Friday is St. Patrick’s Day—a fun day that always reminds me of my Irish ancestry. Though I haven’t seen the Emerald Isle yet, I hope one day to visit its famed castles, museums and—of course—its shelters and sanctuaries! Here are four inspiring organizations dedicated to helping make animals’ lives better. This St. Patrick’s Day, consider supporting one of the following (even a small donation helps!):
Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary
Eden promotes “liberty, equality, veganism.” About 100 rescued farm animals now live in peace at this sanctuary, which started in 2008. In addition to rescuing animals from farms, Eden is committed to spreading the word about veganism; its inspiring Go Vegan World advertising campaign uses billboards and TV ads to challenge people to reconsider their use and acceptance of animal products. See Eden’s beautiful farm and animals here:
With Reiki increasingly gaining acceptance—not just in the U.S. but across the world—I’m seeing more and more animal organizations not just accepting Reiki, but loving the holistic modality and making a concerted effort to share Reiki with their animals. This is a dream come true for me: I co-founded the nonprofit SARA (Shelter Animal Reiki Association) with the goal of rolling out animal Reiki programs into communities globally. To see animal Reiki being embraced on a wider scale is truly incredible!
Have you been wanting to pioneer an animal Reiki program in your local shelter, or expand an existing one? For inspiration, check out the following amazing SARA-affiliated animal organizations that are embracing Reiki. (Visit their websites for more information and to learn how you can help them.) The more people and organizations that follow in their footsteps, the more animals that can be helped:
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.)
I want to take a few moments today to offer my thoughts and blessings to the people and animals affected by the recent earthquake in Nepal. Being so far away from the disaster, it’s easy to feel helpless during tragic times like these. But there are things we can do, however small.
Making a donation to a charity is one way to help. This article in The Dodo lists a number of animal organizations as those working hard to bring food, veterinary care and shelter to the animals hurt by this disaster, including: Humane Society International, Animal Nepal, World Animal Protection and International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Another way that I’ve chosen to help is to offer this special meditation of peace and healing for the animals (and their people) affected by this disaster. Meditation is always something I can grab onto, no matter how down I feel. I hope it helps you, too.
Healing Meditation for the Animals of Nepal (and Their People)
Find a comfortable place to sit, with your beloved animal at your side if you wish. Place your hands, palms together, in front of your heart, and dedicate this practice to all the animals of Nepal and their people. Then rest your hands on your lap or on your animal. If your animal is close to you, he/she may want to support you in this meditation.
Close your eyes as you breathe. As you inhale, imagine the breath as a beautiful healing light flowing up from the earth and through your body to your heart. On the exhale, imagine your heart as a bright light that expands to fill your whole being and then out into the universe. Inhale strength from the earth into your heart; exhale the bright light of your heart into the universe.
Continue this breath at your own pace for 10 repetitions. Then allow your breath to return to normal and breathe gently.
Turn your mind toward the animals of Nepal and their people. Feel the light at your heart shining so brightly. Repeat in your mind, “May you be free of suffering. May your heart feel peaceful. May you be healed. Know that you are loved.” Continue to repeat these words in your mind for several minutes as you feel them radiating out.
Imagine the light of your heart shines so brightly that it can reach all animals and people in need. Your light is so bright that any darkness or suffering disappears. If you feel distracting thoughts, imagine they are clouds just floating by. Don’t chase them; let them come, and let them go.
When you are ready, set your intention to finish, take a nice, deep breath and slowly open your eyes.
Do you have any additional thoughts on how we can help the victims of the Nepal quake?
Have you seen Kickstarter? This amazing crowdfunding site lets you support a variety of creative projects for very little cash. Kickstarters set a financial goal (say, $1,000) and a target deadline. People then start sending donations—and the person behind the campaign gets to keep all that cash (and more) if they hit or exceed their financial goal by their target date. And, of course, if you have an idea for a project of your own, you can launch a campaign on Kickstarter, too!
Though some of the projects can be, ahem, a little bit strange (such as “Pug-let: The First All-Pug Production of Hamlet” and “A Dr. Who Concept Rap Album”—OK, I admit I’d probably watch/listen to both!), the following are actually some really solid ideas and goals I’d like to see come to fruition—some even help animals, too! Just this past Tuesday on Kickstarter, Walkzee, a free online platform that matches shelter dogs needing walks with “dog lovers looking for a walking buddy,” surpassed its $20,000 goal! I look forward to seeing the Walkzee site someday soon. Here are a few more projects that look interesting: