[Catalyst 5 - 2016] World Water Day & Plant Medicine
By Ben Hart of The Shift Network
Let’s talk about water...
Water is critical to all living things on our planet. Our bodies are made of up to 60% water, and some organisms are even 90% water.
It couldn’t be more true that indeed, water is life!
In fact, when scientists search for life on other planets, they look specifically for water. This is how profound the relationship is between water and life.
While Indigenous Peoples and many spiritual traditions know about the sacredness of water and have beautiful ways to honor and celebrate it, our collective consumptive habits are leading to massive pollution of water around the world.
We must learn to regain a sacred relationship with water as our lives, and the lives of so many living creatures, depend on it.
This is why we are supporting our friends UPLIFT and Unify, along with many other partners, in celebrating the United Nations World Water Day (March 22) with a special synchronized event — Bless the Water (March 19).
As part of Bless the Water, UPLIFT and Unify are showcasing a new film, Water is Sacred. Plus, there will be a special blessing ceremony from Rishikesh at Parmarth Niketan with Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji.
Stephen Dinan, Devaa Haley Mitchell and Philip M. Hellmich, along with several Shift Network members, were just with Swamiji, UPLIFT and Unify in Rishikesh providing water filters to service projects in the area.
We encourage you to join in this global celebration by creating or joining events in your community and by watching the Bless the Water event.
In this edition of The Catalyst, we have two wonderful articles about the sacredness of water by Chip Rodgers of UPLIFT. We also have a beautiful piece by Philip M. Hellmich about cultural sensitivities in working to improve clean drinking water supplies.
In this edition, we are also celebrating the launch of the Plant Medicine Summit (March 15–18), hosted by our good friend David Crow.
Since the dawn of humanity, people in every corner of the planet have used what was immediately accessible to heal themselves — botanical treatments, healing tinctures and medicinal remedies from the herbs, flowers and other flora.
We want to thank David Crow for making the Plant Medicine Summit a global gathering of leading ecological experts, health practitioners and inspiring educators who will be sharing a unique synthesis of medicine, ecology and spirituality that will transform your relationship with the natural world.
And we would love to hear from you: When you have a cold, flu or other illness, which medicinal plant or herb helps you feel better? 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.
Also in this edition, we have a special recording from the Winter of Wellness with David Crow speaking about The Nature of Prana.
For Shift Philanthropy, we want to thank everyone for helping us reach our goal of $5,000 for Clean Water for Rural India! We are keeping the initiative online for those who would like to help expand the impact!
Our Featured Artist is Rebekah Lynn, aka Water Dropz, who has teamed up with visionary artist, Eric Nez.
On the Equinox, Saturday March 19th at 5pm Pacific time, join us for a Global synchronised meditation and water blessing as we celebrate the waters of the World for World Water Day. To learn more, click here.
By connecting to the water we become inspired to take action
We were born in water. Water is our first medicine… I teach people to thank the water every day of your life… The river; the lake near your house; the glass of water you’re holding in your hand. Thank the water for giving us life.
—Grandma Agnes Pilgrim, 13 Indigenous Grandmother Council
Born from the cooling steam of ancient volcanic fires, water is the lifeblood of our planet. Water covers 78% of the surface of the globe and fills nearly 70% of our bodies. Water flows through obstacles, removes barriers, breaks down mountains and awakens life.
Reflections on the sacred element of water with Tim 'Mac' McCartney
Several years ago my surfboard shaper shared with me why he believes riding a wave is such a special (and for many, metaphysical) experience. He described to me how waves actually begin as a pulse of energy thousands of miles away in the Earth’s atmosphere. How they enter into our weather system as wind, moving across the surface of the sea, how wind swell eventually builds into a ground swell which travels in deep ripples across vast expanses of ocean building in size and power, and how when a wave finally reaches the shoreline and rises to a curling peak… this is the culmination of a truly epic journey. To have the gift of meeting and riding this energy at the very climax of its existence is one of the things that makes surfing the magic experience it is.
Over 11,000 people were drawn to an article I shared a couple of months ago on the “3 Uses of Medicinal Plants for Renewal of Your Body, Mind & Spirit” during the winter months. Because it resonated with so many, I wanted to give you a seasonal update with essential oils I recommend for boosting your emotional wellbeing this spring….
