Creating the vegan future using Harmony Stories: a practice

 

Here is a practice that can help us to envision the beautiful future that we have only imagined can be true. It is a way of bringing into the present something that we believe is in alignment with universal truth–a world where all life can thrive. Here are the instructions: 

Step 1: Choose a project or goal or vision you are working on. 

Step. 2 Pick a date in the future. Go into the future as far as you would like. It depends on if you are looking to visualize short term goals or long term goals. 

Step 3: Start speaking as if you are in the future, and things that you would like to have happened, have already happened. Here is an example of how I envision a project I am working on using the Harmony Story technique: 

I am creating a structure for Compassionate Living Circles which are inspired by the movie, Prayer for Compassion. Here is the harmony story about this project one year from now. I repeat–this is NOT happening right now, but is what I imagine could happen.

I am so happy that I was able to collaborate with people in order to create the structure for Compassionate Living Circles.  These CLC’s are now a fantastic way of helping spiritually minded vegans get together to do such things as share harmony stories, build friendships, host showings of the Prayer for Compassion, and create non-residential and residential healthy communities.

We also have introduced tools so that people can easily, with need of professional therapist, resolve their childhood and societal trauma including issues with being vegan in a world where most people eat meat and exploit animals.  There are now at least one CLC in every city of the world, and these dynamic groups are attracting hundreds of vegans because they need a safe space to connect and also get support for their activism.

CLC’s initiate animal rights activism in gentle, loving ways such as meditating in public holding signs raising awareness about animal rights.

We created a training program for organizers who organize the CLC’s, and this has really been a powerful way to help build leadership in the animal rights community, and the Compassionate Living Circles cooperate with the other animal rights activists in order to inspire those groups to also use more gentle, loving techniques.

We do screen the organizers, who learn how to create a non-hierarchal structure where everyone’s voices are heard, so that the group is truly a safe space.  They also are trained in using all the tools that are so effective, and the organizers are required to work on themselves and their own personal growth so that they can be servant leaders.

There are clear values and guidelines spelled out so that anyone who joins knows what is expected. Conflict prevention and resolution are clearly built into the structure of the groups.

End of Harmony Story.

Step 4. People can join in as if they are present with you in the future saying things like: 

“I am so glad that you did all this planning and now I am in one of those groups. I love our Compassionate Living Circle!”

or

“It is so great that now when the Prayer for Compassion film is shown, people have the opportunity to join a group and keep the beautiful energy going. Thanks, Patricia, for spearheading this.”

Step 5: Complete the story with a short appreciation, going around the circle and sharing what you appreciated about doing this process.

Here are some additional things you can do: 

  1. Write out, instead of telling the story, and send it to friends for their feedback statements. But be sure to make very clear that this is your harmony story, not something that has actually happened! Once I sent a harmony story out and someone thought it was real–and they were so disappointed when they realized it was a harmony story.–but their energy of believing it was true was helpful, I’m sure!
  2. You can tell harmony stories on video and share it via youtube or FB live stream–but keep reminding people of what you are doing!
  3. Record the harmony story and then take notes on it so that you can glean the good ideas that you got from this process. 

Benefits: 

  1. Amazing ideas do come up when you do harmony stories It is so much like brainstorming. 
  2. The feelings that are generated are real, and will produce the positive hormones like serotonin because you can’t help but feel happy when you tell or listen to or participate in a harmony story. 
  3. When people read or listen, they are swept into the reality of the story, and can be more supportive of your goals and visions because they really experience the possibility. 
  4. Sharing harmony stories connect you to those who are listening and encouraging you.
  5. You can take the harmony story apart and make a project plan.
  6. This can be a way of introducing a concept to someone you want to inspire to get involved. Just be really clear that it is a harmony story and not real!

