A message from Carolena
It All Started With A Fortune Cookie...
During the summer of 2006 I opened a fortune cookie (I didn't eat it because they are made with egg, but I digress.) The fortune read, "Depart not from the path to which fate has you assigned." Huh? At 45 years of age, I want to think about retiring — did this mean that I was going to be a belly dancer for the rest of my life?! And then it hit me: all this time that I have spent gaining an audience and getting connected to people is so that I would be able to reach out and talk about veganism and the compassionate, cruelty-free lifestyle.
2007 marks the 20th anniversary of FatChanceBellyDance my creation of American Tribal Style Belly Dance. To celebrate this milestone and the completion of eleven dvds, three cds, a Folkwear pattern and a special edition book published by Barnes and Noble, I am “taking the year off.” If you know me, this doesn’t mean sitting still. I’ll still be teaching classes and traveling for workshops, performing and administrating the studio. But, I’m going to take some time to do something that’s been nagging at me for the last few months. I’m going to focus on Compassion for Animals.
I’ve been an ethical vegetarian since I was 14 years old, but I continued to occasionally eat dairy and eggs. I reasoned that since the animals and birds weren’t killed for cheese or eggs, it was OK to consume their products. I wore leather shoes and wool sweaters, again reasoning that it was just a byproduct of the industry. I had no idea that I was still participating in the very industry that I was trying to avoid.
I have a great admiration for Quan Yin. the Goddess of Compassion. Years ago, she made her way into my life as a line drawing on a piece of scrap paper. I was so transfixed by her gaze that I eventually had her tattooed on my arm, so great was my need to have her near me at all times. My exploration of Compassion lead me to choose a lifestyle that avoids all animal products: food, leather, wool, silk*...anything of animal origin.
*(we've just replaced our silk veils with poly chiffon, very pretty!)
Starting today FCBD is expanding to include Carolena's Little Vegan World offering resources for a Compassionate lifestyle. We will offer information and products, and I will be available to answer any questions on the topic. I feel that the most important thing I can do at this moment in my life is to encourage and provide information to anyone who is remotely interested in becoming vegan. You are not wrong for not doing it sooner, you are not wrong for not knowing what was happening, you are not wrong for enjoying the taste of cheese (it's addictive). Don't spend even a moment berating yourself for not doing it sooner, just do it now. Every choice you make is saving a life. The smallest change in your diet is contributing to the end of factory farms and animal suffering.
Veganism is, as far as I am concerned, the only 100% fool-proof system. There are no loopholes. It's not a religion. It doesn't cost anything, a matter of fact you might even save money and lose weight!
and Carolena's Little Vegan World