Making claims,
Judgment falls.
Bind us all.



Compare, contrast
Mete out worth
Based on looks
Or place of birth.

Fear feeds beliefs
That serve to divide
"My way is better... 
Choose the right side."

A wise woman, Rev. Nancy Dean, once said, "Speak the truth with love." That phrase resonated with me at the time and I have carried that as a mantra with me ever since. I believe it's important to speak our truth. I believe it's even more important to do so with love.

Speaking our truth with love means we choose to stand in what we believe is right and true. It means we have the right to share our thoughts, facts, and opinions with kindness, and the responsibility to inform rather than prove someone else wrong. The intent to prove someone wrong can be harmful. The intent to inform, if done with love, can be enlightening and lifting to another.

Love leaves room for someone to have their own opinion on the matter. Love means we listen to what the other person says, hearing them out before coming up with a response. It means we consider and ponder and feel out what they said and see if their truth holds some truth for us as well.

Words can trip us up. At times, they are woefully inadequate to capture our thoughts and feelings. They don't always have the same connotation for everyone, and many words are used one way in practice, but the actual definition varies slightly.

I've been struggling this week with the statement that vegans are living "cruelty-free". I've turned this statement around, upside-down, trying to see it from many sides. I can't buy into it. I watched a conversation on Facebook turn from "I'm proud to be a vegan and everyone else can do what they want - it doesn't bother me" to them taking offense when someone else asked questions about the lifestyle and offered other perspectives. I think we need to be mindful of using the word "proud", for when we whip out that word, we are engaging our ego. And we're not living "cruelty-free" if our words are used to cut someone down, no matter what we're eating.

I disagree with the concept that any human in this day and age is living cruelty-free. We can choose to have a lighter footprint on this planet that we share with the 8.7 million other species, eat locally and organically, and become activists to foster change in laws and lifestyle so that everyone has what they need without poisoning the very planet that supports us.

But we have a long way to go. We must change our thinking. The concept of living "cruelty-free" must include our thoughts and words as well as our actions, and cannot be limited to what we put in and on our bodies. Until every human has food, water, shelter, clean water and air, and health care, we are not living "cruelty-free". Until we have remembered how to live within the balance of life so that as we destroy for our needs we also create and fill the needs of others, we are not "cruelty-free".

Just some food for thought. Thank you for listening.

Love & Light,


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