[Catalyst #25] Commitment to Conscious Activism

By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network

As we approach the end of a banner year for us (one in which we’ve grown 50% over last year!), I am filled with gratitude for you, our community partners, customers, faculty and devoted staff. It is such a dream come true to see how our community is growing and how many of us are deepening our commitment to what James O’Dea calls “conscious activism.”

I’m proud that we’re at a stage where we’re making that commitment more and more evident, from raising $65K for Ebola last month to creating the first ever Global Indigenous Wisdom Summit to participating in citizen lobbying for peace.  And, there is SO much more to do.

In this edition, we celebrate James O’Dea’s launch of his new book, The Conscious Activist: Where Activism Meets Mysticism. (See featured article). As you know, James is a dear friend and beloved founding faculty of our Peace Ambassador Training.  James really speaks to and embodies the essence of what we value: the marriage of deep personal transformation and inspired action.

The Peace Ambassador Training, which launches its eighth cycle next month, is our flagship program to help people ground themselves in deep personal peace and to take practical inspired action in their daily lives to foster peace. There are over 900 Peace Ambassador graduates from over 40 countries. As part of our commitment to promoting conscious activism, we are making the training available to everyone at tiered-pricing levels. (To learn more, click here.)

In this edition, I also share my thoughts about how people around the world can shift to more respectful citizen lobbying, moving beyond the polarized politics to more conscious forms of governance, something that has been up for me since attending the Friends Committee on National Legislation’s annual conference and lobby day.

We have a timely piece from Molly Rowan Leach about Reclaiming the Spirit of True Justice in the wake of the recent violence in the U.S. Molly, who was featured in the Summer of Peace, recently interviewed Van Jones. I love that Van, who represents liberal perspectives on CNN’s Crossfire, is partnering with Newt Gingrich, a conservative political icon, on an initiative to reduce the prison population in the United States by 50% in ten years.  This is a practical example of moving beyond polarized politics for the common good. (See Featured Audio and Article)

We also feature an article by Frank White about the “overview effect” - seeing the Earth from a distance. Having worked with the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which was founded by astronaut Edgar Mitchell, I truly believe having a broader perspective of life on Earth is part of the shift in consciousness that will help us move into practical action for the betterment of all humanity.

One of our newest faculty members, Patricia Albere shares beautiful reflections about love and the way we can “awaken” in relationships to the greater impulse of emerging consciousness. Patricia is a profound being and teacher. We are delighted Patricia is now part of the Shift Network faculty team. (See Member Profile)

Our featured artist is Ayahuapu from Venezuela, a group that uses musical medicine as a vehicle for creating transformation and awareness. (See Featured Artist)

Van Jones Interview: Audio Posted Former Special Advisor to Obama White House and CNN Co-Host of Crossfire

Van Jones spoke with weekly radio Community Justice Talks, a partner initiative of The Peace Alliance and Restorative Justice on The Rise — both organizations were featured in Summer of Peace. Van talked about the state of the United States criminal justice system and the many under-publicized solutions that are occurring at the community level in response to violence and with an aim towards prevention. He also spoke about his compelling, and unlikely, partnership with Newt Gingrich on an upcoming launch of the #Cut50 Initiative, to reduce our prison population by half in ten years. To learn more, click here.


Seen over 6.5 million times to date, Overview is an award winning and widely celebrated short film that reveals the incredible and sometimes surprising experience astronauts have when they see our earth from space — a perspective-altering experience often described as the Overview Effect. To learn more, click here.

The Conscious Activist — where activism meets mysticism
By James O'Dea — Preface from his new book

Activists and mystics are pioneers and adventurers. They leave the safer territory of comforting spirituality and charitable service and venture to the edges of personal and social transformation. They have a degree of longing and passion that makes some people uncomfortable. They have an unsettling degree of intensity. They ache for breakthroughs. They destabilize normality. They rock the boat of acceptability. They go off the radar screen of life's prescribed trajectories only to return bursting with ecstatic insight, fiery conscience and new codes to rouse us from a sleepy moral conformity . . . [read more]

The Shift to Respectful Citizen Lobbying
By Stephen Dinan

For many years, I considered myself politically engaged because I would track the evening news and get involved in elections, mainly by backing candidates, throwing fundraisers or writing columns online.

What I recently realized, though, was that I was primarily focused on getting people elected who think like me rather than supporting those who have already won election and are now serving as elected officials, regardless of their party or views.

