Catalyst “The Nicest Thing” Interview Archives



Shift Faculty

Gregg Braden, bestselling author and scientist

EXCERPT: And we struggled for a long time. Money was always an issue. We lived in government-subsidized housing in Northern Missouri. I applied for a union job at a copper mill in Northern Missouri. Because we needed the money and that was a shift that would allow me to work after school. So school was out usually at three o'clock. And the shift, it was a 12-hour shift, it was 4:00pm to 4:00am. And I lied about my age by only a year and they declined. They didn't want to hire me. They said you don't have the experience.

Bestselling author Anita Moorjani

EXCERPT: Whenever I would try and figure out how to make it up to him for everything he was doing, he didn't want anything. His payback was doing this and he would just say to me, "No, don't feel you owe me. Don't feel you have to pay me back. One day there'll be somebody who inspires you and you will want to do this for them, and just do that, and in other words, pay it forward."

Judith Orloff, MD, bestselling author and “Godmother of the Empath Movement”

EXCERPT: I’d never had a boyfriend before, and so going through the first boyfriend experience or the first partner experience, it's so sacred to have... Who goes through that with you? She went through that with me and she supported me. And girls need support going through that first love experience. And down the road, he dumped me and left me precipitously for this blonde-haired, blue-eyed cheerleader. And I was more the girl by the auditorium, the outsider. And he left me and it was just this huge, huge wound.

Celebrated author and mystic teacher Andrew Harvey

EXCERPT: This sounds completely wild in a time as dark and ferocious as ours but as Bede reminded me, when I asked him in a lucid moment what he meant, he said, "All great births are terrifying because they are more than transformations," he said. "They are mutations. They are the birthing of a new species, a species that has taken a quantum leap of embodiment."

Crystal alchemy sound healer Jeralyn Glass

EXCERPT: My son was 19. His name is Dylan, Dylan Sage, and he loved the mountains. And he was a ski racer. And he and I got to travel to visit two of his best friends in Nepal and in India. And also on our bucket list was to see Machu Picchu. And so after my son passed away and I recognized that life was never going to be able to be the way it was, he started to communicate with me through sound vibration.

Energy healer Cyndi Dale

EXCERPT: And so I decided that I wanted to die. I decided I was done. I decided I was going to leave. And so I told my parents, “I'm going to die.” And they looked at me like they did with many of the phrases that I would utter. And they said, "Whatever," and between themselves said, "Isn't she imaginative?" And I woke up the next morning really, really ill. I had the flu, I had a fever. I was very sick.

Shamanic teacher Sandra Ingerman

EXCERPT: And so my grandfather came to me in a dream, and it was a really interesting dream. We were in a waiting room, it was dirty, the furniture was all torn. And we were sitting on a couch together and he said to me, "You have to let me go." And I said, "Grandpa, I can't let you go; I can never let you go." And he said, "You have to let me go. Please let me go." And so I finally agreed to let him go, but then I didn't understand what the dream was about. So I called my brother, and my brother said…

Mystic, medium, and author Suzanne Giesemann

EXCERPT: We ended up getting off a ferry in Croatia for the final leg of the trip. We needed a taxi or we needed a bus and basically we were dumped out in this parking lot and there was nobody around but this tow truck. We had to get back to our boat. We didn't speak the language. We were exhausted. We were numb from the grief. I looked over at this tow truck and I said to my husband Ty, “Well, that's our only hope right there.”

Author and Peace Troubadour James Twyman

EXCERPT: When I was 18, I left home in Minnesota, went to Chicago, and wanted to become a Franciscan. I've always been in love with St. Francis of Assisi, so I entered the Franciscan order in Chicago. And I was also going to Loyola University, so I was living with the Franciscans, being educated by the Jesuits.

Spiritual teacher Raja Choudhury

EXCERPT:  I moved into this attic and I was living upstairs with her five cats and me up there. His wife was equally eccentric. I started living there and he became this kind of friend of mine. I was paying literally no rent. The agreement was that I would help him out. I didn't know what that would require, but he started... we started having dinners every evening and we'd light candles and drink wine and it was a very civilized two years of my life. He introduced me to philosophy.

Dream archeologist Robert Moss

EXCERPT: I was busy, as usual, traveling and teaching a lot around the world, and my book deadline was two weeks away. Although I write fast, two weeks isn't very long to write a book when you actually haven't knuckled down and done any of it as a draft up to that point. A friend of mind in Europe said, "Okay. Maybe this dream will help you, Robert. I want to give you a dream. It's a dream about you."

Intuitive energy healer Wendy De Rosa

EXCERPT: And so I was really hesitant. Is this person for real? And she got a team together. And they started to book my gigs and do publicity and promotions up and down the West Coast for me. All of a sudden, I would have all these gigs booked. I was still pinching myself and a little bit skeptical. What do they want? They have to want something.

Psychologist and scientist Dr. Shamini Jain

EXCERPT:  And I just remember sitting with Paul, and Paul saying to me, "You know, Shamini, sometimes these people that we think are enemies are actually here to teach us a lesson. And it's a lesson that's actually for our spiritual growth. It's not to teach us a lesson by putting us down or whatever. And I want you to just kind of sit with that and think about it."

Shamanic healer, author, and teacher Christina Pratt

EXCERPT:  My shamanic community is basically organized around my teachings, which are not even a generation old, so it's a very young tradition. It doesn't have a lineage. So I always feel a little sad... we don't have our myths yet… we don't have our heraldic banners yet… Honestly, I joke in my own head with myself that if I were to write an autobiography of my life it would be called The Naked Shaman, because I just feel so naked of all the richness and beauty that we find in these different shamanic cultures around the world.

Chakra expert Anodea Judith

EXCERPT: You know, when I was down and out as a single mother, I had a three-year-old and I was suffering from Lyme disease and I'd been living in the country off the grid, trying to come back to the city to make a living, didn't have a place to live.

