7.5.15 – Northern Hemisphere
Last night my fiancé and I hosted a BBQ for our friends, with hamburgers and hot dogs. I ate a mushroom burger.
I was, from the ages of 10 to 25, vegetarian; it started when my family gave up meat for Lent. At the end of Lent, my dad cooked a bunch of hamburgers to celebrate. I clearly remember thinking, as I hate my hamburger, “Huh. I don’t actually like meat that much. And it seems really wrong to put animals through all that suffering and death, just for me.” I told my dad I wanted to be vegetarian, and he agreed that I would be allowed, on a few conditions: that I read several books about proper nutrition; that I plan and prepare my own meals; and that I not be a pain in the butt about it, because no one else in my family was going to give up meat, and they shouldn’t have to sit through me lecturing them about animal cruelty. I mostly followed these rules, and remained vegetarian throughout middle school, high school, and college, and on into my mid-twenties… at which time, I started watching Anthony Bourdain.
I blame him for everything. I went off my vegetarian diet and it was delicious. I ate pork, beef, boar, bison, deer, goat, lamb, rabbit — Seattle’s a big restaurant town, and there are plenty of places to get some pretty unusual meats, as well as seafood. And yet, it didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel right for a few reasons: for one thing, it coincided with a time in my life when I felt a loss of spiritual identity (I’d been raised Episcopalian but, for the first time, really started to drift away from the church, as I started questioning a lot of assumptions I’d made). For another, I never addressed the problem I’d originally had with eating meat — the cruel, filthy conditions in which most animals are kept prior to their slaughter, often force-fed, and generally not allowed to roam around at all. And finally, it didn’t feel right. I gained a bunch of weight, and started having some digestion problems the likes of which I didn’t have when I was younger at all.
I’m not the greatest at discerning things. I’ll use logic to justify my feelings, or use social expectations to suppress my feelings, or simply ignore my feelings in deference for what someone else wants, because it’s easer. I constantly wind up betraying myself, because ultimately, the thing that will continue to matter regardless of what anyone else says is that it doesn’t feel right. And nothing I do can make it feel right. Sometimes following your heart just has to happen. Sometimes you have to respect your instincts, and your feelings, even when they’re a mystery to you. In the same way that a cheating lover doesn’t feel faithful, or a shoe that’s exactly your size still pinches, some things, regardless of whether they have the appearance of being right, just aren’t right for you.
So here it is, my advice for today: do what you feel is right. Follow your heart, especially in matters of the heart. Intuition isn’t illogical, only mysterious.
Sunday is a day for fortune, money, work, and promotions. It is a day for working with plants and gardening, and celebrating the nurturing growth of the sun. Right now that feels a little inevitable, because it’s meant to be 91° F today.
Herbs: Frankincense, lemon, St. John’s Wort
Colors: Gold, orange, yellow, white
Season: Summer, after Litha/Midsummer