from Jesse Seiden, United States:
For me, visiting Gentle World was the beginning of my journey, but I was so impacted by the peaceful sanctuary and the amazing people who live in it, that I decided to come back to end my time in New Zealand there.
My intention upon arrival was to learn about farming, but what I learned instead is a way of life. One that lives in harmony with sentient beings; one that doesn’t inflict pain and suffering onto others; one that rises above the overwhelming stress and distractions which are the focus of the world I came from, and reaches a level where the focus becomes the integrity with which one chooses to live, day to day. I had never dreamed that living simply in nature and according to my conscience could make such a difference in how I think and feel.
The vegan message is the most important lesson I learned. Although the diet is just a part of it, it made an enormous impression on me, because of the sad truth of what I had been eating. In my whole existence I had never debated my diet. I always imagined a meal to be not complete without some sort of meat. It seemed stupid to even believe that I could live a life without it. My last birthday party was a bacon party. I practically worshipped meat. Now I can’t believe my mind was so fixated on the thought that I had to have meat, just a few months back.
It felt like my mind completely shifted from a dense cloud to an aura of light, as I became, more and more, inspired to live vegan. I look forward, upon my return home to the states, to friends and family asking me in astonishment, “Why the change?” I’m glad that I had previously convinced them that I would never become vegetarian (let alone vegan)… so much so that the people I have already told do not believe me. What is more, I’m thankful to have come to this realization at my early age. And the most amazing part is that it wasn’t even hard.
A new leaf has turned in my life. I was once a boy of ignorance. I’m now a man of integrity. I choose my own way without doubt, because I know that my path is righteous. Having rid myself of many years of guilt, I feel like a great weight has been lifted from my conscience.
Gentle World “showed me the light,” and in that light I see myself and my world with a clarity I could never have imagined before.
From Casey Chambers, New Zealand
Coming to Shangri-La, I had no idea what to expect. What I discovered was a beautiful, magical world filled with equally beautiful, inspiring people. It has been such a pleasure and an honor getting to know each and every one of you. Thank you so much for your inspiring stories, snippets of wisdom and your generous spirits.
I have learned so much about myself here. Even though I quickly discovered that a week was not nearly enough time to spend in Shangri-La, I have thoroughly enjoyed every second of my time.
I greatly appreciate the time you took to educate me about the dairy industry from a strong feminine point of view. I strongly pray and hope that this new insight will give me the strength to boycott dairy once and for all; that I will no longer be a part of an industry that rapes and demoralizes beautiful beings and deprives them of their basic desire to protect and nurture their children.
I am quite shy when it comes to meeting new people, but you allowed me to feel completely comfortable with who I am. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for that is something I have needed for a long time.
I am very sad to go, but I am extremely happy in the knowledge that I will most definitely see you all again in the not too distant future!
from Bryce Delmar, Hawaii:
I just wanted to reach out and say that the Gentle World family have been a reoccurring theme of my musings and meditations since our last encounter some short months ago. I often dwell on the significance you all played in catalyzing the metamorphosis that took place during those summer months half a year ago. The indelible impression softly etched onto the foundation from which I stand, glows luminous as the one year anniversary of my adoption of veganism approaches. So, naturally, I want to thank everyone who wielded the hammer and chisel during my stay.