By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
As we each ache from another devastating loss in France coming on the heels of a traumatic week in America, from Dallas to Baton Rouge, I want to start with a prayer for all of us: May we all remember that we are ultimately one human family. May we each learn to bless each other in our differences and hold each other with respect and honor. May the violence and damaging polarizations come to an end and may we remember that we are children of one Source.
It is a time in which we need more peace and healing, so we dedicate this Catalyst to those noble causes.
In the past few weeks, I have been traveling the United States giving talks and doing radio and television interviews about my new book Sacred America, Sacred World. Everywhere I go, I am meeting people who want to create a world that works for all — one based on deep spiritual values. The pain is palpable but so is the passion to do better. I’ve been blessed to engage many healing dialogues that have been opening me in new ways, including a deeper commitment to help heal the racial divides and history.
The recent violent events have made the book launch conversations all the more poignant — the truck attack in Nice, car bombings in Baghdad, police shootings of African American men in the United States and the killing of police officers in Dallas, Texas.
My heart aches, as does the hearts of all The Shift Network team and Shift community members I am meeting. The world is in a transition and these recent acts of violence are painful reminders of the need for transformation at all levels of society, from personal to planetary.
Sacred America, Sacred World offers a passionate call for each of us to embrace our sacred duties as conscious citizens to work together to fulfill a higher calling for the United States and the world. All of us at The Shift Network are deeply committed to working with you on this historic journey in human evolution
In this edition of The Catalyst, we are focused on peace, compassion and healing as a response to the recent violence. Our team member Nadirah Adeye selected three interviews from the African American Wisdom Summit to provide insights on current events (see Featured Media). I am deeply moved by Nadirah who has a six-year old son whom I love. It pains me to know Nadirah is having difficult conversations with him about why black men are being killed by police officers. And, I am inspired by and grateful for Nadirah’s commitment to serving her family and the larger Shift Network community.
I also encourage you to listen to the heart-moving interview Emily Hine did with Nadirah as part of the Summer of Peace Global Compassion Summit. Emily also selected interviews from Sharon Salzberg and Vinny Ferraro that offer practical suggestions on applying mindfulness and compassion in daily life. (See Featured Media).
We are featuring Marianne Williamson’s beautiful Prayer of Apology to African Americans. We also are republishing Professor Rhonda Magee’s thoughtful article on how mindfulness can overcome racial bias. Professor Magee was featured in the Global Compassion Summit and has been a guest faculty in the Peace Ambassador Training 2.0 (See Featured Articles)
If you have not done so already, I highly encourage you to listen to James O’Dea’s global meditation on A Spiritual Response to Violence. It truly speaks to the the heart and soul of moving beyond violence. (Free recording is available – click here )
In this edition, we have three beautiful articles submitted by The Shift Network community members who are working to create a better world. Frank Thacker writes about why and how he co-created Summer of Peace events in Westerly, Rhode Island (Featured Articles). Frank is happy to share insights with people around the world on how to engage your community in celebrating the Summer of Peace. Michael Sapiro offers insights on how to keep from burnout and compassion fatigue through self care; and, Rita Canning shares the importance of informing compassion with wisdom. (Member Profiles)
We also have brilliant pieces by Jessa Hurley, Lee Doyle and David Crow on personal health and wellbeing, key elements in working for the Greater Good.
Our Shift Philanthropy is once again the Charter for Compassion as there is clearly a need for compassion on a global scale. Our Featured Artist is our dear friend Tara Divina who just released an incredible album, True Beauty! Congratulations Tara!
Finally, as a reminder, for people wanting a restorative summer break, please join me, The Shift Network staff and friends for River of Bliss — August 11–14, 2016 — a riverside adventure on the beautiful American River, just 2 hours from the San Francisco Bay Area! We call it an adult summer camp for renewing body, heart and soul through yoga, live music, conscious dance, rafting and more! To learn more, click here.
