubbish. I have never felt healthier — physically and spiritually. I would bet there would be alot more of us if a person had to kill what they ate or visited a slaughterhouse. Giving up dairy/milk was also easier when I realized that humans are the only animals that continue to ingest milk after beginning to eat solid foods. The need for milk is a lie propagated by the dairy industry. It sometimes feels lonely out here, but when I read about or meet someone like yourself that has the same feelings it doesn’t feel so lonely anymore. If you haven’t seen it already, watch the video cowspiracy and look at the research on their website. The highest form of treasure hunting is seeking the truth. You are on a journey of seeking truth. Keep on keeping on. I’m inspired by you and other likeminded individuals.

    • David, thank you so much for taking the time to write such an honest comment. I am going to watch that movie Cowspiracy – it’s probably one of the few I have not seen yet. So thank you for the reminder. Checking to see if it’s on netflix or amazon prime. May I ask what you eat when you might be wanting to eat something like eggs?

      And I agree, the part about protein is a bunch of crap. The dairy industry and meat industry have poured so much money into getting themselves put on that food pyramid. It’s amazing what they teach little kids and then we think that’s the way it has to be, going forward. Personally, I do feel much better since not eating meat. Thank you for the inspiration – maybe I can do this vegan thing!!

      I am glad I can inspire you – and thank you for inspiring me in turn. Thank you so much for your comment.

      • Hi, Terri, here is the link I should have posted yesterday: Their site has so many interesting facts and research data for everyone wanting to make changes in their lives that will have long-lasting positive impacts on our planet and its creatures.
        I want to add that I don’t go around preaching veganism. It was right for me and how I’ve come to view the world and the animals that have become an industry for the rich. Although I don’t use any animal products for consumption or clothing, I really don’t see anything wrong with consuming eggs from free range chickens. I truly believe that if an animal is to be eaten, it should be taken with respect, as our Native Americans believed. They believed, as I do, that animals are sentient beings. I applaud you for already making a difference.

      • oh David, i completely agree – they are sentient beings, no matter what anyone says. I looked and it didn’t look like amazon prime or netflix have the movie, so I’ll get it another way, probably just through their site if you can stream it. Oh, and I should say, I have not been drinking regular milk for a while now – I do coconut milk or almond milk (don’t really like the taste of the soymilk.) And I gave up coffee a few weeks ago and feel much better for it.

        i started watching a video this morning while at the gym called “Milk?” Have you seen it? I also try to not use any animal products for my clothes – when i saw how sheep were treated for their wool, I went home and cleared out my closet (including winter jacket) of clothes that had wool in them. I only have one pair of boots that have some leather in them now and when they die, that’s it for wearing boots that have leather in them. (I was glad i kept them for this winter in Boston. i hope to never have to wear them again!!)

        If I have been eating eggs, I have made sure that they are free range eggs. But I’ve also heard that they aren’t necessarily treated that well either. So I’m trying to cut down on that too. Occasionally, the hen at the animal shelter where I volunteer does lay an egg or two and wow, do they taste amazing. I took a picture once of her yolk and a store bought egg’s yolk and they were two completely different colors. Hers tasted much better too. -)

        Thank you for saying that – I am trying.

  • You’re like Punky Brewster, nothing matches on your bed =)

    I like to make a difference by doing little things. I don’t need to do extravagant things. I always bring my elderly neighbor’s trash bin back to their gate on trash day. Its only 10 ft away but still =)

    • Yes, I am like Punky Brewster! I used to have everything match. But when you have as many pets as I do, the odds of one of them getting sick on the bed (as in, because they eat their food too quickly) is pretty high. So it’s a lot easier for me to just wash a few blankets instead of a big comforter. Usually when I do have a comforter on the bed, I still cover it on top with blankets for the same reason – too much of a chance of someone having a hairball, etc.

      I do think little things are really great too. I just want to find out what I can do enough of – little things – helping animals, that can make a bigger impact.

      • Glad you’re not the Pinterest type where everything needs to be picture perfect =) I’m downsizing and readying myself for RV living. All that fluff I bought for home has been given away or trashed and it was a good feeling =)

        Little things to help animals could be posting links to your favorite animal sanctuary every now and then. Posting that especially around the United Way campaign seasons. A lot of corporate people are strong armed to donate through their employer via payroll deduction. We’ll remember to designate the donation for animal causes at least. UW felt like the mafia, you donate or they come for your kneecaps.

      • You went to U Dub? They churn out a lot of law librarians there too. And um, nope, hardly does anything have to be perfect with me. I’m past that stage in my life now.

        I will do that – I have a few sanctuaries I want to help out and I’m glad there is at least one near where I hope to move.

  • UW is United Way. Corporate folks will know what I’m talking about with them. They come around once a year to make a donation pitch. You’re semi-obligated to attend and you’re “encouraged” to pledge via payroll deduction from your boss. The tone is set from way up top and they have goals they want to hit like % increase over last year and 100% participation rate, blah blah blah. Ok, enough of my rant.

    • That is insane. If the company wants to hit a certain goal, then they should just pay it on their own. I would be quite pissed if something like that got forced on me.

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