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Tag: animals

It Would Be So Much Easier to Not Care

Why I Still Care

In this end-of-year episode, I reflect on how much easier it would be to not care — to choose convenience over compassion, to get what we want when we want it without having to think about the effects of our choices. I also share why I continue to make the choices I do, 24 years later. 

Prevent Compassion Fatigue and Burnout

LEARN TO PREVENT COMPASSION FATIGUE, CULTIVATE RESILIENCE, AVOID BURNOUT, AND PRACTICE SELF CARE

…all while being an effective advocate and voice for animals. In our 3 hours together, we will be focusing on how a mindfulness and compassion practice can heal and prevent compassion fatigue, burnout, and empathic distress.

If you missed the live event, for a limited time, you can receive the 3 hours of video presentations, plus reading materials and resources! Reviews of happy participants can be found here.

PLEASE JOIN MY MAILING LIST FOR FUTURE EVENTS. YOU CAN ALSO PURCHASE MY EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION WORKSHOP.

By the end of our 3-hour workshop, you will learn:

  • Practical strategies for cultivating a compassionate orientation to the world — one that looks through the lens of hope instead of despair and optimism instead of cynicism
  • How to foster a commitment to animals and advocacy without feeling guilty that you’re not doing enough or bearing witness enough
  • Everyday tools for deepening your compassion and connection with friends, family, strangers, and yourself
  • How to prioritize resilience, self-care, and healthy empathy so you can increase your impact without compromising your mental health
  • And so much more!

Drop into the present moment

I don’t know about you, but that is certainly easier said than done. It’s so tempting to look back on the past with remorse and regret. It’s so easy to look to the future with dread and fear. In all those ways, we’re not in the present moment.

One strategy I’ve often used and shared with others is to look down at your feet when you’re in your head, worrying about the future or lamenting about the past.

Another practice I find useful is a Five Senses Check-In. It’s very simple. From wherever you are at anytime, simply acknowledge:

  • five things you can see
  • four things you can touch
  • three things you can hear
  • two things you can smell
  • one thing you can taste.

I actually enjoy this very much and often find myself smiling as I bring all of my attention to the present moment. Try it, and let me know what you think.

Read some reasons people have registered:

“Sometimes I get a bit of compassion fatigue and I just ignore everything or I start to get hopeless and sad and overwhelmed about the world. I am hoping to get some coping skills and habits to help me with this.”

“Although I’m not currently experiencing burn out related to compassion fatigue, I have in the past, so am looking forward to Colleen’s tools for preventing it from happening again. I know that any workshop by CPG is going to be helpful and an excellent use of my time and money. 💜”

“I am so excited about the upcoming workshop! Recently, I have felt that I’ve lost something. I feel like I need to figure out how to deal with this and renew my compassion and conviction.”

“I am joining your workshop because I’ve been vegan about 8 months and it has been a very dark and painful time. I did get immediately into animal rights activism, and I overdid it, even though I had read about burnout. I ignored the signs and plowed ahead, and just about did burn out. I am looking to add to my toolkit to include self-compassion.”

My Prayer for Humans on Behalf of Animals

My hope is that we can navigate through this world with the grace and integrity of those who most need our protection.

May we have the sense of humor and liveliness of the goats; may we have the maternal instincts and protective nature of the hens and the sassiness of the roosters.

May we have the gentleness and strength of the cattle and the wisdom, humility, and serenity of the donkeys.

May we appreciate the need for community as do the sheep and choose our companions as carefully as do the rabbits.

May we have the faithfulness and commitment to family of the geese, the adaptability and affability of the ducks.

May we have the intelligence, loyalty, and affection of the pigs and the inquisitiveness, sensitivity, and playfulness of the turkeys.

My hope is that we can learn from the animals what we need to become better people.

May it be so.

Please feel free to share this text, share any of the graphics on your social media pages, or print either version of the PDF. One is titled A Prayer for Humans; one is titled A Hope for Humans.

PDF: Prayer for Humans on Behalf of Animals

PDF: Hope for Humans on Behalf of Animals

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Barmbrack (Irish Fruitcake) Recipe

Vegan, Dairy-Free, Scrumptious Fruitcake — for Halloween or Anytime!

Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruitcake known for its unique connection to Halloween. The name barmbrack comes from the Irish term báirín breac, which means “speckled bread.” It’s a moist, sweet loaf made with tea-soaked raisins and sultanas.

What makes it particularly special is the inclusion of symbolic items baked into the cake. These items, such as a ring, a coin, a pea, and a stick, carry distinct meanings for those who find them. The tradition of including these objects in barmbrack turns it into a form of fortune-telling game.

Barmbrack’s association with Halloween in Ireland is rooted in the tradition of divination and superstition. People would eagerly anticipate the slicing of the barmbrack on Halloween night, as the item they found in their slice was believed to foretell their future.

For example, finding a ring meant one would be married within the year, while discovering a coin signified good fortune. Today, barmbrack remains a beloved treat during the Halloween season, and the tradition of including symbolic items continues to be a fun and cherished part of this festive time in Ireland.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups mixed dried fruit (raisins, currants, sultanas)
  • 1 cup strong brewed black tea (cooled)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp marmalade or apricot jam (for glazing)

Directions

  1. Start by brewing a strong cup of black tea and letting it cool. Once cooled, pour it over the mixed dried fruit in a large bowl. Make sure all the fruit is submerged. Cover the bowl and let it sit overnight, allowing the fruit to plump up.
  2. The next day, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and line a 7-8 inch round cake tin with parchment paper.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, spices, and salt.
  4. Stir the applesauce and vanilla extract into the soaked dried fruit.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the fruit mixture, stirring until well combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove the Barmbrack from the oven and let it cool in the tin for a few minutes. Then, transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Once the Barmbrack has cooled, warm the marmalade or apricot jam in a small saucepan. Brush it over the top of the cake for a glossy finish.
  10. Slice and serve your vegan Barmbrack. It’s best enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee.

This vegan Barmbrack is a delicious treat for Halloween or any time you want to savor a spiced fruitcake with a bit of Irish tradition.

Black Cats and Halloween: The History Behind the Superstition

Why Black Cats and Halloween?

Why are certain animals synonymous with Halloween — bats, rats, owls, spiders, ravens, crows, toads, wolves, and…black cats?

What is the deal with black cats and witches?

Did Pope Gregory IX issue a papal bull during the 13th century that called for the mass extermination of black cats?

What’s the history behind all of this, and what does it mean for us (and the animals) today? 

Join me as we explore the mystery and the madness behind black cats and Halloween!

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The Difference Between Compassion, Empathy, Sympathy, and Altruism

The Goal is Compassion

Compassion has always been the foundation of my work and life, and it is the topic of my next book, A Year of Compassion: 52 Weeks of Living Zero Waste, Plant-Based, and Cruelty-Free.

Compassion is why I’m vegan. But veganism is not my goal. Compassion is.

I don’t strive to be as vegan as I can be. I strive to be as compassionate as I can be.

When we think being vegan is the destination to reach, we treat it as an ideology and obsess over trying to be perfect and pure.

I don’t live according to veganism. I live according to compassion.

Compassion vs. Sympathy, Empathy, and Altruism

Personally, I find compassion to be one of the most powerful, universal, and life-altering human experiences, and I also find it to be gravely misunderstood.

So, as we continue to explore this topic together, let’s start with the basics — the difference between sympathy, empathy, altruism, and compassion.

Sympathy

Sympathy involves understanding and acknowledging another person’s emotions and feelings, especially in times of difficulty or suffering. It’s about showing concern, support, and care for someone’s well-being. However, sympathy doesn’t necessarily require a deep emotional connection or putting oneself in the other person’s shoes.

Empathy

Empathy takes things a little deeper; it is the ability to experience for yourself some of the pain that the other person may be experiencing. It is an acknowledgement of our shared experience as humans and recognition that we all feel grief and loss and pain and fear. You do not need to have experienced exactly the same events as the person who is suffering, but you do need to have the ability to really imagine how they must be feeling in their situation.

