February 22, 2017

47 Years of Living The Vegan Ideal

Sun (left) and Light; co-founders of Gentle World

Light and Sun; the co-founders of Gentle World celebrated their 47th Veganniversary on February 22, 2017. When they met, they vowed to each other to keep each other to the task of seeking and living 'in Truth'. Their vegan epiphany came when they had witnessed the murder of a bull with a sledgehammer, in a movie. The animal's cries and the cruel violence inflicted on him brought them to the first Truth they discovered together and then followed. This is when they chose the path of harmlessness and Ahimsa. Becoming a vegan 47 years ago was very forward-thinking (and forward-feeling). There was no internet, no other vegans around, no apps to make shopping easy. There were very few specifically-made vegan products, no vegan labels. Delicious vegan cuisine wasn't invented yet; peanuts and raisins was their dietary staple because they didn't know what to eat. Relatives thought they flipped-out and friends drifted away. Upon becoming vegan, they buried their leather with a ceremony. These two pioneers are the longest living real vegans that I know.

These sun-loving “evolutionaries” inspired a vegan community that has endured four and a half decades. In Gentle World, everyone lives vegan; even the dogs. Veganism is obligatory and a minimum standard. Gentle World has been educating the public about veganism since the 70's. I found Gentle World through the 100% vegan publication entitled: The Cookbook for People Who Love Animals - published in 1981. It sold nearly 100,000 copies before the internet. They wrote the statement on the book's back cover, containing this selection: “...In order to form a perfect union of all there is; to establish true justice, ensure tranquility of spirit, provide for the common good, promote universal gentleness, and to secure the blessings of freedom for all, we have established a family, dedicated to the fulfillment of these declarations. …..”

I was brought to meet Light and Sun as a gift for my 25th birthday. Rubies and emeralds pale in comparison to these two gems that have lifted me to heights I could not have imagined, since the “first time ever I saw their faces”. Light was a most handsome, manly yet gentle, tan vegan Adonis, known as “daddles” to his “doggles”. In some of life's finer moments, one might be lucky enough to overhear him interpret and speak for his dog friend (so cute and funny!). When I came to Gentle World 35 years ago, I met Light's dog and close companion whose name was 'Vegan'. He turned me onto the great joy of having a friend in a dog. The way his present dog 'Mighty' looks at him (or tilts his head and focuses out the window on him when he's outside) defines “cute”.
Light with Mighty
Light and Sun named our rescued dog friends 'Beautiful' 'Magic', “Miracles', 'Kisses', 'Valiant' 'Cozy', 'Mighty', etc....and then there was Poof the Magic Rabbit, Clover the Shetland Pony, Promise the Pig, Capricorn the Goat, Free and Easy the Fantail Doves, and many more. All were rescues whom just showed up at our doors (they felt our veganism), or were found laying in the road, obviously neglected or abused by humans, dropped off to us, abandoned in the surrounding forest reserve – or rescued from being killed. All through the years, Gentle World seemed to always have at
least one rescued gentle bunny buddy … Those living with Light and Sun experienced incredible inter-species bonds that were highlights of all our lives, including relationships with forest animals that were not domesticated.

Light and Sun heightened my veganism, and kept me strong through my early years. Sun, in her style, (in the olden days when we first met) would quiz me if my shampoo was vegan; (in the days of no internet when you had to phone or write letters to companies). She told me when we first met, that by serving fish in the natural cafe I worked for, that I was still participating in animal exploitation and that is not vegan. She made me a “real vegan”. Before I met her, I was vegan to the standards of the American Vegan Society (no milk, meat, fish, eggs, honey or derivatives. No wool, leather, silk, down, fur or feathers. No zoos, circuses, animals used for entertainment. No pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, toiletries that were tested on animals.) 

Light and Sun used to speak in the early days at “Animal Rights” conferences where the speakers were not even vegan. When they spoke at these rally's and events, they certainly made the point that veganism is the first step; the bottom line if you are an animal rights advocate or for anyone. They attended the March for Animals in Washington D.C. in 1990 where a crowd sang Light's song entitled 'The Animal March Song'. To the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic:

My eyes have seen the suffering the animals go through
My eyes have seen the suffering the animals go through
My eyes have seen the suffering the animals go through
They do have feelings too.


We'll keep marching til their all free
We'll keep marching til their all free
We'll keep marching til their all free
The Truth is on Our Side.

You cannot cure the human race if love's not in your heart
You cannot cure the human race if love's not in your heart
You cannot cure the human race if love's not in your heart
Love's where you have to start.


