How to celebrate the Year of the Monkey

Next Monday, February 8, marks the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year—and the Year of the Monkey. How will you be celebrating?

I have a few ideas in mind, especially because monkeys are some of my favorite animals. They’re smart, cute and interesting little creatures who have much to teach us. Jane Goodall, who has made it her life’s work studying primates, including monkeys and chimpanzees, is a hero of mine; her work with animals and the environment, spanning multiple decades, is unbelievably impressive. Based on her research, she was one of first revolutionary minds to speak out and say that, yes, animals experience real emotions. (In case you missed it, here’s a piece I wrote on 7 revolutionary life lessons I learned from Jane Goodall.)

Why San Francisco’s vegan food is the best

Can I confess something to you? I am a foodie. No, really: I love great food. Not good food, superb food! As I have transitioned my diet into a “mostly” vegan one (and gluten-free), many of my friends have said to me, “Oh good for you, but I could never do it! I just love  ____ too much!” (Fill in the blank with your favorite dairy, meat or wheat-inspired food.)

I want to share with you that, yes, it takes some exploring and learning new ways to cook. And yes, it’s not always easy to find things to eat out at restaurants. But I am so blessed to live near one of the world’s yummiest cities in the world: San Francisco. Just a short drive from where I live, I have found a blissful vegan’s paradise …

12 animal quotes that will inspire you

I got to pet a super soft koala bear for the first time this week while visiting Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney, Australia. This trip Down Under—seeing the native wildlife, helping shelter cats and teaching Reiki classes—has allowed me the opportunity to slow down a little and reflect on the vital role animals have played in my career and life. I’m so grateful for all of the lessons they’ve taught me through the years, and all of the heartful connections I’ve been able to make. So as my Aussie trip winds down, I’m reminded of my favorite, most inspiring quotes about animals. I’ve always loved the sentiments behind these 12 quotations (do they make you smile, too?):

“Cats are angels with fur.” – Sark

Why I love the Cat Protection Society

Here’s a wonderful nonprofit animal shelter I’d like to share with you today: the Cat Protection Society in Australia. I can’t wait to see the cats (and hopefully some of you) at my special one-day workshop at this shelter next Monday (click here for more info).

Cat Protection Society, which has been rescuing and rehoming cats since 1958, does such amazing work. Here are some fun facts about this wonderful shelter for cats:

BASED IN: Newtown, New South Wales, Australia

cat protection 1

How to transform skeptics into believers

When I started my animal Reiki business out of my living room 11 years ago, one of my biggest challenges to building my new business was finding shelters willing to allow me in so I could bring Reiki to the animals. Back then, no one had even heard of Reiki! So imagine how difficult it was to open those doors and make those connections. But with a lot of perseverance, one by one I found people with open hearts and minds willing to take a chance on me.

Since then, I’ve been able to work with animals and bring Reiki programs to BrightHaven Sanctuary, Guide Dogs for the Blind and the San Francisco SPCA in California; Best Friends Animal Society in Utah; Animal Haven in New York City; Chenoa Manor Farm Sanctuary in Pennsylvania; The CARE Foundation in Florida; and even to sanctuaries worldwide—like Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in the UK. Today my nonprofit SARA, which I co-founded with Leah D’Ambrosio to bring Reiki programs to shelters around the world, has more than 400 members worldwide and Reiki programs in shelters and sanctuaries across the U.S., Canada, England and Australia.