Empathy is a vicarious experience – if your friend is feeling afraid, you too will experience a feeling of fear in your body; if they are sad, you too will feel sorrow. Feeling empathy is allowing yourself to become tuned into another person’s emotional experience. It takes courage and emotional resonance. Altruism:

Altruism

Altruism refers to the selfless concern and actions taken for the well-being of others, often without any personal gain or expectation of reciprocation. Altruistic behaviors involve helping, supporting, or benefiting others with genuine kindness and concern, though it may or may not be accompanied by empathy or compassion — for example, making a donation for tax purposes — but it is driven by a desire to make a positive impact on someone else’s life.

Compassion

Compassion combines both empathy and altruism. If empathy is the ability to experience the feelings and pain of another, compassion translates that feeling into action. Compassion involves an empathic response as well as altruistic behavior, but compassion is characterized by feeling empathetic toward someone’s struggles and understanding their pain — and then taking action to alleviate that suffering.

It moves us emotionally, but it moves us to ACT. Action is the key difference between sympathy, empathy, and compassion.

We’ll return to this topic again and again, including:

  • what the fundamental principles of compassion are
  • how compassion is so misunderstood
  • why having compassion for people who do wrong does not condone bad behavior
  • how to cultivate compassion

and so much more. In the meantime, the etymology of these words might also be a helpful way to differentiate between them.

Etymology of Sympathy, Empathy, Altruism, and Compassion

Sympathy: The word “sympathy” comes from the Greek word “sympatheia,” which means “fellow feeling” or “community of feeling.” The term is formed from “syn” (together) and “pathos” (feeling or suffering), reflecting the idea of sharing emotions with others.

Empathy: The term “empathy” originated from the German word “Einfühlung,” which translates to “feeling into.” It was used in aesthetics to describe the process of projecting oneself into a work of art. It’s derived from the Greek “em-” (in) and “pathos” (feeling or emotion).

Altruism: The word “altruism” has its roots in the Latin word “alter,” meaning “other.” It was introduced into English in the mid-19th century and was used to describe the principle or practice of unselfish concern for the welfare of others. The term “altruism” was coined by the French philosopher Auguste Comte, derived from the Latin “altrui” (of or to others).

Compassion: “Compassion” comes from the Latin word “compassio,” which means “suffering with.” The term is formed from “com-” (together) and “pati” (to suffer). It signifies the act of sharing in the suffering of others, demonstrating a deep understanding and willingness to help alleviate their pain.

What are your thoughts about compassion? I would love to hear from you.

Monuments of Compassion: Honoring Animal Advocates in the United States

As a history enthusiast and passionate animal advocate, I firmly believe in acknowledging the pioneers whose efforts shaped the modern animal protection movement in the United States. In my podcast episode, Animal Advocate Monuments and Memorials (Part One), I explore the lives and legacies of four remarkable individuals who dedicated their lives to fighting for animals: Henry Bergh, George Thorndike Angell, Caroline Earle White, and Jack London. Join me I reveal the memorials and monuments that honor their invaluable contributions to a more compassionate world.

Henry Bergh: A Trailblazer for Animal Rights

Henry Bergh, a visionary and tireless animal advocate, founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in 1866. His mission was to protect animals from abuse, cruelty, and neglect. Bergh’s groundbreaking work led to the passing of the first anti-cruelty law in the United States.

To enforce the newly established animal cruelty laws, Bergh pioneered the idea of humane officers. These officers were appointed by the ASPCA and empowered with the authority to investigate reports of animal abuse, cruelty, and neglect. They had the legal right to enter properties, seize mistreated animals, and arrest individuals responsible for harming animals. This was a groundbreaking and innovative concept at the time, as it marked the first instance of law enforcement officers being specifically designated for animal protection purposes.

Today, he is remembered as the “Father of the Animal Rights Movement” and honored with memorials that celebrate his pioneering efforts.

Henry Bergh Monument, Bridgeport Connecticut

P.T. Barnum, the famous showman, circus owner, and unlikely friend of Henry Bergh paid for Henry Bergh’s memorial in Bridgeport as a tribute to the visionary animal advocate’s significant contributions to the welfare and protection of animals.

