[Catalyst 24 - 2015] Peace on Earth -- Be Peace, Act for Peace
By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
The news the past few weeks has been difficult for me, as for so many of us. The escalating violence in the Middle East, the Paris attacks, the San Bernardino shootings, all are hard to take in and stay open-hearted and positive.
More than ever, I feel humanity is at a critical juncture — a real choice point. In the next few years, we must do all we can to move beyond violence and to learn to live peacefully together, in a sustainable way. We must awaken to our highest potential and take meaningful action, all of us, each in our own way.
It is for this reason that The Shift Network has made a substantial philanthropic investment in peace — the Summer of Peace (four years of free inspiring content), World Peace Library (first mapping of peace from inner to international), Yoga Day Summit (inner science of peace) and the Peace Ambassador Training designed by James O’Dea (over 1,000 trained in 40+ countries).
We are working with partner organizations to set bold goals for 2020, including 1,000 International Cities of Peace. In the Spring 2016 we will be launching a partnership with PeaceJam and 13 Nobel Peace Laureates to spread peace education to five million students on five continents in five years.
We feel so strongly about peace that we have created Peace Ambassador Training 2.0 — an updated version focused more on personal application in daily life, featuring 20 peacebuilders, including 12 live sessions with guest faculty.
Our goal is to train 10,000 Peace Ambassadors by 2020 — this means you can be part of these larger global initiatives while promoting peace in yourself, family and community.
In this edition of The Catalyst, I offer reflections on the Syrian refugee crisis. Alison Weeks, our Director of Business Development and Education, shares insights from the Friends Committee on National Legislation annual meeting in Washington, DC. Also, we are featuring an article by David Bornstein about Convergence — an organization doing groundbreaking transpartisan policy work. We met Rob Fersh, the founder of Convergence, while in Washington, DC.
We also are featuring four of the Peace Ambassador Training 2.0 guest faculty — Professor Rhonda Magee (Featured Article), Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen Hunt (Featured Media) and Sister Jenna (Movement News).
We also have inspiring Member Profiles from Peace Ambassador Lyla El-Safy who is creating a peace training based on Islam and from Sam Friedlander about her emotionally moving time with Syrian refugees in Jordan.
In our Featured Media, we are showcasing a video from Alison Marks, our Director of Summits, who is outside Paris at the Voices4MotherEarth — a World Wisdom Gathering of elders, youth, activists, scientists and other leaders — many of them Indigenous — from all directions of the world. Alison will be posting updates about the gathering and other gatherings around COP15 on our Facebook page – click here.
We also are delighted to announce: A Sacred Pilgrimage into the Soul of India — 14 Days on the Banks of the Holy Ganges and into the Heart of Joy, Yoga and Devoted Service, February 29 to March 14, 2016. You are invited to join me with my beloved Devaa Haley Mitchell, Philip Hellmich, Sandra de Castro Buffington, Karuna Ashley, Kurt Johnson and other Shift community members in this profound journey into inner awakening and inspired service. Click here to learn more.
We also want to congratulate and thank our dear friend Olivia Hansen for the inspiring videos recently added to the Spiritual Life TV Channel. (See Movement News)
Finally, for Shift Philanthropy, we are staying focused on the campaign to support the 125th Memorial of the Wounded Knee Massacre. We thank all of you who are supporting the campaign and invite others to join us in standing with our Indigenous family at this important time.
Dr. Harville Hendrix & Dr. Helen Hunt, authors of Getting the Love You Want, created “Safe Conversations” — for any type of family that could benefit from better communication with each other. (Dr. Hendrix and Dr. Hunt will be special guest faculty for the upcoming Peace Ambassador Training 2.0) To learn more about Safe Conversations, click here.
Indigenous grandmothers and grandfathers, youth, activists, scientists and other leaders from all directions of the world are meeting this week outside Paris during the climate summit. Alison Marks will be posting updates about the gathering and other gatherings around COP15 on our Facebook page – click here.
We want to know . . . what do you do to create more peace? Please post a few sentences on this topic on our Facebook page and read what other Shift Network community members are sharing too – click here.
I believe the United States is in the midst of making a major and very damaging mistake in relationship to ISIS.
That's because we are doing exactly what they want us to do to play into their apocalyptic endgame.
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.”
At face value, Becky Pringle and Gisele Huff would seem unlikely allies.
Pringle is the vice president of the National Educational Association, America’s largest teachers’ union. A former middle school science teacher, she has 31 years of classroom experience. Huff is the executive director of the Jaquelin Hume Foundation — a libertarian advocate for free-market, choice-based approaches to education reforms like charter schools and school vouchers.
My mission is to connect Muslims to the Peacebuilding teachings of Islam such that they experience greater inner peace, gain skills in creating peaceful interpersonal relationships, and are activated as Peace Ambassadors of Islam in a wide variety of personally selected modes/locations/levels. To accomplish this mission, I am designing an online course that will cover both inner and outer dimensions of creating peace based on Islam's teachings.
Sometimes you hear someone speak and their words ingrain themselves into the creases on your palms and the blood in your veins. They settle into your bones and stay there, rattling around in your thoughts and refusing to let you hear anything else.