Quantum shaman and energy healer Mona Delfino

EXCERPT: “However, he's going to want to say something's wrong with it, so in order for you to sell it as fast as you want for cash, you need to tell this man, when he comes to look at it, and he will come to look at it..." I said, "... is that there's a little leak in the sink, you're going to hear a little drip once in a while. Tell him something is the matter with it and he will buy it on the spot.”

Author, teacher, and speaker Mirabai Starr

EXCERPT: And he said, "So what are you working on?" And I said, "Well, I'm working on this new book about the sacred feminine. It's called Wild Mercy, and I just happened to have written yesterday about Siddhi Ma and about being with her in India. In that same section, Ram Dass, I also wrote about you." And he said, "Well, this is perfect timing. Why don't you read it to me?" I said, "Ram Dass, right now?" And he said, "Right now."

Grief guide, life purpose coach, and author Uma Girish

EXCERPT: Back when I was in college, I was dealing with my father's alcoholism at home. I would go into college feeling really broken, wanting to cry, but having to hold my tears. And because I couldn't tell anybody, I was carrying a lot of shame and hurt around my family circumstances, so I wasn't able to talk about it with anybody.

Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, a global leader in the application of integrative thinking

EXCERPT: I'm in my first year of grad school, it's 1999, I'm at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and I was invited by Ken Wilber, who's the founder of Integral Theory, to come to his house and attend what became the first meeting for the Integral Institute. This went really well and I was asked to come back and be part of the emerging team. And you can imagine I was totally over the moon with this because…

Spiritual teacher and author Miranda Macpherson

EXCERPT: She looked at me in the eye with such kindness and she said this to me... it makes me cry even thinking about it… she says, “I'm a pretty good judge of character. I can tell you're going to be just fine.” I had to restrain myself from just falling in a puddle on the floor and thanking her on bended knee. Her kindness just went so deep into my heart.

Author HeatherAsh Amara

EXCERPT: And he made the announcement that he was disbanding our group, and that he was setting us all free. And I was in complete shock for days after that. And I remember sitting and just being like, This can't be happening, this is my family. And I fought it for a while, and really tried to hold people together and to figure out how could we continue.

Author Dawson Church

EXCERPT: He helped me move to a much better school, a public school, where I was exposed to bigger ideas, bigger worldviews, much nicer people. That really set me on a new path and made me start to realize I actually had sparks of potential inside of me. Before, in the public school, I was kind of nobody and beaten up and miserable and failing. I just was headed for a life of being a nonentity.

Author and Rabbi Tirzah Firestone

EXCERPT: I remember watching her in total awe and seeing things that I didn't know existed as a fairly entitled kid, and so I followed her again. Day after day, I followed her and became her apprentice and learned how to scrub floors and learned how to work with dying people and pick up babies and diaper babies and feed people that couldn't feed themselves. Anyway, for several months, I lived with her or lived near her and then worked with her daily. I saw things I had really no preparation for and they changed me.

Qigong teacher Daisy Lee

EXCERPT: It sang and sang away, and we left the property bemused and never forgetting what we had seen and experienced. So, we couldn't help it. We ended up making an offer on this property and it closed. They accepted our offer and it closed on my birthday, so that was pretty significant for that as well. But I just think that sometimes the more-than-human world has messages for us and the world is speaking right now, all around the world.

Peruvian curandero, psychologist, and author don Oscar Miro-Quesada

EXCERPT: She also expressed extraordinary trust, because during that time that we were together in Santa Barbara without the other members of this welcoming committee, her beloved husband Sidney crossed over. She asked me to hold her hand and spend the entire afternoon together, holding her, as she released the pain of that loss, and cleared her resistance to letting go. That was a gift of deep, deep appreciation for who I am in her life.

Renee Baribeau, wind whistler and soul coach

EXCERPT: I really want to thank Sandra Ingerman. We were doing a podcast one day, she didn't know me from Adam and she said, "Wow, my spirits just told me we should do a weekly podcast." From that, The Shaman's Cave was born. The wind went from Hay House to worldwide Hay House, and now I'm sitting here talking to you, Phil, about how things come into your life that are unexpected...

Dr. Marc Halpern, Ayurvedic doctor and teacher

EXCERPT: I went to visit with him and he was so kind to invite me to his home. He was so kind to come where I was staying at the ashram and do a personal initiation with me, something that he didn't do very often with people. And he came to my room, we did a personal initiation. We spent several hours together and while that's a story in itself, that was a moment, the initiation itself, that spiritually transformed my own life. It was as though I died that day and was reborn the next day. It was a really, really, truly remarkable moment. 

Lavinia Plonka, body language expert and teacher of the Feldenkrais Method®

EXCERPT: Her name is Dr. Terry Wulster and she did an examination, and she said, "Well, you're going to need several adjustments." I had no insurance and I couldn't even pay my mortgage at the time. I went, "How much is that going to cost me?" She said, "Well, the adjustments are $35 a session," and I fell apart. I just completely like weeping and sobbing about how I can never get it together and I don't have any money. She just went, "Well, don't pay me." And right in the middle of all my tears I just stopped cold, and I realized that, wow, when you get the right kind of shock, your emotions can change instantaneously. I was like, "What?"

Suzanne Scurlock, a leading authority on conscious awareness

EXCERPT: I just went rushing into the gym. I came back out, got in the car, and I'm looking around for my deposit and I'm thinking, "There is no way that this deposit is actually going to show up again." Literally, it had hundreds of dollars of cash in it, I had, 20 checks, the deposit slip, and I just couldn't figure out... I knew I had locked the car; it didn't make any sense to me that it was gone. And then a woman comes running out of the gym waving my deposit slip. I said to her, "What happened?" She goes, “Mrs. Scurlock, Mrs. Scurlock, your deposit slip. A man just brought it into me. He said that he found it on the ground and he knew you must be absolutely desperate for it."

