Through Death I Experience Life
Sadness and grief fills my heart in the fall, as it is the time of year that I slaughter so many of my meat animals. Just this week alone, I killed seven of my chickens and hired someone to shoot two of my beef steers in front of me. It feels awful to write that, but death is a necessary component of raising animals for food. It is through the experience of killing my animals that I have united with Nature at an intensely intimate level.
I am a meat-eater, but I prefer to only eat meat from the animals I raise or wild game my family harvests. Having an intimate connection to my food is how I live in alignment with Mother Nature. I feel deeply connected to Nature as I consume my animal products because I truly know all that went into my food. I experienced every bit of raising that animal throughout it’s life, and through it’s death.
On the day of slaughter, I feel incredibly sad. I have to transition my meat animal into a new form, where spirit separates from body and returns to Nature. The task of killing is the most difficult task I undertake on my ranch. My main concern is that my animals do not suffer during their transition. I want it to be quick and painless.
Although I experience great sadness, I know that the only way out of the pain is to go through it. If I avoid the sadness of losing my animals (by letting all my meat animals live and never eating meat again), I will only avoid the inevitable. Grasping onto their lives by not allowing their departure will strengthen my fear of death and weaken my trust in the process of life. I will avoid the opportunity to go a level deeper into life. Killing my meat animals takes me deeper into my true self–into the darkest parts of myself. It exposes my greatest fears and leaves me completely open and raw.
This is letting go. My meat animals are some of my greatest teachers. They have taught me how to let go of the things I love and cherish.
The opening that is created inside of me through the process of letting go is the space from which Mother Nature’s truth emerges. Her strength fills me as my weak walls crumble at Her feet. I see through Her eyes. I see the beauty that is present everywhere–the beauty that is even present within the ugliness of death.
Nature shows me that the purpose of life isn’t to avoid death. The purpose of life lies within the experience of letting go of everything, and opening to Nature’s wisdom.