In a sudden moment of clarity one day, I realized that I was unconsciously feeding the problem rather than the solution . . . [read more]

Reclaiming the Spirit of True Justice for Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and All
By Molly Rowan Leach — first published by the Peace Alliance

To understand Ferguson and the subsequent Eric Garner and Tamir Rice deaths requires that we see the greater pattern of violence occurring more and more frequently in the United States and honestly evaluate the issues while working towards viable solutions, together. Of equal importance is that we hold all "sides" of the equation with equal respect while truthfully evaluating what is at the root cause — upholding accountability at the most astute of levels. Headway will not be made out of further polarization nor out of blanket "blaming" statements. Although many reports state that nationally our violent crime is down, it is without doubt that coupled with technology and the circumstances of a public at their wits end, we are currently seeing media spike around tragedies that in the not too distant past simply were not a regular mainstay of American society — or just were sadly not reported or considered as newsworthy.

To read more, click here.

The Overview Effect and The Shift Network
By Frank White

We are witnessing something extraordinary in the early 21st century: a global movement toward a new understanding of what it means to be both an individual and part of a larger entity at the same time. The Shift Network is one important group of people working together to create this "shift" in worldview, approaching it from a wide variety of perspectives  . . . [read more]

I have come to drag you out of yourself
By Patricia Albere

I have come to drag you out of yourself, and take you in my heart.
I have come to bring out the beauty you never knew you had and lift you like a prayer to the sky.

— Rumi

Often when we think of love, what comes to mind is unconditional love, acceptance, caring, sweetness, warmth, forgiveness, generosity and kindness. Sometimes we think of melting and merging, passion, and ecstatic union.

There's a dimension of love that is exquisitely demanding — unquenchable in its desire for all of who you are, always. It wants your totality, all of what you could possibly give in that moment and all of who you are and then some. It's the kind of love that draws forth your depths into it's arms and just as Rumi says — wants to give you in your totality to existence like a prayer — like the gift that you are. It is the force of love that is connected to infinite potentials and possibilities. It's connected to creativity in its purest forms. It wants nothing less than everything but everything as an emergence that unfolds endlessly . . . [read more]

James O’Dea’s New Book: The Shift Network is delighted to announce our lead peace faculty James O'Dea has published a new book: The Conscious Activist: Where Activism Meets Mysticism. The Conscious Activist is truly a masterpiece for our time as it describes the many rigorous initiations needed before the power of the activist can become one with the power of the mystic. To order your copy, click here.

Film screenings of Awake: The Life of Yogananda are being extended in Theaters across the United States and Canada. To find a showing near you or to arrange for a screening, click here. (The filmmakers were interviewed in the Summer of Peace, the recording is available for free.)

Awaken into Action Virtual Training Event — how to turn your dreams into action creating a world that works for everyone. Starts January 5 and it's free! It begins with a loving tribute to Maya Angelou with one of her last recorded interviews. She talks about her life and what it takes to create change in the world. She was, and continues to be such an inspiration and extraordinary example of being in action creating a world that works for everyone. You won't want to miss it. Learn more, click here.

UPLIFT 2014 has been called the 'Visionary TED' and 'a new paradigm in conscious events'. From December 11–14, 2014 you will be able to experience 4 days of inspiring visionary content with speakers like Patch Adams, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Bruce Lipton, Charles Eisenstein and many more. The event will be streamed in HD with multiple cameras and is available to view online for 60 days afterwards, so you won't miss a thing! To learn more, click here.

World Spirit Day — Global Meditation — December 21 — 10:00 am US Pacific / 6:00 pm GMT — Please join Unify and the Gaiafield Project on December 21 for a Synchronized Global Meditation for Peace in honor of the Solstice and World Spirit Day. To learn more, click here.

Reclaim America after 2014 elections — A Town Hall Meeting & Strategy Discussion — Sunday December 14, 1:00 pm — At the University of San Francisco McLaren Hall. Speakers include: Mathew Fox Liberation Theologian, Rebecca Kaplan Oakland City Council President, George Lakoff Prof of Cognitive Science and Linguistics, Rabbi Michael Lerner Editor of Tikkun and Cat Zavis Attorney, Executive Director, the Network of Spiritual Progressives. To learn more, click here.

The Peace Alliance announces “Peace on Earth is in Our Hands” Holiday Card Order — We are pleased to announce that we have beautiful 2014 “Peace on Earth is in Our Hands” holiday cards available for ordering now. These have been very popular in past years. Support The Peace Alliance by ordering your holiday cards — click here.

The Alliance for Peacebuilding’s Policymaker Engagement (PME) program connects policymakers with the ultimate experts at resolving conflict: the people on the ground for whom it is a daily reality.  With good reason, AfP has become a key organization for U.S. officials in prevention-based bureaus seeking guidance on complex peacebuilding challenges.  To support AfP in shaping U.S. policy to create lasting peace, please join us or give today.  