Bevin Niemann, founder of 1 Million Empaths

EXCERPT: And this is what I think they would call one of those crucial conversations. I was really startled by it, kind of taken aback a little bit. And then I realized this was really coming from a place of love and caring. And she said, "I want you to do this so much that I'm going to allow you to flex your hours and flex your days off and so forth so that you can arrange your schedule." And that is exactly what she did. And because I had failed my last semester, I had to stand in front of a group of faculty and talk about what happened and why I knew that I could be a different kind of student, which is a very humbling experience...

Plant medicine pioneer David Crow

EXCERPT: He was in Kathmandu after leaving Tibet, after being in Chinese prison camps for almost 30 years after the Chinese invasion. And he had been the physician of a large monastery. As he was going through his training as a young man, he had trained in the classical ways of going out into the forest with his teacher, harvesting the herbs, having ceremonies to give thanks to the plants, and all these classical kinds of ways of learning and practicing Tibetan medicine.

Qigong teacher Lee Holden

EXCERPT: Way back in the day I had a low back injury. I was playing competitive soccer. I was tackled by a competitive and rival team and I landed on my tailbone, and I was in so much pain, I didn't know what to do with myself. I'd never experienced pain like that. I had seen the team doctors, I had taken cortisone shots, a physical therapist didn't know what to do with me. I was out for the season, so I was really depressed.

Evelyn Rysdyk, shamanic teacher

EXCERPT: I had a group of students, and one who became a dear friend of mine and my partner, who got together and paid for a trip to send us to visit the polar bears in Churchill [Manitoba]. This was years ago. And at that time, that felt so out of reach financially. But they raised the money together and actually bought the trip.

Sabrina Chaw, CEO of A Feminine Feast

EXCERPT: So I was running up the stairs, my house stairs, and a sudden wave of panic came over me. I had left my purse on that park bench and realizing that the likelihood of seeing my purse again was increasingly slim as time passed, I ran, ran, ran higher and adrenaline back to the park. By the time I reached the park being an asthmatic, I was severely out of breath. I hurried as fast as I could for the remaining say, 200 yards to the park bench. As I got closer to the bench, came into view, my purse was gone. So, exhausted, I just collapsed in front of the bench.

Somatic healer Bernadette Pleasant

EXCERPT: I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't eating, I was stressed out, I'd left my husband. I can recall getting a phone call from my boss. I didn't quite understand the phone call and why he was calling me. He says, "Bernadette, where have you been?" I recall looking at the phone, thinking, What are you talking about? He says, "Are you okay?" "Sure, I'm okay." I have all this question in my voice, because I don't understand why he's calling me. And he says, "Bernadette, it's Thursday. You haven't been to work all week. You haven't called in. I don't understand."

Biofield Tuning founder Eileen McKusick

EXCERPT: When we moved to Vermont in 2002, my kids were little, they were two and five, and we had gone through a very devastating experience where my husband had been in a car accident. He was hit by a drunk driver, and he wasn't able to work for a few years, and this combined with some other things caused us to lose everything. We went into a complete and utter financial meltdown.

Music therapist Christine Stevens

EXCERPT: We made a video of how you can make drums; we said, "Okay, we can make this happen." I mean, it just was really an act of kindness and reminds me that sometimes the people that we meet have some higher purpose in our lives; we don't know what it is.

HSP expert Julie Bjelland

EXCERPT: She was also a sensitive person, and there was this sense of, "Wow. We really got each other." And we could tell each other things that maybe we didn't feel like we could tell other people — reactions that we were having, emotions that we were having, and the intensity of our experiences. There was something just so beautiful about being able to have somebody truly see me and love and accept me, and to give that right back to her. 

Author and teacher Mark Matousek

EXCERPT: She really saved me from myself and it was an extraordinary thing. It was like manna from heaven. It prevented me from going over the edge. It was very unethical, actually, for her to have done what she did, but she did me such a huge favor. And I always felt that it was my grandfather, through her, who was coming to my rescue at a moment when I was truly desperate.

Energy medicine teacher Ellen Meredith

EXCERPT: I went into work and my boss said, “How are you doing?” And I said, “Well, to be honest, I'm a little worried. I'm having this “voice thing,” and I'm hearing this guidance. It's kind of interesting, but I'm very worried that maybe I'm having some kind of nervous breakdown.” She looked at me and started laughing. She said, “I don't think you're having a nervous breakdown; I think you're having a spiritual awakening."

Belief therapist Lion Goodman

EXCERPT: The second person I thought of was a man named Ray, and Ray traveled with me for three days when I was a traveling salesman. And then he pulled out a gun and shot me in the head four times. Now, that would not be called nice by anyone's definition, but it actually kick-started me in a different direction. it got me started in my career as a headhunter. After having my head hunted, I became a headhunter, which is a little ironic.

Health intuitive Masami Covey

EXCERPT: I know that she could see that I was becoming increasingly angry... really, really deeply resentful and angry at the world — in part, because I totally felt alone and I didn't have a home to go back to, or the family that I could connect with. And so one day she said that she and her husband Larry wanted me to live with them and use their spare room, which was their daughter's room. And at that time, I didn't know that they had lost their only daughter a year earlier in a car accident. I ended up staying at their home, and for the first time in my life I witnessed a deep, loving, and caring relationship — and unbearable grief of losing their only child.

Rainforest herbalist Adriana Ayales

EXCERPT: I was a little girl. I was probably eight years old, but it was such a profound story for me because I remember coming out of school late and I was waiting for my mom to pick me up at school, and I was just there hanging out, everybody had left and I was sitting on the sidewalk. And it was a mystical experience. This lady walked by and she had an iguana on her shoulder, and I looked up and I had this thick science book and my backpack was heavy and I was all sad that my mom was late.

Voice pioneer Chloë Goodchild

EXCERPT: The energy and the atmosphere of this place, taking us back to pre-Christian times, and then hearing this incredible vibration coming through my voice inside one of these caves. In fact, my friend Ingrid, who took me there, told me that she'd taken a Peruvian shaman there quite recently and he'd said that he was convinced that it was a vortex that was connected like a song line or a vibrational ley line with Peru, right over to Peru. It was so profound. When I sounded, it was like disappearing down into the deepest part of myself that I've ever, ever encountered. 

