I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions—but a new year does always feel like a fresh start in some ways and an opportunity to check in with my big-picture goals: What do I want to achieve this year? Is there anything in my life I want to do differently? Am I as happy as I can be?
For me, happiness is intrinsically connected to living with purpose and meaning. I work with animals every single day because that adds value to my life. My dog, horses and even the shelter and sanctuary animals I encounter remind me the importance of kindness, of mindfulness, of compassion. And of the goodness in this world (which sometimes feels very hard to find). So with the animals as my guide, here are my five goals for a happier 2017:
Tonight’s New Moon reminds us that times are a changin’. With 2017 almost here, we know that there are so many new beginnings ahead of us. Reiki can help us release those things that hinder us and create a beautiful healing space for new things to enter.
Reiki meditation can help us to become balanced and centered amidst all of the change. Instead of descending into worry about the newness ahead, we can practice Reiki and find our courage again. Instead of being angry at things that are beyond our control, we can practice Reiki and remember all of the things we are grateful for in this moment.
It’s not easy to quiet our burdened minds. Life gets chaotic, we run out of time, seemingly insurmountable challenges continue to block our path. Sometimes negative emotions govern us—we feel off-balance and give in to anger or worry or fear.
These are the times we need our animals the most. Spending time with them can help to bring us back to that place of true happiness—of compassion, of harmony, of peace. Walking through life with our animals by our sides is truly the happiest place to be!
Tomorrow is April 22—and millions of people worldwide will come together to celebrate Earth Day, the annual event born in 1970 to highlight support for important environmental causes. Will you be celebrating? You can do a Google search to find local Earth Day events near you, or even search this map on the official Earth Day website for ideas.
Since we share our planet with animals, I’m going to celebrate Earth Day tomorrow by spreading happiness to animals. How am I going to accomplish that, you may ask? Here are 10 fun ways:
In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. nominated Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize. In his letter to the committee, Dr. King wrote: “I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of this prize than this gentle monk from Vietnam. He is an Apostle of Peace and Nonviolence.” Though he did not win, Nhat Hanh continues to work tirelessly for peace and enlightenment.
Now 89, Nhat Hanh, who lives in the south of France and travels internationally for speaking engagements, offers regular retreats at Plum Village, the largest Buddhist monastery in Europe. A bestselling author, he’s published more than 100 books, including The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation; No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering; and Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life. Following are just a few of his most inspiring, life-changing quotes:
On opening our eyes:
“We have more possibilities in each moment than we realize.”
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the whole earth revolves.”
On truly living:
“Many people are alive, but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.”
On finding joy:
“There is no way to happiness—happiness is the way.”
“Compassionate listening is to help the other side suffer less. If we realize that other people are the same people as we are, we are no longer angry at them.”
“You are a miracle, and everything you touch could be a miracle.”
“Buddhist practitioners have practiced vegetarianism over the last 2,000 years. We are vegetarian with the intention to nourish our compassion towards the animals. Now we also know that we eat vegetarian in order to protect the earth.”
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.”
“We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”
“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
On knowing ourselves:
“Listening to and understanding our inner sufferings will resolve most of the problems we encounter.”
On finding peace:
“Peace in ourselves, peace in the world.”
Which quote inspires you the most?