The African American Wisdom Summit is our commitment to share critical information needed for personal and collective healing, as well as actions we can all take to uplift lives and foster UNITY. Here are three free sessions:
Join The Shift Network, The Gaiafield Project and people around the world for Global Shift Meditations the 1st of each month – click here to register free. We recently featured James O’Dea on A Spiritual Response to Violence on July 1, 2016. (Free recording is available – click here )
On behalf of myself, and on behalf of my country, to you and all African Americans, from the beginning of our nation's history, in honor of your ancestors and for the sake of your children, please hear this from my heart...
When I was promoted to tenured full professor, the dean of my law school kindly had flowers sent to me at my home in Pacific Heights, an overpriced San Francisco neighborhood almost devoid of black residents. I opened the door to find a tall, young, African-American deliveryman who announced, “Delivery for Professor Magee.” I, a petite black woman, dressed for a simple Saturday spent in my own home, reached for the flowers saying, “I am Professor Magee.”
“Be the change you wish to see.” Like many others I have encountered this quote of Gandhi many times over many years. After decades of protests, demonstrations, letters and calls to representatives and senators and other like activities, all of which have their place in creating the mosaic of peace, I felt Gandhi’s quote striking a different chord in me.
What would happen if you were consistently loving — toward yourself and others — even (and especially) when the going gets tough?
How different life could be….
However, very few of us know exactly how to go about fully loving ourselves, despite thousands of self-help books and gurus proclaiming that self-love is the key to healing childhood issues, having healthy relationships and to a happy and purposeful life.
If you’ve ever wondered if sending a positive thought or prayer to a friend has any real affect on their condition, wonder no more….
A growing body of research in the relatively new field of the Science of Consciousness indicates that simple intention-setting practices, such as prayer, meditation and compassionate thinking, can actually influence healing in yourself and others.
Social anthropologist, researcher and writer Dr. Marilyn Schlitz has been studying the Science of Consciousness for more than 30 years — dedicating much of her work to exploring the effects of prayer and “intentionality” on people or biological systems, like animals, plants and even crystals.
Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine hold many secrets which can vastly improve the quality of our lives...
And now, modern aromatherapy is also tapping into the power of essential oils for skin regeneration, increased energy, uplifting the spirit and so much more.
Because I received such positive response to the post on the essential oils for wellbeing in spring (included below, along with my winter article), I wanted to share with you a seasonal update which features oils for health, happiness and healing during the summer months....
In service, I write this to those of you who have dedicated your own lives to service. From my own story, and from listening deeply to the stories that have presented themselves like gifts, I have learned the importance of self-love and self-care. No less important than offering ourselves to those who suffer, is our ability to offer service to our own self, a self that through conditions and culture, genetics and environment has been trained to see itself as separate from our surroundings and other people.
It is such a joy to see so many people in this country and around the world step out of their own personal concerns and embrace a higher cause of working for world peace and awakening. This is happening in many manifestations with different languaging but we can all feel the similarity and unity in sincerity of heart. Having worked for both world peace and enlightenment for decades, I’ve seen the great successes that prayer, positive intention, and energy and sound healing such as “Om-ing” and can bring about. Om is the fundamental, underlying frequency inherent in all the frequencies of the Universe. When it is chanted with focus and intention, i.e. for World Peace, it resonates that Peace throughout the world. With so much change and intensity in the world at this time, Om-ing and prayer are so essential right now.
New Book by Stephen Dinan: Sacred America, Sacred World is Infused with visionary power, Sacred America, Sacred World is a manifesto for our country’s evolution that is both political and deeply spiritual. It offers profound hope that America can grow beyond our current challenges and manifest our noblest destiny, which the book shows is rooted in sacred principles that transcend left or right political views. To order your copy, click here.
You’re invited to join the first online Countering Violent Extremism Summit. Produced by The Shift Network in partnership with Alliance of Peacebuilding, our hosts and guest speakers will answer your most pressing questions about terrorism — and empower you with accessible, relevant solutions. Plus you’ll hear stories that will restore your hope for our global family. This summit is part of The Shift Network’s 5th annual Summer of Peace — the largest online peace event on the planet! It’s happening for free all summer long. TheCountering Violent Extremism Summit takes place August 10 & 11, 2016. To register free, click here.
River of Bliss — August 11–14, 2016 — Join The Shift Network staff and friends for a riverside adventure on the beautiful American River, just 2 hours from the San Francisco Bay Area! Activities include: Yoga, Meditation, Conscious Dance, Delicious Catered Meals, Rafting, Playshops, Sound Healing, Massage, Live Music and Kirtan, Swimming, Kids Camp, and Talent show! Special guests include Stephen Dinan, Devaa Haley Mitchell, Miranda Macpherson, Mark Coleman, Sylvie Minot, DJ Pangea, Bob Duchmann, and Lori Schwanbeck. To learn more, click here.
The Circle Way Practicum, August 17-22, 2016 — Movements like ours, and the shifts that we support together, require not only essential process for meeting with others, but also, a way of being together that can scale. Movements need grounding that can hold us in the complexity of shift. The Circle Way offers a simple yet powerful way to do that. Join Amanda Fenton and Tenneson Woolf on Whidbey Island, WA (near Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC) for The Circle Way Practicum, a five-day intensive on the process that underlays so many participative leadership approaches. To learn more, click here.
Shift Network Trip — Iran: Splendors of the Persian Empire— Dates: October 22 – November 4, 2016. Join Stephen Dinan and Philip Hellmich of The Shift Network, and Cross Cultural Journeys on an odyssey to the Republic of Iran, commonly called Persia by the West. A multicultural nation with many ethnic and linguistic groups (mostly Shi'ites), this ancient country straddles Eurasia, Western Asia, the Caspian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Already a crossroads culture of great geo-strategic significance, Iran has endured invasions by the Greeks, Arabs, Turks and Mongols. Meet indigenous communities from the Zagross Mountains; Nomadic tribes near Tehran; Armenian Christians, and the people of remote Abyaneh, who have kept their traditions, dialect and costumes intact for hundreds of years. To learn more, click here and call Cross Cultural Journeys at (800) 353-2276 or via email at email@example.com and they will start the process with you.
We are happy to announce we are offering Part I again as a mini 4-Day Immersion, which will allow new participants to join in on Part II, October 14–21, 2016.
This two week immersion training takes place at a 30 acre lakefront rustic retreat center near Gainesville Florida. Imagine...you...further developing essential skills, knowledge, confidence, perceptions, sensitivities and new understanding for your own personal development as well as contributing to a cultural shift in your community. Come join us for this innovative approach to community peacebuilding with a small group of like minded and committed individuals. Share in meaningful dialogue, new challenges, discoveries and fun. To learn more, click here.
Recovery 2.0 Retreat — Costa Rica — with Tommy Miller and Kia Miller — November 19–26 (Thanksgiving) 2016 — Join Tommy Rosen & Kia Miller for a rejuvenating week of recovery, yoga and relaxation in one of Costa Rica’s finest retreat centers. The Blue Spirit Retreat overlooks the Pacific Ocean and a three mile long white sand beach, which is a turtle preserve. This extraordinary setting will provide us with a deeply nurturing and unforgettable experience together. To learn more, click here.
New Book: The New Grand Strategy describes a business plan for America, born at the Pentagon, that embeds sustainability as a national strategic imperative.
The plan combines the best of the Left and Right — a progressive agenda with a conservative approach — the adult conversation about America’s future that should be taking place during this election year. Designed to be led by business for profit, harnessing industry and local government, The New Grand Strategy illustrates that we need not fix Washington before we start fixing the country. Written by Mark “Puck” Mykleby, Patrick Doherty, and Joel Makower. To learn more, click here.
"Although we come from opposite ends of the political spectrum, we believe our country needs to come together. The Reunited States of America: How We Can Cross the Partisan Divide will help us do that. It reconnects us to our country's motto — "out of many, one" — and helps us meet the challenge of reuniting the country that we both love." Grover Norquist, president, Americans for Tax Reform; and, Joan Blades, co-founder MoveOn.org and Living Room Conversations. To learn more, click here.