Dr. Sue Morter, quantum field visionary

EXCERPT: I was incredibly shy and painfully shy and intimidated in life. I didn't like people to speak to me. I hid behind my mother's skirt when I was a kid. I slept on the floor of my closet because there was only one direction I had to look at night, and I was just frightened all the time. I was intimidated to engage in life.

Jessica Dibb, founder of the Inspiration Consciousness School and Community

EXCERPT: And this beautiful woman came up to Jamie and said, "How much do you need?" And Jamie started crying and after a long conversation said $6,000. So Martha wrote her a check for $6,000, and then over the course of the next year and a half, she wrote two more checks for $6,000 each; $18,000. And after my sister did pass away, Martha wrote me a check for $4,000, so that I could take a month off and try to get my life kind of in order after the three years of almost not sleeping.

Ken Cohen, Qigong & Tai Chi Grandmaster

EXCERPT: So she stops somewhere, runs out of the taxi, comes back about three minutes later with a bag that she presents to me. I ask her, "What is this?" She said, "Oh, open it up." It was an encyclopedia of Chinese sayings, including their history. It was all in Chinese. I mean, this was a big book. I mean, it was really an encyclopedia. In fact, I remember it was so heavy, I couldn’t ship it back. It was too expensive to ship back from Taiwan. I had to buy an extra small suitcase to carry it, along with some other items that I had purchased.

Nubia Teixeira, author, yogini, and Odissi dancer

EXCERPT: I started practicing yoga when I was 16 and I started teaching yoga when I was 18, so it really saved my life. It got me out of trouble, and gave me a sense of path and an opportunity to be of service. The reality is that I had to pay for my own yoga training and I worked really hard to do that. I grew up in a very, very poor family in São Paulo, Brazil.

Ariella Daly, dream weaver and bee tender

EXCERPT: So I said yes and we went to go book our flights to England, to get onto the training and still we were not in the training. We were 13th and 14th on the waiting list. I said, "Look, okay, let's say yes anyway, let's go to England, let's go to France, and let's leave that week of this shamanic training for women around women and honey bees. Let's leave this open. I bet we're going to get in."

Helen Liang, Tai Chi, Qigong, and Chinese Martial Art master

EXCERPT: So I guess today, I will share what, to me, was a life-and-death kind of incident. This needs to go back to 25 years ago when I was diagnosed with terminal stage, a very rare kind of lymphoma. I was hospitalized on and off for about half a year. I had these big lumps all over my neck area and the back of my head, and it was very painful. I also had very high fever that wouldn’t go away for weeks.I had all sorts of biopsies and antibiotic treatments. After the diagnosis was confirmed, I received some extremely aggressive chemo treatment.

Sister Jenna, author, speaker, and host of the America Meditating radio show

EXCERPT: I had the introduction of the Brahma Kumaris since I was 17, so I saw the transformation in my mother's life and in my stepfather's life. And when I had met the sisters, there was such an angelic presence about every single one of them that I met. So I just had this feeling that this was just a good bunch of folks, but I had no intentions that I would even try to do this path. I mean, come on. I mean, I'm a nightclub owner, right? It's just an opposite experience to the way that they were living.

Akashic Records guide Lisa Barnett

EXCERPT: Jack was so very lovely and kind and he said, "So, what do you do?" And I got a little dumbstruck, and I stumbled around a little bit thinking, Can I say I work in the Akashic Records? That seemed a little wild for me to say, but I did. I said, "Well, I help people to find their soul path and purpose through the Akashic Records." And Jack said, "I love the Akashic Records."

Dr. Bradley Nelson, author and medical intuitive

EXCERPT: ​​There was a teacher at the school that I was going to, this very, very small private school. And her name was Billie Peterson. I don't even think I had a class with her but I think that she knew and could sense that I was kind of a lost soul. At 15 years old, a runaway, far away from home, really deeply unhappy and needing love.

Kelly Sullivan Walden, dream analyst

EXCERPT: ​​​​And it was during a time of tremendous growth that came from a place of tremendous flailing and hitting such a dark place, such a dark bottom. And it was a time of... I remember saying to somebody, I wanted to just wear a sign across my shirt that said, “Pardon the mess. I'm under construction.” Don't ask me any questions. Don't expect anything of me. I'm under construction. So I was just super-vulnerable, super-like what am I going to do with my life?

Dr. Melanie Smith, Doctor of Oriental Medicine

EXCERPT: I was a senior in high school and I can remember vividly, I was literally a couple of months or so away from graduating, being stopped in the middle of the hallway by the high school guidance counselor. And he stopped me. His name was Andy Wilkerson and he was a nice guy. I knew him well. And he said, "Melanie, how come your name is not on this list?" And I said, "What kind of list?" And he said, "It's the SAT and ACT list." And I said, "Well, first of all, I don't even know what that is or why my name would be on the list." And he said, "It's the college entrance exams."

Judith Kravitz, Creator of Transformational Breath®

EXCERPT: I get a call when I reach my room that this person, this teacher of mine, said, "I'm on my way." I'm like, "Well, why?" It was literally the middle of the night. She said, "I want to work on your foot." This really amazed and really touched me because I knew it had been a big week for both of us. She had a few symptoms of a cold, and the thought of this incredible being driving to me in the middle of the night to work on my foot…

Dr. Keesha Ewers, Integrative Medicine Expert

EXCERPT: She laundered all of our clothes, brought it back, all folded. And then she said, "Every single time that you don't ask for help, it deprives somebody of being able to make a difference in your life." It was the most remarkable lesson for me. It just went in and created new tissue in my heart where it just opened up.

Debora Wayne, Founder of The International Chronic Pain Institute

EXCERPT: At that time in my life, I was living on drugs, I was drinking myself to sleep every night, I was binge eating pints of ice cream, and I was completely addicted to sugar. I would black out sometimes just from sugar. And you would never have known that because I still looked so good. And I was performing and highly functioning, and so no one had a clue, but I was bankrupt inside and I had never told anyone.


Shift Summit Speakers

John Gray, bestselling author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus

EXCERPT: So I went off to become a student of Maharishi, and he gave me an amazing gift. He allowed me to be successful in getting to know him... the way he thought, the way he experienced life, and so forth. I became his personal assistant. I became a yogi, a monk. I was celibate for nine years and he was like a father to me.

Anne Lamott, bestselling author

EXCERPT: When I got sober at 32, I wrote a letter of amends, an apology from really the depths of my soul. And she responded really beautifully. And then, a couple of years ago, I was doing a writing conference at a big bookstore and she came to it. I hadn’t seen her in all these years.

Dr. Raymond Moody, bestselling author

EXCERPT: My second year, there was this Philosophy honors program you could be in where you didn't have to go to any classes. All you had to do was a one-on-one session in which you would write a paper on some particular philosophical question, and you would sit there for an hour or so while your tutor... You read your paper and every word was, "What do you mean by that?" And so it was a very wonderful exercise in critical thinking.

Sharon Salzberg, meditation pioneer and bestselling author

EXCERPT: I think I would choose the time that my goddaughter chose me as her godmother. She was three or four years old, and I had known her mother somewhat, and we were friendly and I met the little girl. Her name is Willa, then a little girl. She's not anymore. And later she told her mom, "Sharon is my fairy godmother." And her mother said, "You know, you have to ask." So they asked me, and I was so delighted and honored and I thought, "Oh, this is a nice gesture. This will be a great thing."

Katherine Woodward Thomas, bestselling author

EXCERPT: I didn’t feel loved by my family. And if I had to, if I was going to draw it like an art piece, I would literally have drawn like a black hole right in back of my heart here. And it would be such a vortex where it felt so open and so raw, like a wound, like an actual wound. And I remember just turning to people who were sitting in back of me, complete strangers in a 12-step meeting and I would say, "Would you please be good enough to put your hand on my back?" And they would just put their hand on my back.

Lynne McTaggart, award-winning journalist and author

EXCERPT: We just returned from a trip to the bathroom there and we were about to have our snack when I looked up and there was a guy with a gun pointing right at my face. And he said, "You, get in the back." And he was pointing to all of the other customers in turn and ushering us all to a little cupboard in the back, a little closet. As soon as he got us in, he looked around at all of us and then he shut the door and he put a broom through the handle outside so we were in effect locked in. I was completely terrified.

Actress Dee Wallace

EXCERPT: I have so many, but the one that comes to mind is when my husband passed away and all of my best girlfriends got together and...

Psychotherapist Deborah Egerton

EXCERPT: As the cars were all passing by, he came up to my window and I reached into my purse to give him something. That's not always been my practice. But there was something on that day that touched my heart and said, "Go ahead and give him some money." I pulled over to the side out of the traffic, and I went into my purse, and I handed him a $20 bill.

Social change activist Nonty Charity Sabic

EXCERPT: I am completely humbled by this question and I'm completely in such deep gratitude by this question you ask because it actually sent me into a space where I felt like I needed to take a pen and paper and write down names of my family members and names of every single person that has been in my life until now, call them by name to honor them and to thank them for being part of my life.

Kiara Windrider, transpersonal therapist and science researcher

EXCERPT: One day a group of us were out hiking and we came to this beautiful waterfalls where we used to go on many occasions. And on this occasion, one friend and I were up ahead. We came to the edge of the waterfalls, looked over, tried to climb down as much as possible, and ended up actually falling. We fell about 200 feet, both of us, and it was just interminable.

Jaiya, award-winning sexologist and bestselling author

EXCERPT: I'll never forget the day we were at school and we got taken out of school and drove home and then we were given a garbage bag and said, "Pack as much stuff as you can in this garbage bag because we're actually going to a safe house." That person, my mom's friend, was the one who said, I've got to get these kids out of here. I've got to get my friend out of here, out of the situation, because our lives were in danger. And this to me was the beginning of realizing that there were people out there who would take action to help another person in a really strong way.

Rev. Deborah L. Johnson, founding minister and president of Inner Light Ministries

EXCERPT: And these words turned my life around. He just looked at me and said, "You do good in there ‘cause I believe in you." And I was so deeply moved. There was something about the words from this stranger: "I believe in you." And I remember being so humbled, thinking, this man who's here working at this kiosk probably never had a chance to have any education.

Rhonda Magee, author, Professor of Law, and teacher of mindfulness-based stress reduction

EXCERPT: And there came a time when there was an opportunity for the students in the band to go on a trip and to experience traveling outside of the state from Virginia to New York. I remember really having done all I could to try and raise the whatever extra money was required of us — like a family or personal contribution to be able to make the trip. I participated in fundraisers and did whatever I could and just wasn't able to raise all of the money necessary.

Maya Fiennes, an author, yogi, and musician who travels the globe teaching a mix of Kundalini yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong

EXCERPT: So that's when I was invited to go to a dinner party at Prince Andrew’s and the Royal Family. And as soon as I arrived there, I saw this amazing, beautiful piano, nine foot, handmade, engraved with different colors. And Prince Andrew was saying, “Oh, Mommy (meaning the Queen), has just given them this as a present. Nobody knows what to do because nobody knows how to play. And I go, “But I can play.”

Medical anthropologist Dr. Alberto Villoldo

EXCERPT: So we pick up the goldfish and we put it in her cup of water and we go up to the deck and there's this huge, vast expanse of ocean, and I have this little goldfish that I'm holding with this beautifully kind lady sitting next to me saying, "We're going to return this little fish back to the great ocean, back to the great sea so that it might find its destiny.”

Bianca Alexander, Creative Director and Emmy Award-winning host of Conscious Living

EXCERPT: A friend of mine who I worked with back when I was working as an attorney here in Hollywood at Paramount, and she was at Fox. She and I used to party together, drink, and smoke, and straight West coast total partying — non-spiritual, non-yoga, any of that. One day, she said, "Well, why don't we, on a Sunday morning, meet me for church?”

Cosmologist and futurist Dr. Jude Currivan

EXCERPT: And when I was 19, Dennis invited Stephen [Hawking] to give a talk, a seminar to postgraduate folks at Oxford, and he invited me. I was the youngest person in the room, I think I was the only undergraduate, and it was phenomenal to see this great mind that is Stephen Hawking begin at that point, because this is back in 1972, to talk about black holes.

Empowerment coach Karen Kulenovic

EXCERPT: In the early 2000s, when being highly sensitive and being an empath was not as widely known, I had an experience where my life was going down a path that was really challenging. I had actually been misdiagnosed with a mental illness. My sensitivity was misinterpreted as a pathology.

Alicja Heyda, PhD, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, and certified breathwork practitioner

EXCERPT: And as a kindergarten child, I was conducting research: is it possible to enter the world of fairies. Later I had a little microscope, so I was searching for various answers, observing the world. But I wasn't really accepted and it was difficult to feel well in my classroom, to have friends. So I was often rejected or people laughed in my face.

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, spiritual leader

EXCERPT: When I was 25 and arrived in India with a backpack on a trip that I really had no interest in going on, I was not a spiritual seeker. I always felt somehow that I wasn’t quite qualified for spiritual life. The idea of grace, and God, and consciousness, and infinity, and perfection... never felt like these were things that applied to me... Certainly one like me, who had experienced trauma, and difficulties, and pain, and abandonment, and eating disorders, and addiction, and anxiety, and all of these things. The ability to manage that seemed like the absolute highest that one could hope for. I was managing that and I thought that I was in good shape.

Kia Miller, internationally celebrated yoga teacher and the founder of Radiant Body Yoga

EXCERPT: When you first asked this, one story came to mind because it was quite unexpected. I lived in London for many years and I worked as a model in London and in different parts of Europe. And as a model, I guess one expects, usually there's an ulterior motive when people are offering things. But there was this one occasion where I worked with a director...

Ashanna Solaris, co-founder of Clarity Breathwork

EXCERPT: So I started to pray. And I started to imagine money raining down in my car, piling up on my car seats, filling my bank account. I just visualized the money. And I got home that night on New Year's Eve, and on my pillow in my room, in a beautiful envelope, it said, "Tee-hee-hee, we thought giving you $2,000 on 2000 would be so fun." And it was a check for $2,000 from the Angels. And I just cried thinking, I am supported; here it is. And these were true Angels in my life.

Ash Johns, spiritual life coach and conscious business strategist

EXCERPT: And through by having this white woman be an ally in that moment, I could feel the spirit of what was going on within me and in the interaction just completely came and was like, "No, you're not crazy, this is actually happening. This person just treated you differently and then turned to me as if it was going to be okay in front of me."

Dr. Marie Mbouni, author and healer

EXCERPT: A couple of months later, I traveled to Costa Rica to visit friends. When I got to those friends' house, I just felt inspired to share what was happening to me every time I was going into meditation. I described the house, it was a house with, like I said, a rooftop with grass on the rooftop with birds, and there was a pool, an infinity pool, and below the pool, there was a rainforest, and in the distance, the ocean and the mountains. When I finished describing the place, they started laughing. They said, "I know exactly where that house is."

Larry Parker, professional speaker

EXCERPT: So we happened to come across Sharon Smith and we looked at her website, and were very excited about her professionalism, the way her website was constructed, her bio, her experience, all of that. So we gave her a call right then and there. And when we called, the absolute joy and enthusiasm that she greeted us with was just really amazing. And I explained to her that I was blind and I had a bit of experience with Tai Chi.

Rev. Dr. Norma Edwards, spiritual therapist and life coach

EXCERPT: And she says, "Well, my husband and I have just booked you into the Marriott hotel for four days and five nights. And we will come into your home and take care of the children. And what we would like for you to do, is to really just relax and rest and build your confidence back."

Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Science Director at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center

EXCERPT: If he caught your eye, as he often did with me, he would say, "You're beautiful, keep smiling. Have a good day." All kinds of just really heartwarming, genuine, sweet things that shifted my mindset from that of a kind of sulky teenager who maybe felt like I wasn't getting enough attention and wished that someone had driven me to school.

Larry Parker, professional speaker

EXCERPT: So we happened to come across Sharon Smith and we looked at her website, and were very excited about her professionalism, the way her website was constructed, her bio, her experience, all of that. So we gave her a call right then and there. And when we called, the absolute joy and enthusiasm that she greeted us with was just really amazing. And I explained to her that I was blind and I had a bit of experience with Tai Chi.

Kate Reardon, intuitive metaphysical healer

EXCERPT: I sat next to this mother and she had four children. So I had one seat and she had the other seat with four children. So she had two children on each leg. And I was talking to her in my very broken Spanish. And I will never forget, she had one bread roll. Because, at the time, and still to present day, a lot of the local Bolivian people live below the poverty line. And way back then, I’m not sure exactly what it is now, but the poverty line was one U.S. dollar per day, per family, to live on.

Chocolako, founder of Yoga Innergy

EXCERPT: When I got to the butterfly farm after being on my scooter for two hours exploring all kinds of really cool things along the way, they were closing. They were closing the butterfly farm early for operational reasons. I was so, so, so disappointed because my plan was to only stay in Penang for about four days, and I was already on day two. When I got to the entrance, and the person at the butterfly farm who I meet for the first time tells me that they’re closing early, he’s extremely apologetic, extremely kind in how he conveys the message that is going to feel like disappointment.

Michael Stone, author and shamanic practitioner

EXCERPT: And so it was Christmas Eve Day, and I was hitchhiking in Spain. And I’m standing there on the road, with my thumb out, and here comes a cop. And I’m going, Oh my God, I’m going to spend Christmas Eve in jail. And he comes over to me, and he says, “Come with me.” And so I had my pack and my guitar, and I go off, and he takes me to a bar. And he tells the bartender to give me whatever I want, and of course, everyone’s celebrating; it’s Christmas Eve. And I thought, Wow, well, okay.

