Love in Action & Holistic Nonviolence
In this section, Compassion Arts shares examples of the interconnectedness of all life and how our treatment of animals and the violence on our plates is intersected with violence against the planet and climate change, and systemic oppression against other humans due to race or gender. Compassion Arts is not a political organization in any form and respects that there are “many paths up the mountain,” but our core philosophy is one of love and unconditional nonviolence. We strive to show ways to cultivate creativity for the power of compassion to “be a light, not a judge,” in advancing understanding and respect for animals (including humans) and the earth.
Love in Action has been described in writings by Buddhist monk and author Thich Nhaht Hanh, as “nonviolent action, born of the awareness of suffering and nurtured by love.” Teachings on how we can use the power of love and compassion for humans, animals, and the earth, can be found in writings, meditations, and reflections by Thich Nhat Hanh and others such as Will Tuttle (World Peace Diet), as well as from people sharing on plant-based living or expanding understanding in a wide range of ways. It is not about being perfect, and not about trying to force others to change – there is no social transformation without personal transformation first. So we develop compassion in our own lives to the best of our ability and commit to freedom and peace through more deeply understanding love as a verb.
“There is no way to peace — peace is the way.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
Holistic Nonviolence, as defined by the non-profit organization Tribe of Heart in naming the term, is “an emerging path for personal transformation and social evolution. It is intended to foster a deepening commitment to treat all others, however they may differ from ourselves, with care and respect.“ Tribe of Heart’s peaceful art of transformation initiative states:
“Walking the path of holistic nonviolence is about questioning ALL forms of oppression and violence, seeking to better understand their common roots, and choosing alternatives. It is about being unwilling—directly or indirectly—to take part in violence, to profit from the harm of others, or to willfully ignore oppression. It is about refusing to intentionally take away the dignity, bodily integrity, freedom, or the life of another individual, no matter how they may differ from our selves, be they a fellow human or a fellow animal.
“Pursuing this path is not about being perfect, but about challenging ourselves to ever expand our understanding of how our actions affect others, and over time, to come closer and closer to the ideal of nonviolence toward all.”
This video by educator and advocate Alfee West*, takes us on a brief journey through the history of white supremacy from slavery to present day, to answer the question "How did we get here?" Through images, words of wisdom, and the inspiration of a legacy of anti-racist upstanding and peaceful changemakers for justice, she shines a light on the past with hope for the future, in knowing that where we go from here is in each of our hands and our voices, and that we are stronger together.
“Strangely enough, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
A brief introduction into recognizing how systemic inequality is interwoven throughout the history of oppression into the fabric of present day society and our daily lives; this video by educator and advocate Alfee West* invites us to take steps towards understanding the normalization of white supremacy culture in the United States and other formerly colonized lands. Through a willingness to reflect with awareness on the systems and perceptions that we've inherited, we can grow beyond injustice to be the peace we want to see in the world.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
- James Baldwin
* Alfee West is a performing artist, mini-documentarian and social justice activist who has been with Compassion Arts since 2017. She’s also a domestic violence prevention advocate for educating youth and a vegan for the animals for two decades.
“How could it ever be to our purpose to rob another living being of his or her purpose?”
– Will Tuttle
Photo after the wildfires by Jo-Anne Mcartuhur
We invite people to explore any of the following websites that are listed below on this short sampling of resources on the subjects of anti-racism, ecofeminism, environmentalism, veganism and the practice of holistic nonviolence; for reflection on the challenges in our world that may appear to be seemingly separate ‘issues’ in life, but are all connected.
Carol J. Adams is feminist-vegan advocate, speaker and author of numerous books on the subjects of ecofeminism and veganism including her groundbreaking work for which she is most well-known, The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory.
The Prevent Year Zero Project of Climate Healers non-profit organization offers information on climate change and our environment, educational videos, and an extensive resource list of books, writings, films, and ways to take action in our lives for healing the earth and ourselves and protecting animals and nature.
Ibram X Kendi is the author of How to Be An Antiracist and founder of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. In his work toward building an antiracist society that ensures equity and justice for all, he writes “Racial inequality is a problem of bad policies, not bad people.” His new book, Be Antiracist:A Journal for Awareness, Reflection, and Action is both a journal and workbook for self-reflection for making changes in ourselves and our community.
Dr. Aimee Breeze Harper’s project affiliated with her book of the same name, the website offers insightful and impactful writings, workshops and webinars on anti-racism, critical diversity, feminism, veganism and animal rights, and the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter.
The non-profit organization Tribe of Heart is the creator of documentary films and programs to bring people together in community for raising awareness and cultivating positive peaceful change. Their initiative on Holistic Nonviolence is outlined on their website and includes a short film on the ways that we can engage the best in ourselves for peace for all.
The World Peace Diet is a book by Dr. Will Tuttle that has become a movement, founded on the understanding that the evolution to a more conscious society begins with our personal lives, and that there can be no positive social change without positive personal change. The website offers webinars, classes, videos, and ways for nourishing our lives and our world, as well as keys to examining the cultural messages that we consume with our daily meals, and what kind of world we help co-create with our choices.
Programs on Vegan Nation Radio ( WCUW ) feature interviews on a wide range of topics with people from all walks of life who are using their work, ideas, and projects to create a more peaceful, equitable, sustainable, compassionate society with respect for all life.
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
– Emily Dickinson