May only love prevail!

lion lovr

I try not to hate. But I do hate experiments on animals. Reading a dying girl’s account of her last months, and the things which sustained her, I came across this story. It was an experiment on animals, and horrible though it was, it gave me food for thought, and some real joy, as it did her.

Healthy laboratory rats were being injected/ infected with cancer, in order to test a cure, but the researchers were puzzled that one batch of rats remained healthy. Investigating the rat’s life cycle to discover why they were immune to cancer, they asked the laboratory technician looking after them what their routines were. He told that them before he fed each rat, he couldn’t resist cuddling and stroking them.

So, these intelligent, lovely creatures, experiencing love, were able to resist deadly infection. I’ve thought a lot about love since, and what it means and how it manifests itself in all creatures and all forms of life.

It’s that time of year here, when the calves have been born, and their mothers demonstrate the same sort of mother love that our supposedly superior species do too. When the calves are born, the mother cow washes them and nuzzles them, and the washing and nuzzling and warm contact – love – is vital to keep them alive and anchor them in this world. The mothers feed them, and they nurture them. And when the calf is taken from them after a few days, depending on the farmer’s routines or whims, they grieve terribly, their bellows of pain echoing across the fields.

Thanks to this annual ordeal we are able to enjoy milk and butter and cheese, and thereby keep up our calcium levels and build strong bones. Being human is a terrible dilemma, where compassion is at war with what we perceive to be our needs or our enjoyment.

The intelligence and life force in everything around us is a constant miracle to me. I read today that plants, which all have their own individual scents, emit a warning smell to all plants around them when they’ve been attacked by a snail or an insect nibbling a morsel out of a leaf. And though all plant species have their unique scent, this warning scent they send out is the same for all different species… an amazing, intelligent and altruistic response to danger… Could Kant argue against altruism in plants as he did in human beings? I think not, there’s no advantage to a plant to warn fellow plants of all kinds, that they should beware… it must be pure love…

Loving plants! I think of trees, how scientist have discovered that the biggest, mother tree, apparently communicates with other younger trees around her, via fungi spores, and how dying trees send their energy along the spores to other healthy trees, a legacy of love from a dying tree.

And getting back to snails, the enemy of gardeners, and delicious delight to gourmets – we under-rate their feelings and intelligence as we do every other living thing except ourselves. I’ve been re-reading Elizabeth Luard’s book about bringing up her family in Spain and Provence, a medley of recipes and rich experiences.

A carnivore as well as afficionado of the bull fight, she unashamedly ate what the local people eat, with no scruples. So in the Languedoc, she and her children gathered snails by the bucket full, and then starved them for a few days on just a few herbs like thyme and rosemary, to clear their digestive system. But snails ain’t stoopid!

She described countless mornings coming downstairs into the kitchen, to find the snails had banded together in a concerted effort, lifted the bucket lid and escaped. ‘Snail break-out!’ she’d call and the household would tumble downstairs to search for the clever little gastropods.

Snails are altruistic too. I once read of two snails being observed in a garden with very poor pickings for a snail. One of them was sick, and the other seemed to abandon it by climbing the garden wall and finding a healthier environment down below. But he came back and accompanied the sick snail to greener healthier pastures. Which leads me to believe that snails can communicate with each other, and feel kindness and responsibility to a fellow snail! Maternal mother snails lay their eggs in little clumps, and visit them regularly until they hatch.

Though it seems amazing to read of solving the riddles of outer space, I find the incredible miracle of life on earth even more amazing, and I know that at this moment, our understanding of it is only scratching the surface of all that is underfoot and all around.

For so long homo sapiens has claimed superiority over all the earth’s creatures, and not just those who read Genesis which tells us we have dominion over all creatures… Buddhism seems to be one of the few creeds which honours other forms of life. While so-called philosophers like Descartes have encouraged mankind to ignore the feelings of animals and given us carte blanche to treat them as though they are mindless unfeeling machines.