The gift of life was given them, just like it was to you
The gift of life was given them, just like it was to you
The gift of life was given them, just like it was to you
This world is their world, too.


The beauty of this planet is for all of us to share
The beauty of this planet is for all of us to share
The beauty of this planet is for all of us to share
Let's show how much we care.

Under Light and Sun's direction, Gentle World (when in central Florida) hired a plane to fly huge banners over Daytona Beach at Thanksgiving that read: “Thanksgiving is Murder on Turkeys”, and at 'Spring Break' time the slogan read “Give Animals a Break; Go Vegan”. Light picked up abandoned dogs at rest stops on the highways, and left stickers in the restrooms that said “Live and Let Live; Be Vegan”. You might catch him bringing (organic) carrot peels to the neighborhood horses, putting seed out for the birds, or caring for the neighbor's goats (who they do not care for). Light took the hook out of an eel's mouth, saved a fawn and when she was ready, set her free in a suitable forest, and came nose to nose with Braveheart; a “wild” forest deer we befriended. 

Light kissing Braveheart's nose; she was a forest, "wild" deer
Sun was the force behind two elaborate celebrity vegan banquets in the late 80's, with the purpose to inspire those who are an inspiration to others. Somehow she succeeded in getting celebrities to host it and show up to the exquisite display of international vegan cuisine, resulting in Gentle World being offered a restaurant in Los Angeles, which Light and Sun declined. Voluntarily, Light and Sun and the Gentle World team created and ran - The Vegan – a restaurant on Maui, Hawaii (an international hotspot and therefore a megaphone to the world). Gentle World's mission has always been to let people know how incredibly delicious vegan food can be. The result was that we had lines out the door at The Vegan restaurant, and many became vegan because of it. The entity that is Gentle World – has been “feeding the world” delicious vegan food, for decades. Sun initiated Gentle World's second published recipe book: Incredibly Delicious; Recipes for a New Paradigm and Light was the official taste-tester for the 500 vegan recipes that it includes!

Their lives are living proof that we humans can live vegan, and live an exemplary love-filled, respectful, responsible, caring, and a harming-less life – and one that inspires countless others to live vegan too. Their vegan philosophy is threefold: 1) respect and love for animals 2) nonviolence, peace and gentleness (Ahimsa)  3) living vegan is a tool of human evolution. Light said in a 1980 published piece called The Vegan Concept: “....The Vegan Concept is not a fad that will pass with time. It is the birth of compassion, a concern for others, that is the single most important step in the next evolution of humankind...” Light and Sun's concern and Love for animals is contagious. I caught it from them. And so did many others, even some notables that have gone on to inspire many others.

January 1, 2017

2017 Message to the World

I do not understand the human race. When I was a young girl and learned that people ate animals, I was in shock...."people eat animals? I don't get it. What?" said me, at age 12.  I never grew out of that way of seeing. You not only eat them, but you use them to experiment on, to entertain you, to ride on and hurt their spines, to skin them so YOU can wear THEIR skins, to poison, to purposely breed for your profit, to sexually violate (artificial insemination), to routinely kidnap their babies at birth and then torture and kill those newborn babies, to labor for you like a slave, to oppress, to objectify them so you can commodify them, to humiliate, imprison, cage, own... - or - pay others to do this all on your behalf.

I say YOU because I opted out of supporting this behavior towards other feeling beings.

You support all this, BUT you don't have to!

And for this reason, I do not understand the human race. Does your conscience not demand of you what mine does? How can anybody think it's fine to be violent to other animals? And yet there's a whole world of YOU out there who totally accepted "the programming" and societal indoctrination, and religious holy scriptures that are outdated, because now we can live vegan. Surely any righteous God would want people to live harmoniously with other humans and other species; not violently and disrespectfully. Surely anyone; any divine almighty being or any human being would choose not to assault and harm someone when there is no necessity to do so...this seems so obvious. Going vegan is such an obvious right. So why are vegans still the minority? Long term vegans have scientifically proven we humans can live vegan. Vegan super athletes have proven we can even find superior fitness as a vegan.
Hopefully in 2017, nonvegans will stop with the unjust deragatory words and thoughts towards vegans, and instead become one themselves and be a part of the uprising, get on the right side of history-in-the-making. Join hands and hearts with other vegans worldwide as we expand and forge ahead towards that tipping point when veganism becomes the accepted norm within society. Because honestly, it is - it's just normal not to want to be violent to others; all others.
To be vegan just means you live by the belief we humans should not hurt and harm animals. Shouldn't that be everyone? Get with the times. Let go of the old and really get NEW this year; 2017. Vow to be vegan, forever.