Tips: 

  1. Tell these stories only with people who are receptive and encouraging. I have found that  if I explain the concepts, people will at least give it a shot. 
  2. Be as enthusiastic and excited and dramatic as you can. Improvise. Don’t hold back. Don’t think about “this can’t happen” but go for every single dream you have. Maybe all the things won’t happen, but don’t be discouraged. You will be amazed at how much of your harmony story does happen!
  3. Give each person in a group a chance to share a harmony story. Ideally, time them. Start with 3 minutes and then let people chime in for 2 minutes with their encouragement of the harmony story, 
  4. Always stay in that future place, talking as if something has already happened. If something is included in your story that actually has happened–share that it is true–otherwise we will assume whatever you are saying is happening in the future. 
  5. Hold this energy of imagining the ideal future all the time. Fill your thoughts with continuing to visualize your harmony stories, including lots of details. 
  6. Set goals from your harmony stories, and make a to do list. 
  7. Keep track of what things have actually happened and celebrate that they have happened. Read your harmony story goals or your written harmony story–daily–and imprint them in your mind. 
  8. Create a visualization so that you can close your eyes and envision the story.
  9. Pray for your harmony story.

………………………..

This concept of harmony story was developed by Joanna Blad and I separately. I used to call them “future stories” but I like “harmony stories” better. So we are collaborating on sharing this concept with others. Joanna is great at writing out the theory behind why harmony stories are powerful. Here are her words: 

Internal Activism Paradigm

By Joanna Blad

All us vegans do our external activism to bring about change and the ending of the war against animals. It is very important indeed, and yet it is incomplete, in my opinion, without internal activism.

I am offering for the asking, my INTERNAL ACTIVISM PARADIGM,(IAP) method, the quickening of the ending of the war on animals, a celestial speed up if you will, as I would love to see this happen in my and our lifetime. Let me explain a bit about it.

Our minds are the fertile sprouting ground for form to begin to percolate and then appear as manifested physical reality.

Invisible mind, not the brain is the center for creation, one with our invisible Source, which is where thought first appears and then with intention, belief, emotion and persistence becomes physical reality.

Ponder this, if a brain surgeon slices into your brain he will always find brain matter, but he will never locate the ever potent, ever powerful invisible thought. Thoughts are the pulses of energy responsible for the manifested physical matter we see in this world.

Now, knowing that, IAP the method is a new paradigm I have created for us to use in solo, or in a group which I think is more fun and more powerful. The only cost is using your mind.

Included in this technique are quantum physics, unconditional love, laws of attraction, and understanding a bit about the viciousness of the ego thought system, allowing us to maneuver around it, all adding up to a positive energy vibration circulating into the human collective consciousness, aligning it with light and love.

This technique will add to your peace of mind also.

So here is where your participation comes in, if you want to learn more about this technique that needs to go viral amongst vegans, please private message me and let’s connect over a phone call so I can present this to you.

Below I have gotten some reviews from some of FB friends, who have allowed me to share this idea with them. Enjoy reading and thanks for letting me share. Namaste.

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“As animal activists, we work on both the physical and metaphysical levels to help elevate human consciousness and to liberate animals from human violence. Our thoughts, prayers, and visions for a vegan world, have tremendous power.

What we think and hold in our hearts affects our own well-being and ripples out to the rest of the world.”

Joanna Blad’s technique, I believe, can empower all activists to further their work of liberating animals and to find their own inner joy and peace.

Judy Carman, M.A. Author of Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul and co-author with Tina Volpe of The Missing Peace: The Hidden Power of Our Kinship with Animals.

Founder of the Animal Prayer Flag Project (peacetoallbeings.com)

Co-founder of the Prayer Circle for Animals (circleofcompassion.org)

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“After one conversation with Joanna, I realized how much dormant powers we have to change the world. I also am no longer feeling down and depressed and focusing more on the outcome that I want instead of focusing on what “is”. Thank you Joanna to help me see the truth and knowing that the most powerful energy is LOVE and how we can use love to heal a world that needs it so badly. I highly recommend for all vegans to have a conversation with her and incorporate her simple but very efficient techniques in your daily lives.”