Yet the beauty, the intelligence, the goodness, the love and the life in the whole of creation, is, it seems to me, reason for admitting that all creatures are equal in the sight of the Creator, the Source, or whatever we want to call the First Cause. (Reading of the way women are treated in some countries and some cultures, I feel the same about them too.)

One of the most powerful images of love is that of Christian the lion, racing down the African hill-side to leap into the arms of the two men who had brought him up, to hug them and lick them. The men had bought him from Harrods, and he lived with them in London until they were able to re-wild him as a teenager, with the help of George Adamson. It was a dreadful wrench to leave him in Africa and return to London, and they went back to visit him a year later. Christian saw and recognised them from afar, and crying and making heartfelt noises, tore down the hill to be re-united with the people he loved.

Sometime later, when they returned again, Christian had a wife and cubs, and led his two former guardians into the wild to meet them. The two men sat there quietly all day in the hot sun among the rocks with Christian and his wife and children, the very picture of Edward Hicks’ painting of ’The Peacable Kingdom. ‘

Over the years our family lived with fifteen rescued dogs, three at a time. They were all breeds, two afghans, boxer, cavalier King Charles spaniels (six), borzoi, labrador, bull mastiff, salukis. We also had several dogs who were ‘chosen’, not rescued, and much as I loved them, there was a particular quality about the love our rescued dogs gave us… it was as though they never forgot their past, and were utterly devoted to us who were their new owners. It always seemed wrong to say we owned them – we cared for them.

The gifts of love they gave us meant that the house seemed always to be brimming with love and fun, the same sort of love and fun which fills a house with toddlers in it. And when I read of experiments when different bowls of rice are treated to indifference, or interest – one ignored, the others greeted – and the subsequent decay of the ignored rice, and flourishing health of the others, it sends a powerful message.

It tells me that love is behind all life. Indifference is the opposite of love and is a killer. But love gives life, and health and hope. Scientific experiments have shown us that the observer can change the behaviour of what is observed, so maybe loving thoughts are as powerful as loving deeds. Maybe the rats would have survived the experiments supposed to make them ill, if they had just sensed and felt that the lab technician loved them.

This thought encourages me to use that lovely mantra: ‘may only love prevail’, in all circumstances, even when someone has stolen my parking place or overtaken me dangerously! Love your enemies said a great Teacher… I think I begin to understand what He was talking about.

I also love food… and for many of us cooking is a tangible way of loving our loved ones. I’m always looking for new ways to cook for my loved ones, and the other day hit the jackpot with a super-easy way of cooking organic chicken thighs…saute in butter and set aside. Pour a glass of wine into the pan, a generous teaspoon each of Dijon mustard and whole grain mustard. Boil them up, add a cup or more of cream, heat it, and pour over the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook in a moderate oven for half an hour or until tender.

We ate it with plain boiled rice and spinach – it was good. With the one piece left and some of the leftover cream, I made quick cream of chicken soup for a light lunch the next day, while Himself enjoyed something more substantial.

I added a chopped leek sauted in butter, some garlic, and half a tin of condensed chicken soup. With a chicken stock cube, boiled and whizzed smooth, a dollop of cream and some nutmeg, it was a treat. As Orson Welles advised “Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.”

 

 

 

 

23 Comments

Filed under animals/pets, cancer, consciousness, cookery/recipes, love, spiritual, uncategorised, Uncategorized

23 responses to “May only love prevail!

  1. Katya Maker

    Hello Valerie ,

    long time no see….:) How is life treating you these days? I am hoping you are happy with your new man and you love where you are now !

