If you are a vegan for animal welfare or environmental reasons, it’s likely that you are someone who is very compassionate, and gets upset by all the unkindness and cruelty in the world. And because there is so much of it, it can be difficult to keep your spirits up, even if you are trying to make some corner of the world a better place for all beings. But a bit like the old adage that ‘you have to put on your own oxygen mask, in order to help anyone else’, if you don’t ‘keep your vibes up’, it is difficult to help at all. Obviously this is not always possible (and let’s take a moment here to thank those who selflessly do undercover investigation work, which must be a nightmare), but here are some books to help you keep your emotions higher, in order to help more. Heed the words of yoga teacher Steve Ross ‘World peace begins with yourself’.
These books for hope in a tragic world are needed in the present day. Turn off the news. You can’t help others if you feel despairing yourself. Writer Paul Kingsnorth believes there is no benefit to reading or watching the news, it’s ‘an avalanche of angry opinion, telling you what you ought to think about it, and how to act in response’.
Being optimistic is not being the same as annoyingly happy people! Things aren’t looking great, to be sure. You can’t remain ‘upbeat’ when animals are suffering, the planet is burning and people are needlessly dying. Often due to government ineptitude or greed. The recent idea that you should ‘avoid negative people’ means everyone happily hops off into the sunset, leaving the poor, oppressed, bewildered, grief-stricken and clinically depressed to their own devices. If ‘like attracts like’; they will all attract each other, and be even worse. How is that good?
Spiritually Fly is a book by Faith Hunter, who is known for her ability to share classic yoga wisdom in a way that is grounded and radical. here she shares her life philosophy, empowering women from all walks of life to embrace their true self-worth, and live their most epic lives. Her own journey (a young black girl in the South whose brother was dying of AIDS contracted from a blood transfusion) meant she often struggled to trust in spirit and God. Her own journey brings a fresh grounded vibe to her teachings, blending classic yoga wisdom with modern-day living. She includes a wealth of ‘Soulprints’ (exercises and reflections, including yoga asanas and kriyas, pranayama and chakra explorations) to help.
Who Cares Wins is by former supermodel Lily Cole (who holds an MA from Cambridge University and Doctor of Letters for contribution to environmental issues). She offers alternatives to fast fashion & food, and fossil fuels (she’s also a fan of adopting unwanted babies). Some say she should be ‘world controller!’
The Law of Positivism is a book to help you raise your vibration and live your highest potential, through the conscious practice of healing your mind, body and soul. Our thoughts, perception and emotions create our reality. We can heal ourselves through daily practices that create more positive energy in our lives, and transform how we experience the world. Shereen Öberg dives deep into how you can live immersed in gratitude and love through meditation, journaling, breathing and contemplation to heal and release that which is not serving your highest purpose. You will learn how to meditate to create empowering thoughts, understand your emotions and release fears, feel empowered as an empath, heal on all levels, understand your purpose and cultivate self-love and healthy relationships.
The Comfort Book is a book of reflections on hope, survival and the messy miracle of being alive. It is a strange paradox that many of the clearest and most comforting life lessons are learned, while we are at our lowest. But then we never think about food more than when hungry, nor about life rarts, more than when we are thrown overboard. This is a collection of consoldations learned in hard times, with suggestions to make the bad days better. These meditations are for when you need the wisdom of a friend, or a reminder that we can always nurture inner strength and hope, even in our busy world.
A Mindfulness Guide for Survival is by Ruby Wax. You may know her as a zany comedienne, but she is also an Oxford-educated expert on mindfulness and mental health. Ruby has written this workbook for you as a guide on how to drop anchor when life (and the world around you) gets too daunting.g It’s filled with exercises and information when you are suddenly forced to confront hard truths and the big six realities – difficult emotions, uncertainty, loneliness, change, dissatisfaction and death. Think of this as an evolve-yourself book to help you hold the rudder straight, no matter how turbulent the waves.
A Book for Animal Activists & Others
Aftershock is an important book on how those involved in stressful campaigns can recover enough to carry on. Written for people who work in areas like animal or human rights abuses, the main issue is often a world that does not care. Many activists do so much wonderful work, but then struggly with the physical and emotional reverberations of frightening, horrifying or traumatising experiences in the course of their work. This book explores the culture of trauma that people have created through our violent exploitation of the earth, animals and each other. And says that the obvious solution is to heal these injuries, by creating a more peaceful work. The book is also useful for therapists who treat trauma, and anyone who wants to reduce the amount of terror in the world.
Beautiful Books for Empaths
Empaths are people who can feel the pain of others (not physically, but emotionally). So for instance, most empaths will imagine the fright and pain of an animal in an abbattoir or other situation, rather than just look down at ‘a slab of meat’ on the plate. The problem is that in modern western society, you are in the minority (around 1% of the population, it’s estimated). So if you feel alone, then here are some books to help:
The Happy Empath offers a Rainbow Quiz to identify what kind of empath you are, then follow the colour-coded tips to work with your specific strengths. Let these tips help you stay even-keeled, even in stormy moments. Learn to protect yourself in 19 everyday environments (from office to home to online) and find ideas for handling delicate situations (like stuck between people who argue or sitting with a chatty stranger on a journey).
Sensitive is the New Strong asks you to celebrate being an empath. Being a vegan means you care about the welfare of all creatures, and this book can help you navigate your emotions in a world that often doesn’t understand. Anita Moorjani writes how it’s possible to turn an onslaught of emotional burden into a powerful tool. We need more people who are sensitive, kind and compassionate in the world. Without people like you, what a cruel world this would be. Claim your power as an eampth and find insights from other empaths, meditations and self-affirming mantras to empower.
When you’re in a dark place, you think you’ve been buried. But you’ve actually been planted. Christine Caine