Ladan V Cheybani

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“As a compassionate vegan I needed a way to comfort myself. Joanna taught me a simple and heartening inner activism technique that I am able to use to relieve my stress about the suffering our animals sister’s and brother’s experience. Her method is calming and reverses the sense of doom I feel when I think about their plight…the unfairness and actual insanity in the world caused by the denial of these horrors. This simple mental process allows me to feel better, have more hope and carry the vegan message in a positive way thereby allowing these positive feeling to move through my activism and more easily attract others toward the shift. Veganism is a message of hope. It is essential to remain positive to be effective as an activist”

Kristina Robertson

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“As a psychotherapist & vegan animal rights activist, I find Joanna’s inner activism practice to be a powerful complementary tool to our activism in the world. To be our most effective in speaking to others about non.violence and compassion, Joanna’s inner activism practice helps us cultivate an internal vision in which we manifest our highest potential for ourselves and our world.”

Susan Endlich, M.A. LMFT

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Review of the book, “Why All Christians Should Become Vegan”

I was very inspired by Ryan Hicks’ book, Why Every Christian Should Be a Vegan. The title itself reflects a powerful statement: every Christian should be a vegan. In this day where it is popular to say “don’t should on yourself,” the word “should” in this case is very applicable. 

I’ve studied the Bible a lot, and I am a very logical person as well. Therefore, I think that Ryan Hicks makes the best case for persuading Christians, especially evangelicals who hold the Bible in high regard, to become vegan than any other book I have read. 

If you are a vegan and Christian, studying this book and the great arguments that are made will give you the chance to refute the typical justifications that Christians make for eating meat. 

If you are a Christian and not vegan, if you read with an open mind, you might just decide to become a vegan. 

If you are a vegan, and not a Christian, there is a good chance that you will  have the opportunity to talk to a Christian about veganism. Christians love to talk to non-Christians about the bible, so I encourage you to study this book so you will be prepared!

In 2015 there were 2.3 billion Christians in the world. Recently, the television series, The Chosen, a look at Jesus through the eyes of those who he impacted, raised 10 million dollars to get the first 4 episodes off the ground. This is the largest crowd-funded film project in history. Christianity is still influencing people. People need to know that Jesus would most likely be a vegan today, and that he very well could have been during the bible times as well. 

And I am working on inspiring Dallas Jenkins and his co-writers, and the bible scholars he consults with–to read this book and portray Jesus as vegan. 

Christians need to hear the truth about the “whole counsel of the Bible,” and the theme that runs from Genesis to throughout the New Testament–that both a plant-based diet and treating animals and the environment with compassion–is clearly taught. 

People have used the Bible to justify many destructive actions.  Burning women because they are witches, burning people at the stake and beheading them for having heretical beliefs,supporting slavery, and men treating women as property. Currently, there are Christians who still keep women from being in leadership in churches, who reject homosexuals and the GBTLQ community, and justify war and capital punishment–all based on their interpretation of the Bible. 

Worst of all, people derive from the Bible the idea that a loving God would send people who don’t believe a certain way to eternal conscious torment. Some, called Calvinists, even believe God decided before he created humans, who would suffer eternally, and who would go to heaven. 

The thing that all of the above justifications have in common is that the words are taken out of context. Jesus teachings of compassion, nonviolence, restorative justice and reconciliation for all are ignored. In fact, Jesus teachings are included in the Old Testament, including teachings on being compassionate to animals. I do feel encouraged because an increasing number of Christians are understanding a picture of Jesus who comes not to judge, but to help restore the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. 

Yet even many of these Christians still cling to the idea that it is okay to eat meat and dairy, and for animals to suffer. They are enmeshed in our culture that has brainwashed us (me included, for most of my 65 years of life) to believe that it is okay to exploit animals. Or, that animals don’t really suffer. 

Why Every Christian Should Be A Vegan supplies the proof that all Christians who are sincerely looking for the truth might be able to digest. He goes over in great detail every passage that is used to justify that eating meat, dairy and eggs is okay. He proves that these very scriptures need to be interpreted differently because he goes back into historic accounts outside of the Bible texts, and delves deep into the original texts and language. 

He proves without doubt that eating meat, dairy and eggs runs counter to the teachings of Jesus who came to proclaim the end of suffering for all of creation, including animals. In addition to Biblical texts that are examined, Ryan supplies proof that animals do really suffer when they are used for milk and eggs, fur, leather, and down. I can’t imagine that Jesus would be teaching that is okay for us to contribute to the suffering of these precious animals who have feelings, needs and families just like we humans do. And Ryan agrees. 