Shawna Bluestar Newcomb, spiritual guide and intuitive healer

EXCERPT: I do feel a lot of gratitude for specifically Grandmother Flordemayo. I feel like that really was a turning point when I had the opportunity to meet her years ago. And I feel like just at the time I had grown up as a really sensitive child opening to my spiritual gifts, but not really ever fully having a lot of guidance around it.

Elder Dr. Dave Courchene, founder of the Turtle Lodge

EXCERPT: I remember this beggar on a street and everyone was avoiding him and going around him. I remembered this teaching that this grandmother had given me as I was being taught about our way of life as a people. And then she says, “Don’t you ever, ever avoid the homeless people, the people that are disadvantaged. Don’t ever avoid them.”

Sound healer Kelvin Young

EXCERPT: After about an hour and a half, I could tell he was getting tired. I gave him a rose quartz crystal, and I'll never forget him taken that crystal and putting it in between both of his hands and holding it there to his heart, holding back tears as well. He gave me the universal gesture for “namaste,” honoring each other, not knowing that would be the last time I would see him in this physical realm.

Vanessa Cordorniu, founder of the School of the Healing Artes

EXCERPT: And one day I show up at my job that I love very much and my boss says to me, “I have to speak to you privately. Please come into my office.” Now I’m terrified. I’m like, Great. I left my apartment. I’m in this difficult living situation. I feel like I can’t ask for help. What am I going to do?" And so I was really scared. I go into her office and I’m like, "Did I do something wrong? Am I going to get laid off? What’s going to happen to me?” And she closed the door and she’s like, “What I’m about to share with you is really out there. It’s really something that I can’t believe I’m about to share with you.”

Linda Howe, Akashic studies expert

EXCERPT: It was about two years. I realized I was still on my bicycle and I was furious. And in my fury, I took down all these treasure maps. I tore them up. I had been to the car dealership in my best outfit. And I sat in that car, because I heard that if I could feel like it was mine, it would be mine. I had done all those things. Oh I was mad. I was hurt. I was betrayed. I was just flooded with all these terrible emotions.

Lettie Sullivan, priestess in the 13 Moon Lineage

EXCERPT: I remember feeling so helpless because I'm talking to anyone who comes in my room, really, doctors, nurses, janitors, anybody just asking for information for details. Hours would go by and it just felt like what I had to say didn't matter, you know? That my life didn't matter. This was something that was, it was incredibly traumatizing for me.

Paul Mills, PhD, Director of Research for the Deepak Chopra Foundation

EXCERPT: And so this kindness that Glen showed me by first of all, just thinking of me in a certain situation and then getting more information, following up that impulse, and giving it to me. It set me on a whole path that... I know my life would be very different than it had become if he hadn’t done that. I don’t know where I would be actually, but I know I wouldn’t have developed personally the way I have and my career would not have taken anywhere near this kind of trajectory.


Shift Team Members

Other Luminaries

Caroline Myss, bestselling spiritual author

EXCERPT: And she, of course, was a scholar on Eastern religions, and she was just this brilliant scholar, she studied in the East. And I was not passing her course. And here’s the thing. It didn’t occur to me to study. I thought, Why am I not passing the course? And it never occurred to me to study. And she stopped me and she said, “You’re not doing well in my course. You have a very good mind and it’s unfortunate no one’s taught you how to use it.”

Le Ly Hayslip, author, humanitarian, and peacemaker

EXCERPT: And so I come home, I don't know what to do, and I just get down on my knees and I pray and I cry, and then here she is, she walked in and she asked, “What are you doing?” And I say, “I am praying. I just so much want to sell this book to the publisher.” And then she gets down on her knees and both we pray. We say a prayer and she said a prayer for me, and we both pray to get my book sold. And guess what happened?

Joan Steffend Brandmeier, Emmy Award-winning news anchor

EXCERPT: I was in the sixth grade and I have always struggled with weight. I like to think that maybe I struggled with height... so it's kind of been an issue for me. I was one of the shorter, rounder kids in the sixth grade. Sid Freitag was my first male teacher and I always had kind of a fear of the masculine authority figure. After he measured me and weighed me at the beginning of the school year, he could see that...

Author Philip Goldberg

EXCERPT: I ended up with a tiny book contract to write what turned out to be my first book. It was one of the early books on TM. And I was incredibly grateful for the opportunity. Because suddenly I was under contract to write a book, and I remembered Bill Gibson and what he said, and I thought, My God, this isn't four short stories. It's a couple hundred pages I have to turn out. Can I do it? I panicked and I was nervous and I thought of backing out, but I didn't.

Don Samuels, the founder and CEO of MicroGrants

EXCERPT: At the end of the second week, Ray told me that he had told my story at his church, and that a gentleman there was making me an offer. He was going to propose that I produce the bill for the semester. He would give me a check for the full amount of the tuition, and then at the end of the semester if I produced my grades and the bill for the next semester, he would produce another check for that semester.

Sherry Burditt, Director of Clinical Services for Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat

EXCERPT: The nicest thing that he did for me was to really, really harass me to write a book. So why I say harass, I'm not somebody that has a lot of time to do things like that. Many patients have said, "Do you have a book? Do you have something that we can take with us? Why don't you write a book?" I would always say, "I would love to do it, but I don't have any time, but thank you very much." Well he — his name was Marty — was just tenacious and just wouldn't give up.

Sarah Moran, Shift community member

EXCERPT: One day I was really feeling really low about that, and I saw them and I asked... Jim was outside... and I asked him if he would pray for me about my health issues and he said, "Oh yes, come sit down." He sat me right down on the porch and grabbed his wife Florence, from inside, "Come on out. Sarah’s here. We need to pray for her." I certainly wasn't expecting this on-the-spot thing, but they sat me down in this chair and they both kind of put their hands on me, and went through this really lovely prayer for me. Of course I was crying and I was so touched by everything that they said. So it was a really sweet moment.