    Katya Maker | Managing Director | katyamaker.com

    p +0800 999 788 | p +64 9 422 3359 17 Elizabeth St, Warkworth, New Zealand

    2017 JUNCTION AWARDS WINNER | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

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    • Hello Katya,
      How lovely to hear from you… every time I put on my purple jumper with the bright pink edge, or my pastel blue jumper, or my lovely red jacket, or use my black yellow and red scarf, or put on my dangly pearl earrings, I think of you!
      Yes, life is bliss… you can read about it if you’re interested, in several of my blogs written before a ‘merrier world and a beautiful one..’
      Hope all is well with you, I expect you are still giving the world the chance to wear all those beautiful things you find…
      Love, Valerie

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  2. Thank you. Thought provoking. I agree with all you say about animal and plant intelligence and wonder how long it will be before humanity realises that man…especially white and with balls…works out he is not at the top of pyramid. Rather on a flat playing field of all life. Pat Hadlee

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  3. Ask what’s for lunch? 🙂 Ha! Ask what your lunch can do for you. Sounds about right to me.

    Love can change so much and it also has a funny habit of growing when you use and share it instead of diminishing. And don’t forget the “love your neighbors as yourself” bit of your above quote from Jesus. Between those two parts of the quote, you’re basically being exhorted to love yourself and everyone else. Whoops! Full time job. 🙂

    Love to you and Himself!!

    janet

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  4. Ha-ha… very clever, I like it !
    Yes, if we actually took his advice, and really loved ourselves, then loving our neighbours comes naturally…in Eric Berne’s words, I’m okay, you’re okay…

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  5. Robert Fulgham’s Story Teller’s Creed is on the noticeboard above my computer. The last line (And I believe that love is stronger than death) comforts me immeasurably. If you haven’t come across the creed before you’ll find it here: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1023763-storyteller-s-creed-i-believe-that-imagination-is-stronger-than-knowledge and if you’re interested you can find his blog here: https://www.robertleefulghum.com/blog/

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    • I loved the Story Tellers Creed, Ele, thank you so much. yes that last line is a wonderful affirmation and a comfort, and is true. I scrambled off into the internet to read his blog… thank you… another name, another energy bringing positivity and warmth into the world.
      Always so good to hear from you, Valerie

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  6. Angela

    Synchronicity strikes again!…..I’ve just finished Elizabeth Luard’s My Life as a Wife & just incidentally I think she certainly put a lot of love into THAT relationship, plus patience, plus forebearance! Your thoughts on our relationships with the animal kingdom & nature herself are so pertinent….especially these days….we are so aware of the importance of them yet time & time again we hear of wretched cruelty to animals & greed driving destruction of trees etc….sometimes I despair!! Then again ‘Nil desperandum’….

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    • Hello Angela – synchronicity indeed! I am never without Elizabeth Luard’s book because I’ve used so many recipes from it since a friend gave it to me for Chrstmas years ago.
      Yes, read, her the book about her marriage too… but I also find her husband strangely attractive if you read up about him, his wonderful intelligence, work for the environment and the planet and for people, his devotion to his children, and things like doing the Camino trail when Francesca died, and giving his still born infant son a ceremonial funeral at sea… very damaged by his childhood, hence his alcoholism and need to be loved… in my experience women are more resilient and learn to cope with awful childhoods, but men- I have to say it – seem less resilient, and even more sensitive! All the research shows that boys take much longer than women, girls, and their fathers to recover from divorce…
      What you say about the planet is depressing, I know, – all we can do is try to rise above it, and remember we are only responsible for our own lives!!!!
      XXX

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      • Angela

        That’s so interesting that you enjoy her books too Valerie….usually when I mention her name I get blank looks! I do agree that Nicholas was a VERY attractive man!!….but imagine living with him….think I’d be chasing him with the frypan quite often…..but his charisma & fascination with life & the world around him & his devotion to his children are definitely saving graces! Also find it interesting that when they lived in the cork forest in Spain they were involved with the expat rich ‘hippy’ community including Henrietta Partridge (who died very recently) …..aren’t these twists & connections a delight!! xxx

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  7. Valerie, so lovely to stumble onto your blog after a time! Lovely piece today!!! You know I agree with you on every point. Speaking of altruism, my sweet boy Perry the cat recognized Tiger has been unwell and brought her his toy mouse, laying it between her front paws.