I especially liked this book because I have been curious about many scriptures which did seem to make it clear that it is okay to eat animals. I was doubting that the scriptures were accurate. Ryan, who knows his Bible inside and out, helped me appreciate the Bible, Paul,  and the disciples even more. 

Here are some of the topics he addressed that helped me clarify here-to-fore unanswered questions: 

Do fish lives matter?

Jesus and the swine that jumped into the sea and drowned..

Peter’s vegan diet. 

All things are pure?

I was happy to have the question, “What is God’s diet for humanity?” answered with scriptural proof that comforted and reassured me that I am believing in a Creator who truly is compassionate and loving. 

Anyone, of any faith, or who are atheist or agnostic, most likely would be encouraged to know that there is much proof both in the Bible and from reputable historical sources, that John the Baptist, Paul, Jesus, and all the disciples were vegan. Most people feel some affinity for Jesus teachings, and thus vegans who don’t identify as Christians might feel even more connected to Jesus and his followers. 

The Old Testament has many scriptures that encourage veganism. People who are Jewish would derive much benefit from reading the parts about the Old Testament promoting refraining from eating the flesh of animals, as well as taking good care of animals. 

I’ve studied Christian apologetics extensively. I left the Methodist church at age 16 because I asked the question that was never answered in sermons or all the Sunday school classes I had attended my whole life, nor in my youth group: “Why do we have to go through Jesus to get to God?” When my youth pastor laughed at me, I decided to leave the church. 

Almost twenty years ago, a loving Christian told me, as I was exploring the possibility of following Jesus again, “you don’t have to give up your intellect to follow Jesus. I started studying Christian apologetics, which is a branch of theology that gives a rational justification for Christian truth claims. Because of the love I felt from other Christians who embraced my family and I, learning that the Bible is historically accurate, and inspired by Jesus unconditional love for me, I surrendered my life to him. I’m glad I did. 

Yet this book helps me feel even more glad!  I feel so inspired by this book because it really does give rational justification for the Christian truth that every Christian should become a vegan. I look forward to a time when all vegan Christians can lovingly inspire non-vegan Christians to see the truth. The truth, as I understand it, is the Bible really does teach that all who follow Jesus must become vegan in order to be more like Christ, which is the goal of all Christians.

 

List of needs that Jesus Vegans community will seek to fulfill

Max Neef, a Chilean sociologist, made the following statements which I resonate with. You can learn more about Max Neef here. 

For improving the living conditions of people in Latin America, the following 3 statements are taken as a starting point:

    1. Development is about people and not about things.
      When it comes to people and not just about things, the gross national product (GNP) cannot be taken as an indicator. Instead it has to be related to the quality of life (QOL). Quality of life depends on the possibilities people have to adequately satisfy their fundamental human needs.
    2. Fundamental human needs are finite, limited in number, and classifiable.
      This is in contrast to the traditional idea that there are many human needs, and that they are insatiable.
    3. Fundamental human needs are the same in all cultures and in all historical periods.
      This is in contrast to the traditional idea that human needs are subject to trends and vary to a great extent.
Fundamental
Human Needs
Being
(qualities)
Having
(things)
Doing
(actions)
Interacting
(settings)
subsistence physical and
mental health
food, shelter
work
feed, clothe,
rest, work
living environment,
social setting
protection care,
adaptability
autonomy
social security,
health systems,
work
co-operate,
plan, take care
of, help
social environment,
dwelling
affection respect, sense
of humour,
generosity,
sensuality
friendships,
family,
relationships
with nature
share, take care of,  make love
express
emotions
privacy,
intimate spaces
of togetherness
understanding critical
capacity,
curiosity, intuition
literature,
teachers, policies
educational
analyse, study,meditate
investigate
schools, families
universities,
communities
participation receptiveness,
dedication,
sense of humour
responsibilities,
duties, work,
rights
cooperate,
dissent, express
opinions
associations,
parties, churches,
neighbourhoods
leisure imagination,
tranquillity
spontaneity
games, parties,
peace of mind
day-dream,
remember,
relax, have fun
landscapes,
intimate spaces,
places to be alone
creation imagination,
boldness,
inventiveness,
curiosity
abilities, skills,
work,
techniques
invent, build,
design, work,
compose,
interpret
spaces for
expression,
workshops,
audiences
identity sense of
belonging, self-
esteem,
consistency
language,
religions, work,
customs,
values, norms
get to know
oneself, grow,
commit oneself
places one
belongs to,
everyday
settings
freedom autonomy,
passion, self-esteem,
open-mindedness
equal rights dissent, choose,
run risks, develop
awareness
anywhere

