Most organisations name a founding member or members – however, here at Lotus Heart Sanctuary it is wholly known that Lotus “came together” through a series of blessings, very fortunate events, people and animals.
Just as a beautiful Lotus flower grows from the dark murky and muddy depths, this Lotus seed also had to grow from somewhere.
We have three main cogs in the Lotus wheel – Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay), Nipper (Jack Russell) & Prince (Holstein Friesian) – the common denominator in all three is Lynn.
Lotus Heart Sanctuary is a continuation of the truly outstanding global work done during the lifetime of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh – something he was aware of prior to Lynn making one final visit to Vietnam to be near him in March 2019.
Hello, my name is Lynn –
Following a retreat with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (or Thay as he was affectionately known to his students) and listening to a talk he gave which delivered clear explanations as to why the whole world needs to be vegan, I immediately went from lifelong vegetarian to vegan. His talk covered meat, eggs & dairy, the violence towards animals, and the fear & terror we instil into them. He described how we ingest their cells of fear and anger when we consume their flesh, eggs and secretions. He then explained how all that impacts on our own mental and physical health; it made so much sense.
He articulated the colossal impact animal agriculture has not only on animals, but also on world hunger, and the very planet we live on – he announced this was the single biggest cause of global warming! Back then in 2010, I literally had no idea…truth was, as a vegetarian I had become complacent – I truly believed by being veggie I was doing the best I could!
We all have our own inspiration and motivation for going vegan; it might be a documentary, footage viewed on social media, a friend or family member, a celebrity, visiting a sanctuary etc. – my reason was a talk from this lifelong peace activist who was and still is my spiritual teacher and spiritual Father.
Thay’s words instantly inspired me to commit to not only becoming vegan, but also to become more active…to do more, to serve in whatever way possible…and to be engaged with this world!
On returning home from that retreat in 2010 I built a new local Sanga in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh; it was based in Renfrewshire and was simply called “It’s Now”. I also created a vision board for Lotus Sanctuary.
The absolute need for us all to do more for our planet and all her inhabitants had been made crystal clear to me, and had never been more apparent. It was time for change – the time was NOW!
At that time there was little going on in the way of activism in Scotland – so it was quite challenging to actually become very active at all.
I truly wished to practice Right Livelihood – at that time I was working as a Holistic Therapist & Stress Manager – this involved me working very closely with people as I was dealing with both their physical and mental health. However, due to the recession that had deeply impacted the UK at that time, I allowed myself to be pulled out of holistics – this definitely contributed to the Lotus vision being put on the back-burner for a while, but it was never forgotten.
Momentum began to pick up again in 2014 – I decided to start weightlifting with PT & pro bodybuilder Craig McConnell with a specific goal in mind.
I was frustrated at the misconception that we need animal protein to build muscle; so it became a big part of my advocacy/activism to simply prove the point that we absolutely do not need anything from anyone other than ourselves to build muscle; just sheer hard work, a healthy wholefoods plant-based diet and determination!
That year I also started volunteering with Animal Aid and began work on the idea for Bohemian Hippy
In 2015 I began involvement with street activism and became a regular participant with Earthlings Experience Scotland, but I still wanted to do more.
I began to discuss with a handful of other activists the idea of bringing the Save Movement to Scotland – no sooner said… we set it up and began bearing witness! 2016 was encouraging, as it saw a huge shift with advocacy & activism in Scotland (there are various blogs on this Lotus website you can read to learn more about the Save Movement, bearing witness, setting up Bo Hip, Happy Moo Year and much more – it’s too much to go into here)
Bearing witness to animals going to slaughter was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life – their fear can be picked up with all our senses – I do a lot of energy work, so for me, I was intensely picking up on the energy of often hundreds of animals per vigil. It broke me at times, but mostly it heavily motivated me to do more.
During the Spring, Summer & Autumn of 2016 when I was out walking Nipper (Jack Russell), I met and befriended a certain young black bullock – the young son of a dairy cow who was uncommonly being fattened up for slaughter – Friesians are genetically bony, so rarely are they used for beef production. This particular bullock has received so many blessings in so many ways – he was saved from slaughter literally in the nick of time; it was all meant to be. It was quite a story at the time, and he has successfully touched the lives of many people and helped them to make the connection.
After Prince I continued to save & rescue animals, but without the land, (apart from Prince, Bodhi & Tara who were always registered to me), I had to find the animals forever homes at other sanctuaries around the UK. I was constantly receiving phone calls, texts and emails about rescuing animals. So I would try to find them a home and then I’d organise their transport and fundraise to cover all the costs. Moving big animals like cattle hundreds of miles is both expensive and time consuming – but at that time, it was the only way to do it to save them from death.