Water Trough for Horses in Honor of Henry Bergh and the ASPCA in Central Park

The bathtub-shaped granite trough at Central Park’s Sixth Avenue entrance commemorates Henry Bergh, the ASPCA founder, and provides fresh water to animals, known as the “mute servants of mankind.” Donated by Mrs. Henry C. Russell in 1908, its original location is unclear, but later found at Kennedy Airport’s “animal shelter” and then brought to City Hall Park.

Mausoleum and Sculpture Honoring Henry Bergh in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn

The beautiful bas relief sculpture honoring Henry Bergh in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, was thoughtfully installed as a permanent loan below his grave, coinciding with the anniversary of the founding of the ASPCA, a testament to his enduring legacy in championing animal welfare and protection.

George Thorndike Angell: Champion of Animal Welfare and Humane Education

George Thorndike Angell was a prominent lawyer and animal lover who established the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) in 1868. His advocacy extended beyond legal protection, as he also focused on education and awareness to promote humane treatment of animals. Angell’s legacy lives on through his organization’s continued efforts and the monuments that pay tribute to his invaluable work.

Monument to George Thorndike Angell in Boston, Massachusetts

George Thorndike Angell’s monument in Boston, Massachusetts, is a poignant tribute, commemorating his significant contributions as the founder of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) and his unwavering dedication to improving the lives of animals.

George Thorndike Angell Grave, Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts

George Thorndike Angell’s grave stands as a tribute to his tireless advocacy and pioneering work for animal welfare, leaving a lasting legacy in his efforts to protect and care for animals, as the founder of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Band of Mercy.

Caroline Earle White: A Visionary Advocate for All Beings

Caroline Earle White was a dedicated animal activist and the founder of the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) in 1883. She passionately campaigned against animal experimentation and cruelty, advocating for the abolition of vivisection (the use of living animals) in medical research. White’s commitment to the cause and her organization’s achievements have been commemorated through various memorials that highlight her unwavering dedication to animal welfare.

Caroline Earle White Memorials

While there are no physical monuments dedicated to Caroline Earle White that I am aware of, her legacy lives on through the numerous animal drinking fountains built in Philadelphia, inspired by her advocacy. Additionally, her enduring impact is evident in the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS), which continues to champion animal rights and the abolition of animal testing. Stay tuned for more on fountains and Caroline’s remarkable contributions in Part Two of our “Monuments to Animal Advocates” podcast episode. (Listen to Part One here.)

Caroline Earle White is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Jack London: An Outspoken Voice for Performing Animals

Jack London, the renowned American author and social activist, displayed an unwavering determination to end animal performances in circuses during the early 20th century. Recognizing the cruelty and exploitation faced by animals forced to perform tricks for public entertainment, London used his influential platform to speak out against such practices. Through his powerful writings and advocacy, he raised public awareness about the plight of circus animals, urging for the abolishment of their use in shows. Listen to this episode (and read this blog post) about how London successfully inspired Ringling to remove animal acts in the early 1920s — and how his hometown of Oakland inspired the closing of the largest traveling animal circus 100 years later.

Jack London Square in Oakland, California

The most notable example of a remembrance of Jack London is Jack London Square located in Oakland, California. This waterfront district was named in his honor and features a life-size bronze statue of the author, commemorating his literary achievements and contributions to social activism. There’s also a statue of a wolf (in honor of Call of the Wild and White Fang, the still-open saloon he used to write in called Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon, and a replica of his cabin in Alaska. There’s also Jack London State Park in Sonoma County and the remains of the home he built that was destroyed in a fire.

As I mention in Part One of Animal Advocate Monuments and Memorials, there is so much to say about the memorials and monuments to the people who dedicated their lives to animals, and I’ll be sharing more in Part Two!

In the meantime, please enjoy listening to Part One, and I hope you enjoyed this walk down history lane. For the animals, until next time.