 

The Chosen: A television series about Jesus–we want to inspire the director and creator–to show Jesus as being vegan

I am working with the Interfaith Vegan Coalition to inspire the creator of this film series, Dallas Jenkins, to portray Jesus as being vegan. Dallas says that one of  his co-writers is vegan. I am working on getting contact information for the Bible scholars who are his consultants, the co-writers, the producers and the actors so that we can send them a letter from the IVC, and the results of a petition that is going out that we hope will go viral.

The Chosen is a television drama based on the life of Jesus Christ.   created, directed and co-written by American filmmaker Dallas Jenkins.

The series’ creators are hoping to distinguish the new series from previous portrayals of Jesus by crafting a multi-season, episode-based story. The series will portray Jesus “through the eyes of those who he impacted.” 

Dallas Jenkins produced  what ended up being  a concept pilot for the series entitled “The Shepherd” in 2017 for his church. When he posted it to social media,  1/2 hour film showing the Christmas story through the shepherd’s eyes,  it  received over 15 million views and got the attention of the filtering service VidAngel which was seeking original content. They turned to crowdfunding to raise money to produce the first season,  At the end of the first fundraising round in January 2019, the project had raised over $10.2 million from over 15,000 investors, unseating Mystery Science Theater 3000 as the top crowdfunded film/TV project in history.

According to executive producer Matthew Faraci, “The vast audience for high-quality, faith-based entertainment — all too often overlooked and underserved by Hollywood — made a loud and unmistakable statement that they’re so eager for content that resonates, they are willing to fund it into existence.” 

The first season will be distributed by VidAngel and can be found at http://www.thechosen.tv. The first season has been completed and can be watched via an app, or DvD’s.

You can watch The Shepherd hereand the first program of the series here.

 

Children’s School Project: Partners Wanted

Who wants to help start a vegan  school using sociocracy as a guiding principle?

This is in harmony with unschooling principles.

Here is an article describing how children run their own school.

https://www.sociocracyforall.org/school/

We have land. We can offer support and ideas. We have some sites that could be great for a school house. We can offer a long term lease, with clear agreements.

Contact me if you are interested

Thoughts on being a wierdo

My friend, Sharon Lia Robinson, who I have known for 29 years or so–sent me a message in response to something I posted on Facebook.  Her words sparked an online conversation between us. I have copied our conversation at the end of what I posted on Facebook which is as follows:

Patricia: I’ve been so focused on self improvement and being in the present moment that I don’t post much on Facebook any more. It used to be when I was with people I would want to take pictures and post them and share.

When I came back to Arkansas in early August, I wasn’t depressed, thank God! Yet I was very reclusive, and did not want to see anyone except my family and a few friends who I worked for in town. I was recovering from one of the most intense experiences of my life. I was being hit from all sides–close trusted friends who criticized me for me drawing attention to the destructive actions of leaders of Direct Action Everywhere hit me hard.

I could write a book about the whole experience–and maybe some day I will–only for instructional purposes about how to be a whistle blower and survive! I have learned about the suffering that whistle blowers go through. They are usually scapegoated. They do the hardest work, don’t get paid, often lose their livelihood and sometimes are even killed.

I suffered a lot because of the choices I made, and I still don’t regret what I did. Now, 4 months later, I feel stronger than ever, happier than ever, more determined than ever to get the community of my dreams ready for people to come in Spring of 2020.