New Book: Heart Intelligence: Connecting with the Intuitive Guidance of the Heartdemystifies the practice of inner stillness, showing us how to take the struggle out of quieting the mind in meditation or prayer and connect with our heart’s intuitive guidance. It provides hope that finally we can create a cooperative working relationship between our heart, mind, emotions and body, bringing spirituality down to street practicality with easy-to-use applications. Written By Doc Childre, Howard Martin, Deborah Rozman Ph.D. and Rollin McCraty Ph.D. Learn more here.
The Spiritual Life TV Channel features free wisdom teachings from many spiritual traditions and gives a practical focus that shows how a person can use these teachings to live a more spiritual life. New videos feature: James O’Dea, Edgar Mitchell, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Marilyn Schlitz, Gleen Mullin, Stephen Dinan, Philip Hellmich, and more! To learn more, click here.
Awake: The Life of Yogananda— Now available on Netflix, Amazon and other livestream programs.Plus, DVDs available with subtitles in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Dutch and Japanese. Plus there are new film showings in Australia and United States! You also can bring Awake to your yoga studio or community. To learn more click here. (The filmmakers were interviewed in the Yoga Day Summit, the recording is available for free.)
World Peace Library — Free Resource — Be sure to take advantage of the World Peace Library, a wide-ranging resource on peace newly compiled by the Shift Network: It contains more than 300 inspiring talks and mini-workshops from individuals such as Archbishop Tutu, Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, Jane Goodall, Deepak Chopra, James O'Dea, Karen Armstrong, Chief Phil Lane and many more. With neuroscientists and lamas, faith-based activists and political leaders, this Library offers something for all in their peacebuilding efforts. The Shift Network has made the World Peace Library a free resource for all and encourages its use to promote peace in your families, schools, and wider community.
Listen to one of the Global Compassion Summit interviews and look at how you can apply the insights in your daily life with family, friends and people in your community outside of your immediate circle.
• American Citizens Summit
• Stan Grof 7-week course
• Marilyn Schlitz 7-week course
• Margaret Paul 7-week course
• Oscar Miro-Quesada 7-week course
• Sue Morter 7-week course
• David Nicol 7-week course
• Richard Miller 7-week course
• Andrew Harvey & Robert Thurman 7-week course
• David Crow 6-month program
• Transformational Authors Summit
• SARK 7-week course
• Mark Gerzon 7-week course
• Ken Page 7-week course
• Brian Weinberg 12-week course
• Tim Kelley & Jeffrey Van Dyk 4-month program
• Hakomi Global Summit
• Enlightened Business Summit
• Shelly Lefkoe 7-week course
• Devaa Haley Mitchell 7-week course
• Andrew Harvey 8-week course
• Alison Armstrong 8-week course
• Jessica Dibb 12-week course
• Lisa Schrader 9-month program
• Margaret Paul 9-month program
• Heaven on Earth Summit
• Mingtong Gu 7-week course
• Miranda Macpherson 10-week course
• Hakomi 10-week course
• Mirabai Starr 12-week course
• Robert Moss 13-week course
Charter for Compassion — The Shift Network strongly encourages people to support and engage with the Charter for Compassion, an international nonprofit organization which provides an umbrella for people to engage in collaborative partnerships worldwide. Their mission is to bring to life the principles articulated in the Charter for Compassion through concrete, practical action in a myriad of sectors. To learn more, click here.
When divine beauty meets deep pain, the result is profound healing. Like Yin and Yang, these apparent opposites are meant for each other. Beauty is powerful medicine, and music is a perfect medium for beauty. Our tears want to fall to the beat of a drum. Our heart wants to ache to a breathtaking song. Our prayers long to be carried on the wings of our voices, to the infinite space where they are all heard and answered. True Beauty is my musical prayer for Grace, the courage to follow our hearts beyond reason into the mystery, and to find authentic joy and aliveness in the process. This album has been 5 years in the making and I'm absolutely thrilled to share it with you now. You can listen to True Beauty here: Tara.Vision.