Yvonne Kason, transpersonal MD-psychotherapist and author

EXCERPT: One day I had my son drive me to the local grocery store just to pick up some fresh milk, and I was very, very weak. I couldn't drive the car. I had trouble walking. I was holding onto the buggy for support and the manager of the grocery store, he knew me because I used to shop there regularly, he came over to me and he said, "Yvonne, are you all right? You look like you're not feeling that well."


Joy Donnell, VP of Media

EXCERPT: I really didn’t know what I was going to do and how I was going to go forward in that moment. And then literally out of nowhere, almost like a hallucination, Beverly Johnson appears. And if you don’t know who Beverly Johnson is, she was the first woman of color to ever be on the cover of American Vogue. She is a legend. She is a supermodel. She is an icon. And she just appeared out of nowhere with this entourage around her.

Philip Hellmich, Director of Peace

EXCERPT: And every day, Tendy would come by with a plate on her head with rice and sauce. And I always looked forward to that time of day. Then her daughter, Josephine, volunteered to wash my clothes, which was done on rocks down by a stream. These were the original stonewashed jeans.

Phoenix Singer, Marketing Strategist & Senior Copywriter

EXCERPT: Sometimes I've wondered... the only other time I ever saw him was at the arraignment. He showed up there and we didn't speak; I was in the front row and he was in the back. He didn't approach me, I didn't approach him, and he didn't speak to me after. And sometimes I wonder if he didn't exist in physical form, but came as my angel, my guardian to take care of me when I needed it the most.

Jennifer Lynn, Marketing Writer on the Shift Community Transformation Team

EXCERPT: So I taught for a year at this amazing school, these little kids, and I bonded with all of them — and then I got the news that I had been accepted to law school and decided to go that route. And this little boy, Jared, who was four years old at the time, he gave me a going-away gift...

Matthew Dimond, Senior Marketing Manager

EXCERPT: And a perfect example of that, and this was super nice and kind and without asking anyone, was about five years ago, my mother-in-law, my wife's mother, was diagnosed with lung cancer, stage four, I believe, and a very bad prognosis. It was pretty devastating for our family to hear this, and knowing that my wife was going to wind up being the one who's going to be pretty much responsible for helping her mother.

Marit Mesipuu, Administrative Support

EXCERPT: I had just arrived to Australia, I had been there for a month, and I was still looking for work. I was starting to get a little bit stressed out because there was nothing, and I had made tons of calls, which was very challenging for me at that time, because in Estonia... Estonia's where I'm living right now and where I'm from, and in Estonia we do most of the communication by email. So I had to make lots of calls and tried to get many contacts to find some kind of work. And I wanted to do farm work.

Liz Field, Marketing Writer on the Shift Community Transformation Team

EXCERPT: I used to follow a band around called the Grateful Dead back in the '80s and '90s, and there’s a community of people involved in that. And one of the values of this community is kindness. So, there were a lot of little examples of kindness going around, but one thing that Deadheads would often do for each other is give each other concert tickets, and these were called "miracles."

Shashi Tusken, Senior Production Manager for Summits

EXCERPT: And I went and we sat there, and of course after about three sips of delicious soup, I fell apart and just shared all of what was going right and wrong. And I didn't... I hardly knew her, I had met her at three events over the course of the summer. And she looked at me and she took a deep breath and she said...

Indigo Arco Iris, Marketing Specialist on the Shift Community Transformation Team

EXCERPT: So I had to make a choice, doing all these quick calculations in my head... And the softest place to hit, it turns out, was the edge of this other car. So, I aimed at a specific spot on that car, so that when I hit it right here I'm going to bounce over here and I won't bounce against the wall, I won't bounce into the river. So I did that. We hit, and as we hit, I remember this very spiritual moment where I started hearing some kind of benevolent beings talk to me...

Nick Mattos, Faculty Recruitment and Engagement Manager

EXCERPT: When the first of the two lineages fell, there was a certain way in which I was able to excuse it for the fact that I had the other one to lean on. Basically, that I was able to bypass the real engagement with what it meant — that I was part of a lineage in which this abuse occurred — by saying that at least I had this other one that was pure. When that one was proven to be unpure as well. It was stunning.

Lisa Bonnice, Program Host

EXCERPT: Anyway, my few minutes were quickly over and I went back to the conference, which was already in progress. And I was on cloud nine already when Neale made a point to track me down and find me out of all those people to tell me that he'd been flipping through the book and he just absolutely loved it. He went on and on about it, that he'd never seen anything like it and he wanted to do whatever he could to help me get it out there. And he gave me his contact information, his phone number and email address, and offered to write a foreword for the next edition.

Aliah Majon, architect of social evolution

EXCERPT: And so I went home and I called Eric and I said, "Well, the interview went really well. I think they liked me a lot. And they didn't say yes, but they didn't say no either." And Eric said, "Okay, just hold the vision in your heart that the service that you want to provide, that you and I have been talking about for a year, is going to come to pass.”

Lindsey Wise, mother, musician, and doula

EXCERPT: We were at a little cabin in the woods, up in the mountains, up above Santa Cruz, off Highway 49. When we were up there, it became very clear to our midwife that I was going to need to go to the emergency room. Yet, I sent the first ambulance away. I said, “No, it’s okay. I’m going to be all right. I’m visualizing that this is fine. I want a natural home birth.” Yet, I actually had an experience of flatlining and of dying, and I needed to go to the emergency room, and they used electricity to resuscitate me and to bring me back to life.

Natalia Karoway, Course Manager and Host

EXCERPT: It was a simple moment... we were sitting together and sharing, and still, it shifted me at my core. It was like this huge granting of permission. And not that I felt like I needed permission to be who I was, but it was like this self-permission and this self acceptance that came about from just those few simple words.