I feel happy because no longer am I tempted to run away from my problems here. I have long resisted the idea, “wherever you go, there you are.” I was convinced that if I could just find the perfect place, I could be happy. I know that it was my shortcomings that kept me from being able to find fulfillment in communities and organizations that were far away from here. At the same time I also know that 99.9%, if not100, of the organizations and communities in the world do not fill the needs that I have-and share the values that I have.

I may seem like Don Quixote who is chasing after his dream–the impossible dream–and yet I am happy to be in a place where I realize that if I do not try to create the community just the way I want, I will not be happy.

I think that God designed me to be a pioneer. What I create will be the. culmination of my 65 years of living and learning from others who have dedicated their lives to such things as how to communicate, how to heal trauma and create community, how to have the ideal vegan diet, how to grow food with vegan permaculture, how to use the power of the mind, prayer, visualization, morning routines, scripture study, cold therapy and re-wilding and forest therapy for healing.

Today I have a really bad case of poison ivy on my face. I felt discouraged, yet just yesterday I was listening to a podcast about gratitude–right when I was in the poison ivy roots which I knew were there but I persuaded myself I would be okay. The speaker said that being grateful for even the challenges was the highest form of gratitude. Jesus brother, James, says “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

When I really focused on the gratitude for this trial, I was able to do my Wim Hoff breathing, do some push ups, and get in the cold shower where the cold water boosted my immune system as well as soothed the poison ivy itches on my face around my eyes especially.

I then felt inspired to write this article. And my face isn’t itching.

I feel grateful to each of you who has encouraged me on my path. I feel grateful to each of you who have rejected me and even attacked me. I forgive you–for you are coming out of your pain. I am sorry for things I did which were not nurturing. I love you. My goal is to love everyone, seeing all as people who are doing the best they can.

This is what I have wanted to do for a long time. I think I am getting closer to accomplishing this goal, and certainly my experiences especially with DxE, but also with many people in my life in Northwest Arkansas as well–have given me an abundance of opportunities to exercise my ability to love in all circumstances.

The more I learn to feel grateful for my challenges, the less challenges are painful. The more I learn to love those who are difficult to love–the less difficult people seem to be in my life.

Just some thoughts….I hope they are helpful. I’d love to hear your response.

Sharon: I wouldn’t blame yourself or your shortcomings for not fitting in to community, as you say on Facebook…many factors were present….

Patricia: Thanks for sharing that-i am attempting to take some responsibility for the dysfunctions—and I do think that if I had been more evolved, I would not have suffered so much. I would not have been so emotional

I could have possibly built some degree of trust—but instead, because of my strong reactions, people had excuses to criticize me

Sharon: I think its because you are meant to be an innovator and that is sometimes why folks feel threatened. Yes on what you say as well.

Patricia: I agree. And when I am imperfect, people have the perfect excuse to discount my input

Sharon: I love his little image you sent just now.  Innovation also involves inventing a new language or a new way of speaking, so we are often vulnerable that way as well. Add to that that as original thinkers and pathfinders, we are not always supported in our families of origin or by the culture in general…yet leads many to faith and greatness in many ways to be thus challenged, if one can see the slights in a way as God’s will for us.

Patricia: Definitely! Thanks for sharing your wisdom with me. You really understand how it is not to fit in to family or culture

Sharon: You are welcome. You know that saying about some clothes, “one size fits all, or one size fits most.” I was thinking of that phrase yesterday, could apply to so many things…thinking now suddenly of church for instance…a unique or different brain couldn’t fit into one size fits….most, and thinking of the person you like who does the jokes and how that one size idea could be stretched to expand to other themes. Because the fact is, one size doesn’t always fit all…

Patricia: I think that the problem is that most people have such a high priority of fitting in and belonging and being normal, that they end up not acknowledging their unique and special selves.

Sharon: That is very interesting, yes. So they project onto the “weirdo” their own self-dislike or shadow. Excellent concept. Thanks.

Patricia: The more I am able to understand that people are criticizing me or keeping their distance—because they are afraid — and because of their own past hurts-for as children we are usually encouraged to be “normal” the more I can be empathic, and not take things personally. Then, trust can be built.