Cruelty and Compassion are Both Universal

Animal Sanctuaries Demonstrate This

Our use and abuse of farmed animals is universal — wherever you are, whatever country you visit. ⁠

👉 pigs, turkeys, chickens, and cattle brought into this world only to be raised to be killed for human consumption⁠

👉 goats and cows bred to be milk machines, only to be killed when they’re no longer productive⁠

👉 donkeys and horses bred for use — often sold to be slaughtered for human consumption⁠

Such were the stories of the animals we met in Italy. ⁠

⁠BUT as much as cruelty and desensitization is universal, so is COMPASSION AND ADVOCACY. ❤️

⁠We include visits to animal sanctuaries on all of our Joyful Vegan Trips (where possible) because not only is it meaningful to connect with animals, it’s also so meaningful to meet good people around the world doing vital work to protect animals:

👉 changing laws⁠

👉 rescuing animals⁠

👉 raising awareness⁠

👉 providing sanctuary⁠

These are some of the incredible souls we met on our recent journey to Italy (and who you will meet on our Destination Tuscany 2024 and our Northern Italy 2024 trips). ⁠

⁠Compassion is universal. ⁠

Effective Communication and Advocacy Workshop

Effective Communication and Advocacy Workshop with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

In the 24 years I’ve been guiding people to becoming and staying vegan, I’ve learned that people stay vegan or stop being vegan depending on well they navigate the social, cultural, and emotional aspects of living vegan in a non-vegan world. 

Especially when it comes to how we communicate.

In this worldwide, interactive, 3-hour-long workshop, I’ll share my solutions, strategies, and secrets for navigating and overcoming the most common challenges for communicating and advocating effectively, joyfully, and compassionately.

Wherever you live, whatever time zone you’re in, and wherever you are on your journey, this workshop will address the most essential aspects of communication, including

  • how to share your passion without proselytizing
  • how to let go of the pressure to have all the answers or the perfect response
  • how to talk about animal issues in a way that can be heard
  • how to manage frustration, anger, expectations, and attachment to outcome
  • how to know where you end and another person begins
  • understanding the fact that some people will take what we’re saying as strident even if we don’t come across that way
  • how to use / control our emotions without our emotions controlling us

Why should I attend this online workshop?

This online event enables you to connect with participants from all around the globe from the comfort of your own home, while incurring no travel costs and reducing your environmental footprint. Even though this is an online event, we’re using sophisticated technology to shrink the digital distance between us so that we can engage, interact, and connect — not just you and me — but you, me, and all our fellow global participants. You can expect:

  • Real-time sessions with me (no pre-recorded content!)
  • Opportunities for Q&A
  • Interactive exercises
  • Live chats with me and other participants
  • Prizes and giveaways!

What are the topics?

The sessions are based on the principles in my book, The Joyful Vegan: How to Stay Vegan in a World That Wants You to Eat Meat, Dairy, and Eggs—principles and strategies that can make the difference between being effective and ineffective, joyful and frustrated.  

While the exact sessions may be subject to change, here is what we’ve got lined up so far:

COMPASSIONATE COMMUNICATION — SKILLS AND STRATEGIES

Learn how engaging in compassionate communication promotes understanding and positive change.

HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE ADVOCATES

This session emphasizes the habits that effective (and joyful) advocates share: empathy, relationship-building, storytelling, honesty, solution-oriented thinking, and acknowledging and celebrating progress.

CHOOSING THE TYPE OF ADVOCACY THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU

Align your strengths, passions, and values with an advocacy approach that suits you best. Hint: you don’t have to call yourself an advocate to advocate. It just means using your voice!

What’s the difference between the BASIC and VIP levels?

As a VIP, you get everything in the Basic level (full participation, recording of the workshop once it’s over), plus: 

  • private one-on-one 30-minute post-event call with Colleen
  • follow-up group call 3 months after event with Colleen and other VIP attendees
  • 20% discount for The Joyful Vegan book

Don’t Steal Baby Fawns!

Helping or Hindering Wildlife: Understanding When Baby Deer Need Human Intervention

Now that it’s spring (READ: BABY SEASON!), well-meaning humans often assume that because a fawn is alone she must be an orphan, leading to numerous fawn “kidnappings” each year. In today’s episode, I share tips, guidance, stories, and advice on what to do if you see an “abandoned” baby fawn or an injured adult deer or any wild animal at all. Even if you don’t encounter these situations directly, it’s sooo helpful to know what to do so you can pass it along to your friends, family, and neighbors.