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.)

And in my Reiki work, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a very special monkey named Amos. Amos resides at The C.A.R.E. Foundation in Florida, an exotic animal rescue center and SARA shelter. He surprised us once during a treatment by imitating a person! My student was sitting outside his enclosure, doing a Reiki meditation in lotus position with her hands in her lap. Amos was all active and chattering, but after several minutes, he came down to ground level and sat just opposite her, cross-legged and with hands in the same position as my student. The person had her eyes closed at first—but when she opened her eyes and saw Amos there “doing Reiki” with her, she got the biggest smile, and they sat and watched each other for several minutes before Amos got up and walked away. There was so much love and appreciation on both sides—it was truly adorable, and a very heartful “Monkey See Reiki, Monkey Do Reiki” experience.

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I can’t wait to share more Reiki with Amos next month! Join me February 21 in Florida for my special class at C.A.R.E.: Mindfulness With Exotic Animals, open to any animal lover.

Let’s share all of our love with monkeys next week and throughout the year to celebrate the Year of the Monkey. Here are a few special charities you can support specifically to honor monkeys:

  • Wild Futures in the UK: Protects habitats, and rescues, educates and provides sanctuary to primates worldwide.
  • The Monkey Sanctuary: Home to 38 adorable rescued monkeys. Donate here to support their rescue efforts and help raise funds for new monkey enclosures.
  • Helping Hands Monkey Helpers: Trains monkeys as service animals to help people suffering from spinal cord injuries.
  • Monkey World Ape Rescue Center: Helps to rescue abused monkeys and monkeys used in laboratories, and assists governments worldwide in stopping the illegal smuggling of monkeys. At the Rescue Centre in England, supporters can see the rescued monkeys, who have been rehabilitated into “natural living groups.”

For a complete list of monkey charities worldwide, click here.

Monkeys need our help, and let’s hope the Year of the Monkey can help to put important causes top-of-mind for all. Let’s end laboratory testing on monkeys—and all animals—once and for all. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine provides these seven tips for helping to stop animal testing and encourage the transition to ethical alternatives. If everyone did just one or two of these suggestions, more awareness could be raised.

How do you plan on celebrating the Year of the Monkey?

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Kathleen Prasad

Kathleen Prasad is an entrepreneur, author, educator, spiritual seeker and animal advocate living in beautiful Marin County, California, with her husband, daughter, dog and two horses. She loves being with animals, listening to hip-hop, eating out at vegan restaurants, riding dressage, hiking in the redwoods and traveling the world to meet animal people.
You can learn more about Kathleen here.

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