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  8. Lovely to hear from you Luanne …yes, I know we feel alike on these matters!
    Darling Perry – what a wonderful transformation from that frightened little boy who first came into your life- and what a demonstration of the power of love, the way he’s blossomed since he knew you loved him…
    Bless him! And you !

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  9. This was an informative, educational and enjoyable read, Valerie dear.

    Thank you, and I mean thank you!

    L&H,
    Eric

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  10. You honestly brought tears to my eyes with this post—and with this statement: Being human is a terrible dilemma. Oh, my is it ever. As for the thinking, feeling, knowing of plants and animals and birds and fish…I so remember the day the caught fish (I was 8) was gasping for breath on the ditch bank and one spoke to the other and said: “Help me die brave”. I have not been able to eat fish ever since. Then one day when I was in my 20-30 year age span when I swear I actually saw a plant lean toward me as I brought water to it. Then I ‘felt’ it sigh with great relief. Later I read that studies had been done on plants —and they do have feelings.
    Yes, my dear and most wonderful friend it is a hard delima to be human and eat so we can live. Hugs to you!

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    • Dearest Friend, your story of the fish brought tears to my eyes too…. and confirms why I rarely eat fish either… the way they die at sea, or with a hook and fishing rod is so cruel … amazing comment, thank you XXXX
      pS will be writing but a bit under the weather with acute RSI at the moment…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Valerie,

    I never would’ve connected snails with love. Fascinating. I know that infants who are deprived of love and touch don’t thrive. I wept at the thought of cows mourning the loss of their calves. I’d read this before but it hurts my heart.
    On a happier note, my brother and his wife always have at least three rescue dogs under their roof. One they have at present shows all the signs of having been terribly abused. She now enjoys affection and much needed medical care from loving hands. It makes my heart sing when I visit them.
    Oh the dilemma of the human condition. What we are capable of is appalling, isn’t it?
    Thank you for a lovely and eye-opening post. Please exchange hugs with Himself from me.

    Love and Shalom,

    Rochelle

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    • Dear Rochelle, so good to hear from you and read your lovely comment… and always so good to know that rescued dogs are safe and happy… oh the heartbreak of animals….
      If we didnl’t have a ban on cats and dogs in this protected forest I think we’d probably have dozens – if himself wasn’t allergic to their fur!!!
      Thank you for your insights and your enthusiasm, good friend,
      love from us both, Valerie

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  12. Valerie, I love this post. I have wept in the fields hearing the cows call and listened to farmers debate on whether to remove the calves at birth, or a few days later. I have seen calves pine and die. My heart asks ‘Why take them away at all?’ Beth Nielsen Chapman wrote her song ‘How we love’ after a hurricane and sang it to raise funds to help. She sings ‘All that matters, in the end, is how we love.’ ❤

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  13. Oh Jane, I so know how you feel, hearing the cows grieving… it’s just as bad with sheep, they go on calling and crying for about two days after their lambs are taken from them, and it’s unbearable, hearing all this pain and suffering day and night in the fields around us… one reason why I never live in the country anymore, but cling to the coast!
    Here in NZ farmers have to leave the calves with their mother for five days, by law, so they get the colostrum, and it doesn’t flavour the milk… but they still go through the agony of separation after that…
    yes, loving is what makes the difference in the world, and there’s not enough of it! But love to you, a loving friend XXX

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  14. Throughout my reading of this piece, one phrase hasn’t left me – Being human is a terrible dilemma. Such a dilemma when we want to do our best , not just human life but for all life, sentient and that which we perceive not to be so – until we read of fungi and snails and trees. Have you seen the beautiful programme made by Dame Judi Dench about trees? I think you would love it if you can get it. Here is a trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCQ62deoq_8
    Love is all we need as The Beatles sang!
    Love to you my friend xx

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