Well, I have been neglecting my blog for the past week for the most part, so today is the day to catch up! A portion of this past week I was out of town at the National AAHPERD Convention in Charlotte, NC. Being at the convention was a real turning point for me and a time to reflect on some changes I’ve made (or would like to make) in my life. It was just a new energy to be in for a few days.
I went to the convention primarily to present two sessions – the first being a lecture/demo with Kate Oliver (Director of Dance at Millbrook High School) about the Dance & Film Project residency I completed with her high school students two years ago and the second was teaching a class that introduced Lester Horton modern dance technique through yoga. Both sessions went very well, and those in attendance had very positive feedback and lots of questions. Kate and I are hoping to do the residency again this coming school year, which I’m very excited about. Even though I love teaching at the college level, going into high schools for residencies and master classes is something I definitely want to try and do more in the coming year. Every class is a brand new experience, and there’s always something to learn form these students! The yoga/Horton technique class is something I’ve taught only a couple times before, but it is quickly becoming one of my favorite master classes to teach. The concept is to find a gentler, more accessible way to introduce or maintain Horton dance technique. I’ll dedicate an entire post to this class and its structure in the future; in the meantime, let’s move on…
So, professionally the convention went very well for me. The rest of the trip led to some important personal revelations. If you’ve been reading previously, you know I recently came back to vegetarianism and decided to gradually make my way to being vegan. I really thought giving myself the freedom to transition in steps would make it easier, but I’ve found that easing-into a vegan diet just isn’t necessary for me. It has been over a week and a half since my last non-vegan snack (that stout beer I accidentally bought), and I feel great! I have become more aware of what I’m eating and what I’m buying at the grocery store, but isn’t that a wonderful habit for us all?
Why has this transition been easier than I anticipated? I believe it comes down to motivation; it comes down to why you are making the choices you make. I’ve been reading recently two books by Ruth Lauer-Mane – Sweeping the Dust and An Offering. Both books are collections of short stories or inspirational talks Ruth has used in her yoga classes, and both mention vegetarianism fairly frequently. (I found both books available electronically for my nook!) When I first began reading I had not made the choice to come back to this lifestyle, and I found myself feeling guilty for eating animals and honestly also a little defensive towards Ruth’s teachings. I felt like defending my lifestyle to her, pointing out all the good things I do in my life and the ways in which I do not harm others (aside from my then meat-eating ways).
And then something changed. I allowed my heart to open to all animals. I stopped ignoring this part of my life and stopped lying to myself that I actually was contributing to the harmful treatment of animals. And the decision became easy. I do not feel as if I’m missing out on something; instead, I feel like maybe I am helping in some small way. I still have more changes to make, but I know I am headed in the right direction. (Yes, you can still find leather in my closet at this point in time. I am not purchasing new leather things, but haven’t quite figured out what to do with those items I already own…)
I’m sure whatever I decide will come out in a future post. Until then…