People Sanctuary: Summerfest Update

Bitten by bugs. Oh the irony.

I’m briefly updating from the steps of my dorm at the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown campus. I just got back from an hour long hike and the sun is setting.

I imagine it will take me some time to find the words to convey what it’s like to be here, this place that has transformed from regular (albeit quite beautiful) college campus to vegan sanctuary/utopia/life education center for a week. One thing all the speakers keep talking about is this notion of continuing to be an ambassador when this week is over: to take the tools and knowledge gathered here to share with as many people as will listen. And to those who don’t want to listen, to plant the seed of compassion.

During the past month, I felt as though I hit… not a wall, but a plateau in my own cooking and recipe developing, my desire to consistently improve myself mentally and physically, and in general motivation to use time efficiently. Don’t get me wrong, great things have happened – getting my food in a local cafe for customers to purchase, making an offer on a home for me and Ryan (dogs! babies! maybe! I don’t know!), building stronger relationships with beautiful people, and so much more – all of which I am grateful for and do not take for granted.

But I needed something and I believe I am finding it here, or I am finding the pieces here that help me put more of it together. We have a responsibility to ourselves to live with intent.

And I feel inspired, hopeful. I feel it when I see the children, vegan since birth, so happy and healthy running around talking about how much they love their dogs. I feel it when I talk to the couple in their late 60’s who started plant-based diets seven years ago and have since been able to get off all medications. Or when I meet the people from my own community and we plan potlucks and outings to take once we are back home. I feel it in the enthusiasm of cookbook authors and personal chefs, talking about their personal journeys and telling myself “I can do this”.

And right now, literally just seconds before I typed this sentence, a woman walking into the building stopped near me and said, “You look so peaceful right now”.

When I’m done here, I’m going to meet some folks for a Skywatching class. People wish on stars on I have so many new wishes to make, while remembering that it is us who have the real power to make things happen. And we will.

Sleep well,

Jaime K