Thay’s words and work inspired me to do more. Through walking Nipper I met Prince. Without meeting & rescuing Prince I really cannot say how much of the Lotus story there would be to tell – it is just impossible to say!
Thay, Nipper & Prince are our 3 cogs in the Lotus wheel and I was the common denominator in it all – a mere vehicle for the work which so desperately just needs to be done.
It certainly is a series of very fortunate events!
And that my friends, is the real blooming of the Lotus Heart!
I have known Lynn for over 30 years and we have a special connection. I was aware of the Lotus vision probably long before it was public, and we always knew deep down it would happen.
We both share a love & respect for all animals as does my partner Mark. Mark & I have 3 rescue dogs also known as “The Stinkers” – they are our world and are with us wherever we go – currently in Spain!
I was closely involved with the rescue of Prince in 2016! Like I say, I have rescued dogs before, but this was my first bovine experience!
I have been involved with fundraisers and helped out with activism trips etc. I also do a lot of work online.
Mark and I are so happy to see Lotus finally up and running and being a safe haven for more sweethearts like Prince!
I’m an ethical Vegan and animal rights advocate dedicated to promoting justice, equality and liberation for all species who reside on this beautiful planet of ours.
I became vegetarian in 2001, the year of Foot and Mouth Disease in the UK which saw 6 million cows and sheep being killed in an effort to halt the disease. I remember watching the news one night and witnessing the horrific funeral pyres. The sight of these beautiful cows being unceremoniously slung into ditches before being set on fire will haunt me forever and I went vegetarian overnight! This is when it first hit me just how many millions of animals were being bred, enslaved and killed each year in the UK alone. Although I stopped eating any kind of animal flesh, or wearing their skins, I continued to consume eggs, milk and honey and thought nothing of it. I believed that these industries were ‘cruelty free’.
Then in 2007 I joined Facebook where I befriended some amazing Vegans whom I learned so much from. Up until then I had convinced myself that my choices weren’t harming others as, after all, I wasn’t eating their bodies, or, wearing their skins. However, once I learned about the cruelty and suffering in the dairy and egg industry, I knew I had to become Vegan. I wanted to live my life causing the least harm possible and recognising that sentient beings have the right not to be treated as our property. I no longer wished to be the cause of any animal suffering for my choices.
Everyone is Someone and should be afforded equal consideration and respect.
In 2016 I heard about the street activism group, Earthlings Experience who had regular activism events in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The main purpose was to show the public the truth behind the animal agricultural industry. They also talk about Veganism and its importance to the animals, the environment, our health and the planet. It was wonderful to be involved and meet so many amazing like-minded people who wanted to be advocates for the animals. It was also where I first met and connected with Lynn and Lisa.
I share my life with my husband who’s as passionate about Veganism as I am. Over the years we have been lucky enough to be owned by 3 wonderful dogs and 3 beautiful rabbits and they have been our lives. Having been made redundant over 2 years ago I decided I wanted to work for myself and started my own wee dog walking/small animal sitting business which I absolutely love.
I am so happy to have been asked by Lynn to be a part of her beautiful vision that is Lotus Heart Sanctuary
I was born in the 70’s and always felt comfortable around animals. At the age of 12 I knew it was wrong to eat animal flesh and I became vegetarian. When I left home my beliefs grew stronger
& stronger and I eventually became Vegan. I share my home with my husband Neil (who is also vegan) and our 3 rescue boy chinchillas, Chilli, Pepper & Eddie Van Scott.
Throughout my life I was always aware that what you put in your body has an impact on how you function. I was always interested in nutrition and fitness, spending many, many hours at the gym in my 20’s. I then became a Zumba Fitness instructor and now I meditate and run to keep myself fit.
I love to spend time with animals and actively promote Veganism and fundraising ideas, supporting many sanctuaries throughout the world. I have been actively involved with Lotus since day one – I met Lynn at Happy Moo Year back in December 2016 and have been an active part of Lotus since it launched in January 2017. I volunteer on stalls, do fundraising, share posts and blogs online, and brainstorm ideas with the rest of the team around everything from logos to merchandise.
I got involved with Lotus a few years ago when I came across Lynn and Prince’s amazing story on Facebook.
I started helping out on the Bohemian Hippy stall at a few vegan fairs and then I helped out on a regular basis with the social media side of things.
I love helping to spread the values and compassion that are shared by the Lotus team and I am so pleased that the sanctuary is finally up and running; saving more lives and making a difference in this world.