“There is something called peace,” the man before me promised, and in that moment, I knew these words would become a part of me—present in the mist of my breath on cold mornings and the salt of my tears when I cried—for the rest of my life.
A Sacred Pilgrimage into the Soul of India
— 14 Days on the Banks of the Holy Ganges and into the Heart of Joy, Yoga and Devoted Service — February 29 to March 14, 2016. Join His Holiness Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Sadhvi Bhagwati Saraswati, Stephen Dinan, Devaa Haley Mitchell, Philip Hellmich, Sandra de Castro Buffington, Karuna Ashley, Kurt Johnson, AmyJo Mattheis, Julia Maryanska and other Shift Network community members. In this journey of a lifetime, we will be participating in the International Yoga Festival, Kumbh Mela, Holy Arti Ceremonies, service activities and more. To learn more,
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,
Give Peace for the Holidays: Off the Grid Into the Heart and Off to Work are groundbreaking meditation CDs for those on the move, by Sister Jenna (Esteemed Guest Faculty for the upcoming Peace Ambassador Training 2.0 and Member of the Summer of Peace Wisdom Council).
Sister Jenna: “As technology continues to accelerate our lives, sitting still and reflecting on what matters most can be difficult. We bring so much more to our experiences and relationships when we make time to think in a powerful way. Those who are busiest are the ones who are most in need of a break. Off the Grid and Off to Work will magically return us to our inner world, where true power always resides — they are about moving us into meditation while staying on the move. To learn more,
Tell A Story Of Abundance: Send Abundant Water To Nepal
— In April–May 2015 earthquakes hit Nepal, killing around 9,000 people and causing around $5 billion dollar’s worth of damage. Clean water is running out for families, cholera is spreading and people are dying. Abundant Water (a non-profit organization) has the means to help — a team of potters in Laos who have developed ground-breaking water filter technology and a village-business program appropriate to Nepal. Help Abundant Water train Nepali women potters to make and sell clay pot water filters to supply clean water and help their communities recover from the earthquake. To learn more,
The Four Directions programs,
inspired by the work of Angeles Arrien, are designed to support full engagement in your personal, work and community life. These tools that are cross-cultural and can be applied in any environment where leadership, wellbeing, creativity and wisdom are valued. We’re excited to offer a 2016 Vision Quest experience during the third gathering of the four session program. We hope that you can join us for this exciting and transformational journey. Receive a discount if you register before December 1, 2015. To learn more,
Iran! Splendors of the Persian Empire — April 3–16, 2016
— Tehran, Kerman, Yazd, Shiraz, Persepolis, Isfahan and Kashan. Join 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. Iran has played a vital role in the Islamic Golden Age, producing hundreds of influential scientists, scholars, artists, and thinkers. To learn more,
Just released: Positive Peace Report 2015
— Positive Peace is a transformational approach to achieving development, resilience and peace. It offers an alternative perspective to identify and measure long-term investments that create an optimum environment for human potential to flourish. The Positive Peace Report 2015 analyses the factors that build sustainable peace, and includes a statistical analysis of Positive Peace in 162 countries, covering 99 per cent of the world’s population. It is the first global, quantitative approach to defining and measuring Positive Peace and is based on the social factors that have the strongest statistically significant relationships with the absence of violence.To learn more,
Awake: The Life of Yogananda— 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 Awaketo 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.
Mindfulness & Peacebuilding
Practical Responses for a World in Crisis
A Free Virtual Event
With Peacebuilding & Social Change Activists
Philip Hellmich & Emily Hine.
During this special event, two renowned peacebuilders who combine the inner work of mindfulness with the skills of peacebuilding will share the keys to combining the depth of your inner practice with your worldly impact.
December 9, 2015 at 5:30pm Pacific
• Winter of Wellness Summit
• Caroline Casey 7-week course
• Jean Shinoda Bolen 7-week course
• Miranda Macpherson 8-week course
• Chief Phil Lane, Jr. 9-week course
• David Crow 12-week course
• Devaa Haley Mitchell 1-year program
• African American Wisdom Summit
• Body Intelligence Summit
• HeartMath 7-week course
• Andrew Harvey 7-week course
• Luisah Teish 7-week course
• Terry Patten 7-week course
125th Memorial of the Wounded Knee Massacre
— 2015 marks the 125th anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre that took place on December 29, 1890. The Shift Network is committed to standing with our Indigenous brothers and sisters to create healing ceremonies on this historic occasion. We invite you to join us in unity and determination to end massacre. Let us use this unique opportunity to collectively begin a great and momentous turning. Come heal with us in spirit at Wounded Knee!
Click here to learn more.
Entheo is the musical duo Theo Brahma and Amma Lightweaver. Their name means Spirit Within and their core message is, "We are the dream, we are the dreamer, and we are waking up together, embracing the struggle and releasing the gifts within our suffering." They create music in a variety of genres but their recent acoustic release, Open Human Heart, is a collection of 8 magical, heart opening songs that are especially poignant, encouraging and healing during times of struggle and change. I've had this album on repeat during an especially tumultuous month and have found profound comfort in the beautiful melodies and truth evoking lyrics. Favorite tracks include "Beautiful Breakdown" and the title track, "Open Human Heart." To listen to their music,