October 25, 2016

50 FAVORITE PHOTOS (a stroll down this vegan's memory lane)

Friend and Flowers. My young vegan friend; Soul (at age 3). 
Angel with Poof the Magic Rabbit (one of many rescued rabbit friends); both emanating gentleness.
My hand-lettered plaque for the "Kisses Memorial Garden". 
Mountaintop meadows where we lived for over 2 decades (in summer/autumn) at 8,000 ft. high.
A most gentle woman; Summer, and the most gentle dog; Valiant; he's so sweet. 
My tribute to Kisses; a very alive vegan-organic garden.
Playing "stickie" with Kisses was the ultimate in FUN...even baby Soul thought so! 
A row of uplifting sunflowers greet those who enter The Kisses Garden.
Beautiful (vegan for 14 of her 15 years) watching a sunset in Hawaii.
A deer friend (Braveheart); with a dear friend. This is a wild animal; not so wild right?
At one time, our daily ritual was to climb a mountain to commune with the sun at 8,000 elevation. 
Kisses and I had a strong love relationship. She lived with no leash/collar; beside me (and vegan).
Young people feel that I respect them; see how (vegan) Adonis's face reflects a shared reality.
Soul (age 6) jumping into the 'Seren-dip-in-me' natural pool. Discovering it was pure serendipity. 
Light and Sun; founders of Gentle World; two of the longest-living vegans on Earth. 
Cozy, Butterflies, and Mighty ....so happy together. 
The bookends defining cute. They were dropped off together at Gentle World. Lucky us!
Butterflies in The Kisses Garden with Eden and Soul (vegan kids) eating peas! 
The Monarchs and bees just adore the vividly bright Zinnia's ... okay I admit it, so do I! 
My little Mighty man friend. I've known him since he was a puppy. He's the cutest; hands down!
A ground squirrel eats cantaloupe seeds like a Disney character, on our mountaintop sanctuary.
Thousands showed up for the S. Fl. VeganFest I organized (2016); welcomed by my hand-lettered signs.
Carrot-Cashew Pate - the most popular item at our Maui restaurant: The Vegan; and served at my events. 
One year I happen to witness, several times, butterflies mating. 
I am hand-feeding a (free-living) ground squirrel when we lived alongside forest animals.
I plant flowers that bees love. I let them be.... in ecstasy, pollinating, living, and not stinging. 
Valiant; Gentle World Hawaii's rescued friend. So gentle. His clipped ears speak of his prior abuse.
I once lived with Aspen groves and purple lupine fields in a U.S. national forest - and a bunch of vegans.
My close vegan friend Soul (age 6) enjoying his daily play time in the natural pool at my spot.
Butterflies Katz "author photo" for a poetry and photo book I once published. Big Island, HI.
I love connecting barefoot with the earth walking on the paths through my veganic garden.
Golden lights up - as we should - when we are blessed with the presence of a forest deer. 
Sunflowers and corn and blue-skies-above invite you into the Kisses Garden. 
Having a garden without a fence in New Zealand's forest reserve land is a real accomplishment.
A face not only a mother could love...my sweet friend Soul eating peas in my garden. 
The light making beauty even more beautiful. 
Butterflies speaking at the Coral Springs library; event entitled "It's Easy to be Vegan".
A caterpillar reminds me of the essence of my chosen name (Butterflies): transformation. 
My favorite flower; Cosmos in the sun's spotlight. 
I once had a relationship with an injured Monarch butterfly who depended on me for her life.
Speaking up for the animals as usual, at an event entitled 'Veganism; A Truth whose Time has Come'. 

Baba (lived to age 17) with Golden. Another vegan-eating dog and rescued friend.

Summer and Beautiful; A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words.

A Monarch butterfly takes her first flight from my hand. 

Peaceful Vegan-Since-Birth Soul at age 3.

A special gentle friend: Magic - hugging a Sequoia tree. 

Butterflies hand feeding a deer; whom we protected from hunters.

A fawn showed up at my camp-sight in the mornings - and the mother trusted me!

Paw and hand intertwine; paw of Baba and hand of mine. 

Butterflies; age 59, 38 years vegan and holding the book she published.

A Monarch starting to emerge from the chrysalis in my 'Gardens of Tranquility'.