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.
With the new year just around the corner—in a few hours it will be 2016!—it got me thinking about my hopes for the coming year. 2015 was a mixed year for the animals—we lost Cecil the Lion, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finally added African lions to the Endangered Species List. My parents lost their beloved black Lab, and my sister her cherished kitten following a deadly illness, but I also have many friends experiencing great joy by opening their homes to welcome new animal companions. New Jersey passed a comprehensive dog-fighting law, but the state, like many others, still allows bear hunting. Oklahoma and Pennsylvania boosted penalties for harming a police dog; meanwhile, France lost a brave 7-year-old police dog named Diesel, who was killed in a raid on apartments following the Paris attacks.
I suppose that with every year, for animals there is good along with the bad—but sometimes, when we lose animals we love or witness cruelties or abuse to animals, it can be hard to focus on the good. With that in mind, I would like to wish all of my heartful tribe a happy 2016 filled with the peace and light of Reiki and the companionship and wisdom of your favorite animals. Here are some of my wishes for 2016, a year that I hope holds more good than ever before for our animal friends:
Wish #1: Compassion. Meeting Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary this year was such a tremendous honor for me. Knowing there are articulate, passionate animal advocates such as Gene gives me real hope for the animals of our world. I know people who aren’t “animal people” are not going to change overnight. But my hope for 2016 is that we can continue to work toward changing people’s collective consciousness when it comes to animals. Maybe one day, animals will be regarded with the same dignity as humans—and 2016 can be a true beginning to meeting that goal. Helping children learn to love animals is a start. The Meat Free Monday movement is another small change that can greatly impact the animal world. I yearn for a time when people realize they need to bring their animals inside during inclement weather, and not leave them panting in hot cars. I hope we can begin to awaken to the understanding that perhaps animals are not products for us to consume, but rather beings worthy of our respect and protection.
Wish #2: Gratitude. My wish for 2016 is that everyone (myself included) can remember to find gratitude in each day, even when life feels like it’s falling apart around you. That we can look into our animal’s eyes and feel grounded again, at least for that moment. That we can make time to count our blessings and feel in our hearts that each day truly is a gift, because it may be our last. Life is such a blessing; may our animals help us to realize this each and every day.
Wish #3: Unity. When I spoke at the ARC International Reiki Convention in Australia in October, I was struck by so many Reiki teachers from different lineages coming together for a common goal. The experience actually inspired me to create World Animal Reiki Day, which will fall on February 5 in 2016 and beyond. Make sure to mark your calendar—animal lovers around the globe will be coming together on this day to celebrate and honor all animals as our spiritual teachers.
Wish #4: Generosity. Animals are often forgotten when people open their pocketbooks to give money to charity. According to the most recent statistics available, charities classified as “animals/environment” received just 3 percent of the $358 billion donated in the U.S.—compare that to 32 percent given to religious institutions. My wish for 2016 is for generosity toward animals. That more people will remember the animals when they think about which organizations they want to support. To those who argue that nonprofits helping people need to be the top priority, I answer: They already are. So now it is the animals that need us so much. They are living beings who share this world, too, after all.
Wish #5: Mindfulness. Living mindfully boosts your health and heals your soul, so let’s all reach our wellness goals in 2016 with our favorite animals by our side to support us. They really are an amazing help: As I wrote earlier this year, here are 5 mindfulness lessons from our animals, and tips on How to practice mindfulness with our animals.
Happy New Year to you! Share your wishes for 2016 here. I’d love to be inspired.
I can’t believe it’s almost 2015! Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year filled with many blessings. In addition to my family, friends and health, here are a few things I’m feeling gratitude for this sparkly evening …
1. I suppose it goes without saying, but I am immensely grateful for the animals I’ve encountered in my life and the ones that have walked gently by my side. Here’s a wonderful article from One Green Planet that lists 10 beautiful life lessons we can learn from animals. I agree with all of these lessons; #1 (compassion) and #3 (live for today), especially, are important elements of my Reiki work with animals. Read the full article here for all 10 life lessons.
2. A reason to celebrate eating vegan: Did you know? January is Veganuary! This global campaign launched in 2013 helps people “take the pledge” to eat vegan for the month of January. The helpful site includes a dining guide, myths debunked, recipes, profiles of vegans from all walks of life and more. And here’s my favorite vegan blog: Oh She Glows. I made the Crispy Smashed Potatoes With Avocado Garlic Aioli the other night and they were absolutely amazing. I also can’t wait to try this (since I love Mexican food): Ultimate Green Taco Wraps With Lentil-Walnut Taco Meat. Who knew eating vegan could be so fun? (What are you waiting for?)
3. Tomorrow’s Tournament of Roses Parade, a yearly tradition in our household! My favorite floats are always the animal floats. There aren’t too many this year, but keep an eye out for La Cañada Flintridge’s float “To the Rescue,” which will be showcasing a message of compassion: a group of sea creatures setting aside their fear of sharks to band together and free a shark trapped in a fishing net and sunken boat.
4. Scientists who make it their life’s work to answer that age-old (and vitally important) question: What do cats do all day? This actually made me smile; what a fun experiment to collaborate with cat owners, outfitting their outdoor house cats with cat trackers. Hm, wouldn’t it be amusing to know what your cat does all day? This study is ongoing, but the early results are pretty interesting. Check out their Cat Tracker website for Google maps detailing each animal participant’s “secret life.”
5. This heartful essay about animals in zoos, which are decorated festively for the holidays and accept donated “gifts” from visitors for the animals. I have to agree with author Jennifer O’Connor, that the animals have “nothing to celebrate” during the holidays. “The greatest gift,” she writes, “would be the one they’ll never receive: life outside a cage.”
As we head into a brand-new year … what are you grateful for today?