I want to be a trustworthy, safe wierdo

At the same time, I will draw boundaries—when others are being untrustworthy and deceptive

Or deliberately hurtful.

I was suffering much with poison ivy rash, and all kinds of old memories and fears came up—I want to run away from the people here again—not physically—but I was thinking of withdrawing. Then I felt stronger and thought I could continue to be in an environment where people may not trust me—even though they act really nice. This conversation with you confirmed that I must continue to build trust—to be the strong one—to be of service. To let the mixed messages be okay—to have compassion for those who seem to welcome me—maybe because they think that they are supposed to—but still have misgivings.

I want to come to a place where people can express their honesty to me, and I can prove to them that I am not going to attack them or do something that will cause them distress.

Sharon:. I love this dialogue…old ideas passing away or being transformed, new ideas being born. I will carry these ideas in my heart.

Patricia: Thank you so much!

……..

Sharon is a poet and author, and you can learn more about her at http://www.sharonrobinson.org

Thanks, Sharon, for being my sister on this path of seeking the truth.

 

Natural Pregnancy and Childbirth

My daughter-in-law, Lanae, is pregnant, and I want to give her some resources that can help her have the best possible birth and pregnancy.  Of course I am excited about the grandchild who is due to be born on  May 31, 2020. That is my son’s, Chris, birthday!

I am also enjoying writing this because the Jesus Vegans training center will train Community Facilitators about how to encourage women during their pregnancy and childbirth. How I wish I had all this information when I was pregnant. I was fortunate to have women around me who encouraged me to have a home birth, which was not super common back in 1989 when Chris was born.

My suggestions are as follows:

Do not scream in high pitched tones. I did this with my son’s birth, and I had to get an episiotomy. Fortunately the midwife was able to make this incision below my vagina, and stitch it up. However, I was told later that low pitched groans make the vagina more open–and I tried this during my daughter’s birth. No incision needed, and I’m sure everyone else appreciated the low pitched sounds as well!

Have fresh juices available along with straws. When I sensed I was going into labor, I went into gear and made carrot juice and put the juice in 8 ounce canning jars so they would stay fresh longer. My birth attendants would bring me some juice and I would simply drink from the straw. You can get stainless steel straws if you want to avoid polluting.

Birth Support Rope. Be prepared to hang from something if you find that this is the best position for you. I wore Robert out when I was hanging on him–and I wish I had this. Squatting is such a natural position. Here is some information about buying one and how to use one–and it seems like you could make one.

Assign someone to let people know when labor starts and who can send out prayer requests. Make a list for the person, and be sure to contact that person when labor starts.

Decide ahead of time who you want at the birth. If you think anyone’s feelings will be hurt, communicate with them ahead of time. Of course you only want to invite people you feel safe with. This is a good time to have open, honest conversations that can lead to healing–before baby is born. If you are concerned about how the person will react, bring along someone who can help facilitate the conversation if things get rough.

Don’t make commitments to work any where near your due date. Babies often can come two weeks early or two weeks late–especially first ones. I scheduled an assembly at a school near my due date. I still remember calling them as I was starting labor, and feeling so bad. I said something like, “I will come if you really want me to.” The secretary said, “No–please don’t come!”

Make a CD or some way you can play the music you want to be playing during the birth. I had produced a special tape (back then we didn’t have CD’s) which I played during the entire 6 hour birth process with Chris. I think I used the same tape with Maud, my daughter, also. Chris was born with the song “Welcome, welcome, little one” playing. Good timing, Chris!

Take plenty of time after the birth to be at home with baby–and don’t be in a hurry to go out. Make sure you have someone who can serve as an emotional support, in addition to the father, who may be going to work way sooner than you want. Hopefully the father can stay home at least two weeks. Here is an article about what a doula does if you can afford such a person.

Remember that baby is growing in all kinds of ways when in the womb. This is a great article about awakening baby’s senses. https://www.mother.ly/child/awaken-babys-senses-in-the-womb-5-ways-your-little-one-is-learning

Here are ways to bond with your child while in the womb.

