As I pondered the title for this week’s blog post, the old Beatles song “All You Need is Love” looped in my mind. An obvious message from the Universe that was not to be ignored. And guess what? This week’s Unplug podcast is all about love. Go figure.
I’m not speaking of fickle romantic love. Instead, I’m referencing the big Kahuna – spiritual love. Love for all beings despite our perceived differences. Race, gender, species, age, class, geographical location, belief systems – makes no difference with big Kahuna love.
Big Kahuna love is the love that unites. The love that we incarnated with before family systems, beliefs structures, and cultural conformity separated us. The beauty of big Kahuna love is that it never leaves us. Despite the creation of mental barriers to shield our puny little egos, it can never be eliminated. It’s the eternal umbilical cord that gives us life, brings us joy, connection, compassion, empathy, and meaning. It’s the essence of who we are. Without big Kahuna love, we’re empty, soulless shells.
Today we speak at great length about big Kahuna love with someone who lives and breathes it every moment of every day.
Kathy Stevens is by far, one of the most loving and joyful people I have ever met. She’s the author of Animal Camp: Reflections on a Decade of Love, Hope, and Veganism at Catskill Animal Sanctuary and Where the Blind Horse Sings: Love and Healing at an Animal Sanctuary. She’s also the founder and director of the Catskill Animal Sanctuary in Saugerties, New York. Above all else, she exemplifies big Kahuna love in her actions, her words, and in her ginormous heart.
I first learned about Kathy and her massive heart at last year’s Toronto Vegetarian Fair where I heard her speak on a panel with the likes of Jenny Brown and Gene Baur.
Although I didn’t get to formally meet her during this trip, I was blown away by her passion, her compassion, and her fearless expression of pure love for…well…everyone. She touched my heart and I knew that she would be an important part of this project.
Before she left Toronto, she remained behind for a few extra days to participate in a few Toronto animal Save vigils. In case you haven’t heard of the Toronto Save effort, this is an amazing grassroots group of dedicated activists who hold weekly vigils outside of Toronto chicken, pig and cow slaughterhouses to bear witness and expose truth. If you haven’t yet heard my interview with Toronto Pig, Cow and Chicken save founder Anita Kranjc, you can check it out at this link. The Save groups are using a different approach to advocacy which is based on the foundation of love rather than the traditional shame-based activism. And its working.
Kathy’s effect on the group as well as on the slaughter workers was profound. There’s a beautiful article written about the entire experience in Laika magazine which you can check out at this link. This article captures the pure essence of the beautiful soul known as Kathy Stevens.
Today’s interview is honest and uplifting. How can it not be when the theme is love?
We speak about such topics as:
• How we must be and do the change we wish to see in the world.
• How to feel the essence within all living beings.
• How every being has the desire to move away from suffering and towards joy.
• The superficial differences of our personalities that veil the sameness of our essence.
• The ability to see what unites rather than what divides within everyone.
• How we’re far more effective in the world when we come from joy.
• The importance of fully processing the truth of all emotions in order to lead a happy life.
I just want to say that with each interview, I find myself more and more inspired to become a better version of myself. Kathy raised the bar not only for the activists at the animal vigils in Toronto, she’s also raised the bar for me to remember that deep down, we’re all the same. Across all illusory species, gender, and race barriers, we all want love. We all are love. End of story.
Be prepared to be deeply inspired by the amazing Kathy Stevens.
Camp Kindness video
Book Trailer for Animal Camp
• Catskill Animal Sanctuary
• Kathy’s book Animal Camp: Reflections on a Decade of Love, Hope, and Veganism at Catskill Animal Sanctuary
• Kathy’s book Where the Blind Horse Sings: Love and Healing at an Animal Sanctuary
• The Homestead Guesthouse
• Kathy’s recent (AMAZING!) Huffington Post article “No Lie Can Live Forever: Predicting a Vegan America by 2050”
• Catskill Animal Sanctuary on Facebook
• Catskill Animal Sanctuary on Twitter.
• Wishing Well Animal Sanctuary (where Kathy will be speaking in late May)
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