We know better

By November 3, 2020 3 Comments

My writing guru Instagram friend Karey Mackin gave me permission to jump from scene to scene in my wild and crazy essays. She has no idea her three little asterisks (***) have transformed my world. I want to thank her for cutting off my English 101 chains. But only after I bow in gratitude for her beautiful, light, and deeply dark stories that have lightened my mornings lately. I get the email notifications in the evening and save them for my morning ritual. There is something gratifying about reading words that caress the heart before the crushing weight of the daily news begins to suck the life out of me.

I watched the HBO documentary “537 Votes” the other night. I could not sleep for days. The fact that an election was stolen in America was heavy to digest. More disturbing was that it was that one election that not only re-shaped America but transformed my own corner of the world. I remember one evening in my sister’s living room in London watching the execution of Saddam Hussein on television. I wasn’t really watching the execution. My eyes were fixed on my father as he watched the news. I had no interest other than to soak in every detail of his war-wearied face. He knew something I didn’t. He saw something I couldn’t. I will spare you the million stories I told myself about what he was thinking. What was undeniable was that there was a dense energy moving through his body —and mine. He passed away four months later, taking with him his thoughts and that energy. 

The scene played itself over and over in my head as I tossed and turned. What would we have been doing on December 30 of 2006 in London had Al Gore become president? What enemy would we have been afraid of? How would our world look today with a possibly intact Iraq, Yemen, Syria…? Would Greta Thunberg be happy and thriving at school?

Now that we know better, could we make different choices?

And then the three little Mackin asterisks (***) popped up. I must write something to commemorate World Vegan Day. I owe World Vegan Day because plants have changed my family’s life.

* * *

My mother’s doctor advised me to designate her as the spokesperson for the plant-based lifestyle I have been advocating for the past few years. She believes my mother is a thriving testament to the power of the plant lifestyle. She honestly told us that witnessing my mother’s journey was all the evidence she needed that lifestyle did trump everything, including brain CT scans and a birth date on an ID, which incidentally in my mother’s case also stated that Jerusalem, Palestine was her place of birth. [Hold that thought.] At her full age of 84 years, she is the inspiring embodiment of living fully and independently despite a world that works actively to disempower, demotivate, and dictate an outdated paradigm of meaningless numbers and demoralizing statistics.

We should know better. 

Yes, plants are a lifestyle not merely leaves, fruits, and vegetables. They are an ecosystem of values and principles that defy centuries of conditioning.

My family knows this. Science confirms this.

It is not a hippie lifestyle despite what our capitalist culture tries to convince us. I am not sure what a hippie lifestyle is exactly to be honest with you. I imagine it to be laid-back, coloured with flowers to the tunes of music and the fumes of cannabis. Merriam-Webster defines a hippie as

a usually young person who rejects the mores of established society (as by dressing unconventionally or favouring communal living) and advocates a nonviolent ethic broadly : a long-haired unconventionally dressed young person.

My mother is 84 years young. She has short hair and dresses very conventionally. She rejects the concept of communal living with a disturbing vengeance. I have been trying to get her to move in with us to no avail.

My family’s hippie existence involves a lot of discipline, sweat, heavy lifting, copious hours of cooking and housework, and some heartache. Compassion hurts.

Friends ask me if my intention [they say obsession] is to live beyond 100. I am not sure that is within my control yet. Longevity sciences are getting humanity there, and soon. My knees will not last that long.

I am not bragging. I have nothing to brag about. Except that I am proud to witness a different story lived by my mother, one that challenges every truth I thought I knew about our mortal timeline —and role as women.

I know better.

So for World Vegan Day, I would like to honour the sanctity of plants and their transformative power to save us from a painful extinction. I trust they hold the potential to heal the planet and all living beings. They are healing my family.

It’s not a matter of extending life. It is about enriching it. Span is controversial and at this pandemic-laden moment dangerously fragile. I prefer to follow my mother’s non-conventional hippie example of living fully and independently with every breath, preferably less stubborn and more accommodating of my daughter’s cooking!

My hope is for this celebration to remind us to surrender to nature to nourish ourselves, and in the process contribute to the regeneration of our planet with 50, 84, or a hundred fully lived years of the lightest of footprints and the biggest of legacies.

I pray next year all our mothers can be thriving spokespeople for plants.

Because we know better.

* * *

I first learned about the inconvenient truth of climate change from Al Gore back in the day. Who knows if he would have had time to worry about global warming in the Oval Office. I imagine they keep it cool and carbon neutral in there.

The convenient truth gives me hope however. We are not powerless, despite the challenging circumstances we have created for our world today. Between science and climate change deniers, war hawks, and insatiable capitalists, we are kept busy learning lessons every day. Our cup of wisdom will one day overflow.

Also, Jerusalem will never be Israel. That is another convenient fact no racist administration can change.

We know better.


  • Karey says:

    “We know better” hits differently this morning in Northern Virginia in the US. Those three words will stick to me. Also YES to just telling whatever stories you want to; those little asterisks are FREEDOM! Plus our brains seem to work the same way and we need constant ideas to get better, don’t we. Thank you for mentioning me; the inspiration goes both ways and I’m lucky to have found you. 🤍

  • Beverly Heimann says:

    I miss you! I love your ***. I need to remember them with my own writing. Have a lovely day! Stay safe!

  • Shireen Abu-Khader says:

    What an inspiration you are my friend! God bless you and your amazing mother ❤️

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