Compassion

How to help California’s wildlife threatened by the drought

Living in Northern California, I can tell you the drought has been really difficult on everyone this year—not just the state’s 40 million residents, but California’s wildlife as well. It actually breaks my heart to think of all of the thirsty animals, and to read about their struggles in the news.

The drought has killed 12 million trees in California’s forests—just imagine all the animals who called these forests home. They now have to find a new place to live, and new places to hide from predators. A lot of them aren’t going to make it. The lack of water poses another challenge as well: As animals search far and wide for water sources, we’re more likely to see coyotes, mountain lions and even bears running through (and looking for food and water in) our neighborhoods. But it’s not just happening in forests: Even the iconic desert Joshua Trees are declining …

7 revolutionary life lessons I learned from Jane Goodall

I’ve mentioned before that Jane Goodall is one of my heroes; I’m constantly in awe and inspired by her tireless work to help animals and the planet—and even at age 81, she seems to have more energy than most people half her age! As she continues to move forward passionately and make our world a better place, here are seven essential life lessons we can all learn from Jane Goodall …

5 mainstream myths about meditation, debunked

First, the good news: Meditation has risen in popularity in the U.S. in recent years, with more people experiencing the wonderful benefits of meditation than ever before. Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has written a best seller on the topic (Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple), Jerry Seinfeld is a well-known fan of transcendental meditation, and even more doctors are starting to prescribe meditation to their patients. But here’s the bad news: So many people still believe a variety of myths about meditation, and as a result, they never try it or experience its amazing benefits. Here are five common meditation myths debunked …

3 reasons every child should spend time with animals

Every time I see a black-and-white sheltie dog, I think of my first dog Muffett. She was the best! We did everything together as kids. But we didn’t just play together. Looking back, I realize now that she was an amazing teacher who also taught me many important life lessons. I just didn’t know it at the time! (When learning is fun, you don’t even see it happening.) And now with my own daughter, Indigo, I can see her, too, starting to draw important lessons from spending time with our dog and horses. I’ve come to believe that animals truly are influential teachers for children—and I wish every child had the opportunity to grow up alongside an animal. Here are three key life lessons kids learn from spending time with animals—either their own dog or cat, or by spending time with homeless animals at a shelter or in a classroom setting …

The amazing ways farm animals are inspiring change

I just spent a wonderful weekend teaching animal Reiki at Chenoa Manor, a farm sanctuary in Avondale, Pennsylvania. The animals (and people) were so welcoming! I just loved spending time with them and being on the farm. There is something special about farm animals. I feel like these days, everywhere I turn I’m hearing stories of how farm animals opened people’s hearts to compassion, inspiring amazing lifestyle and diet changes. Even Jon Stewart of Daily Show fame has purchased a New Jersey farm to turn into an animal sanctuary. Here are a few more inspiring examples of farm animals inspiring change …

3 reasons animals make the best meditation teachers

Can I admit something to you? It isn’t always easy for me to meditate. There are so many “human” challenges that can trip me up—an overactive mind that refuses to quiet, difficulty in accepting the present moment, or being so busy my energy is scattered all over the place. I want to share with you my secret weapon to strike down these obstacles and ensure a more powerful meditation: the animals.

You see, in my work with animals and Reiki over the years, I began to notice something interesting; when I would meditate and my animals would happen to be present, I found myself able to quiet my mind and be present with an open heart much more easily. I began to realize that perhaps I should rethink the way I approached my own meditation practice. Meditating alone is all well and good, offering numerous health benefits that have been backed by science. But when I began to meditate with the animals and follow their lead, all of the benefits of meditation I had always experienced began to improve. Here are three ways animals helped me become a better meditator …

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