Circumcision: Why this is not a good idea.  https://evidencebasedbirth.com/evidence-and-ethics-on-circumcision/

Breathing during labor. There is so much evidence to prove that breathing properly during childbirth is so important.  https://evidencebasedbirth.com/breathing-for-pain-relief-during-labor/

Scriptures and visualizations for birth http://sheismore.com/childbirth-bible-verse-visualization-plan/

Words for your partner and others attending the birth can speak to you–develop a plan http://sheismore.com/words-partner-speak-labor/

Sometimes labor doesn’t work out the way we want it to. It is good to hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Understanding My Unexpected Labor And Delivery: Part 1

My favorite attachment parenting expert,  Dr. Sears, offers wonderful advice in this book. https://www.amazon.com/Birth-Book-Everything-Satisfying-Parenting/dp/0316779075

This article gives suggestions for breathing techniques by Dr. Sears.  https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/pregnancy-childbirth/pregnancy-concerns/managing-pain-during-childbirth/9-breathe-right

Massage during birthing process.  https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/pregnancy-childbirth/pregnancy-concerns/managing-pain-during-childbirth/use-healing-touch

Giving birth in water.  https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/pregnancy-childbirth/pregnancy-concerns/managing-pain-during-childbirth/how-to-use-water-for-labor

Reducing pain during labor.  https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/pregnancy-childbirth/pregnancy-concerns/managing-pain-during-childbirth/15-ways-reduce-pain

Relaxation during labor.  https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/pregnancy-childbirth/pregnancy-concerns/managing-pain-during-childbirth/3-time-tested

La Leche League in Fayetteville. This is a volunteer organization and you can attend meetings before the birth and after to get tips on childbirth, find a support group and especially get. help with breast-feeding.  https://lllofarkansas.weebly.com

Scientific proof for a plant based diet during pregnancy https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/pregnancy/

Best sources of protein for vegans. Many people think that beans are vegans’ main source of protein, but there are tons of other sources. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/protein-for-vegans-vegetarians

Martha Sears (wife of Dr. Sears) on diet. https://www.askdrsears.com/sears-family-connect/mondays-with-martha/nutritional-breastfeeding

Toxins that you can get during pregnancy through eating certain foods: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/pregnancy/

Omega 3’s during pregnancy are important. here are some vegan sources. https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/omega-3-fatty-acids/

Vegan sources of calcium: greens https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/calcium/

More facts on what to eat during the stages of pregnancy plant based. https://nutritionstudies.org/can-you-have-a-healthy-plant-based-pregnancy/

I’m a big believer on dealing with childhood trauma. I think just about everyone has had very hurtful experiences. Dealing with drama can help a pregnant woman have a better experience during childbirth. https://www.parent24.com/Pregnant/Pregnancy_health/how-compassion-can-help-pregnant-moms-triumph-over-toxic-childhood-trauma-20180409

PTSD during childbirth: Just in case the childbirth does not go as planned, it is good to be prepared to heal from the trauma.  https://midwiferytoday.com/mt-articles/healing-the-trauma/

How healing your self helps you to be a better parent https://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/healing-yourself

How to heal your inner child https://lifelabs.psychologies.co.uk/users/3881-maxine-harley/posts/17933-how-to-heal-and-re-parent-your-inner-child

Examples of vegan children who are thriving–most from birth.  https://veganhealth.org/real-vegan-children/

Gardening is super good for you. Perhaps this doesn’t seem like it is relevant, but I think that getting a garden going before baby is born is a good idea. I worked in the garden with baby in the “over the shoulder baby holder” after both births, and I felt good getting outside. I’m sure Maud and Chris enjoyed the movement, sunshine, and the good food I was putting into my body. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20181210-gardening-could-be-the-hobby-that-helps-you-live-to-100

I will write another article specifically about what to do after the baby has arrived. Here is one I want to share about massaging baby.

https://www.infantmassageusa.org

Thislink leads to a bunch of articles about pregnancy and veganism.

I could probably spend many more hours researching what makes an idea pregnancy, and possibly will write a part two. But I want to get this to my daughter-in-law soon!

What suggestions do you have for a great pregnancy and natural childbirth experience? I would love to hear from you.