Article: Simon Anholt interview: ‘There is only one global superpower: public opinion’ Former ad man Simon Anholt thinks he has the answer to problems caused by globalisation — the Good Country party, a global political organisation. He thinks it has the potential to gain 700 million members. To learn more, click here.

Internationally renowned, Yuval Ron Ensemble released a new video that can be used as a tool for spreading the message of peace and unity. The video features wisdom quotes from some of the great sages of humanity along with a devotional song from the Yuval Ron Ensemble titled "Ya Rab" from the CD Seeker of Truth. To watch, click here.

Seven Sisters Solstice Ceremony 2014 — Group Trance-Formational Journey from Darkness into Light — Sunday, December 21, 2014 — 8:00–10:00 pm — Hillside Community Church — 1422 Navellier Street, El Cerrito, CA — In this sacred group experience at the dark time of year, we collectively honor what ails us personally & globally, and experience healing and illumination as we move into the seeding of the light. Purchase tickets here.

If you have an announcement to share, please write: editor@theshiftnetwork.com

2014 Catalyst: (#25, 12/14) (#24, 11/30) (#23, 11/16) (#22, 11/1) (#21, 10/19) (#20, 10/5) (#19, 9/21) (#18, 9/14) (#17, 9/01) (#16, 8/17) (#15, 8/3) (#14, 7/20) (#13, 7/4) (#12, 6/15) (#11, 6/1) (#10, 5/18) (#9, 5/4) (#8, 4/20) (#7, 4/6) (#6, 3/23) (#5, 3/9) (#4, 2/22) (#3, 2/8) (#2, 1/26) (#1, 1/12)

2013 Catalyst: (#22, 12/14) (#21, 11/30) (#20, 11/16) (#19, 11/3) (#18, 10/20) (#17, 10/6) (#16, 9/21) (#15, 9/8) (#14, 8/25) (#13, 8/4) (#12, 7/21), (#11, 7/7), (#10, 6/16) (#9, 6/2) (#8, 5/12) (#7, 4/28) (#6, 4/14) (#5, 3/24) (#4, 2/24) (#3, 2/9) (#2, 1/26) (#1, 1/13)

Birth 2012 Catalyst: (#15, 12/9) (#14, 12/1) (#13, 11/22) (#12, 11/10) (#11, 11/3) (#10, 10/20) (#9, 10/6) (#8, 9/16) (#7, 9/8) (#6, 8/25) (#5, 8/16) (#4, 8/4) (#3, 7/28) (#2, 7/21) (#1, 7/14)
2014 Issue 25 • Dec 14
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Natural Realization: Peacefully Resolving the Tension Between Freedom and Daily Responsibility with spiritual teacher Gangaji. Gangaji will guide you to bring into focus the deepest possibility for your life as you walk the razor's edge of your divinity and humanity. You'll begin to see how your day-to-day life is your spiritual path. December 17, 2014, 5:30pm Pacific

Mutual Awakening: Living into the Spontaneity, Freedom & Intimacy of the Higher We with contemporary spiritual teacher Patricia Albere. In this 16-week transformational intensive, Patricia will lead you into new ways of relating and expanding consciousness that unleash more creativity, joy and collaborative magic. New Live Virtual Training Starts Tuesday, January 20, 2015

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Restorative Justice on The Rise is an international live dialogue via Webcast and Telecouncil platform, held weekly, reaching an international constituency of individuals, organizations, professionals, academics, practitioners, stakeholders and beyond. Supported by The Peace Alliance, the series provides a live dialogue circle for connectivity, education, action, advocacy and more regarding Restorative justice. To learn more, click here.

By Eleanor Tara

Ayahuapu, which means "Mountain of our Ancestors" in the Quechua language, formed spontaneously in Venezuela six years ago, inspired by the idea of using musical medicine as a vehicle for creating transformation and awareness.

Ayahuapu includes four talented musicians, Germán Virguez, Lupita Castro, Eduardo Santana and Eran Fakir, bringing together several different musical traditions, with the intention of, in their (translated) words, "spreading the message of the heart, piercing like an arrow through all of our physical, mental and emotional barriers to reach the most luminous, essential, all knowing spot of our consciousness."

Their album, Pura Vida (Pure Land) is an alchemy of different elements of Andean music, Venezuelan folklore, Amazon traditions, and Indian music among others. Each song transmits their direct experiences of love, aliveness, connection to nature and sacred plants.

You can listen to their album as well as other songs by clicking here. My favorites include "Krishna Jay", "Om Tayata Om Bekansie", "Supaymaya Wawayni". You also can learn more about Ayahuapu by clicking here.

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