Many of you likely know about the pleasures and benefits of essential oils and aromatherapy. Lavender is the world’s most popular oil, renowned for its relaxing and mood-lifting properties, eucalyptus oil has been famous for decades for its respiratory decongesting effects during colds and flus, and tea tree is the most researched oil for its antimicrobial powers.
Few people, however, are aware of the internal dimensions hidden within the fragrance of the popular oils....
In most cultures, dew is seen as a life-giving substance both in terms of providing necessary physical nourishment and that of spiritual and transformation. The droplets of water that appear in the early morning light are an important source of moisture and nourishment for many plants and animals; dew has also been collected by people since time immemorial, and used for agricultural, healing and mystical purposes. For others, dew symbolizes a type of inner alchemical process of transformation, a substance that grants liberation and immortality.
Seeing the impact of Westernization, infant mortality, and other challenges made me more thoughtful and intentional about my own work as a Peace Corps Volunteer. At first, everything moved very slowly and there was little to do, at least from my goal-oriented, Western perspective. There was a health center in Kagbere (village of 300 people in a remote area), and I worked with two Sierra Leonean healthcare workers. In the first six months we conducted a census and organized an immunization campaign.
This year, in support of the UN-Water’s annual event World Water Day, UPLIFT and Unify are creating ‘Bless the Water’, a campaign to honor the sacred nature of water by blessing it in a Global Synchronized Meditation broadcast from the banks of the Ganges River in Rishikesh, on the Equinox, March 19 at 5pm Pacific / 12am GMT. This will be followed by the free online premiere of the UPLIFT film Water is Sacred . This timely film is full of thought provoking content and inspiring dialogue, told through the eyes of people with diverse cultural backgrounds exploring their intrinsic relationship with water.
You are invited to take action within your communities and homes. Create a local event and go to your local water source, sacred site, favourite nature spot, or just join us at home as we join together around the world. To learn more, click here.
Gender Leadership Group is bringing together both men and women to create safer, more productive and balanced dynamics in teams, organizations, families and communities at the Better Man Conference! Discover the business case for gender partnership in the workplace at this groundbreaking event which will include hundreds of professionals from many levels and industries for interactive leadership training, networking, and inspiration. Hear from influential male and female leaders in business, sports, media and entertainment who are walking the walk as responsible inclusionary leaders in the 21st century.
The Better Man Conference takes place in San Francisco on April 8. Learn more and register for the early bird ticket rate now at www.BetterManConference.com
Support Criminal Justice Reform in the United States
There is significant momentum and bi-partisan support for criminal justice reform via Senate bill S. 2123, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015. Mass incarceration has escalated since the 1980s tough-on-crime era and the numbers are staggering. The US houses 2.2 million prisoners — five times as many as 30 years ago. This is not due to an increase in crime rates but due to changes in state and federal sentencing laws. Young black men are disproportionately affected; more black men are imprisoned today than were enslaved in 1850. African Americans serve nearly as much time in prison for nonviolent drug offenses (58.7 months) as whites do for violent offenses (61.7 months).
The new bill will give judges more discretion to consider the whole person, will reduce mandatory minimum sentences and lower the population of federal prisons. Call your senator today and ask them to support passage of this very important social justice legislation. Capitol switchboard: 800-826-3688
Recovery 2.0 Conference Recordings Available! This recent global online event brought together the voices of 25 experts and thought leaders on recovery and addiction. The conference was hosted by Tommy Rosen, the author of the acclaimed book: Recovery 2.0: Move Beyond Addiction and Upgrade Your Life. The recordings provide cutting-edge interviews full of inspirational, spiritual, medical and practical approaches to overcoming addictions of all kinds. There is hope. You will become more aware, more empowered, and have the tools you need for successful recovery, optimal health and a life of fulfilling purpose... beyond addiction! To learn more, click here.
The Gandhi King Season for Nonviolence (SNV) commences on January 30, in cities across the globe. The annual 64 day campaign, co-founded in 1998 by Dr. Arun Gandhi and The Association for Global New Thought (AGNT), is an educational, media and grassroots awareness campaign spanning the January 30 and April 4 memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To learn about the many ways you, your school and community can participate, click here.
FREE: Nonviolence for Beginners, the free online 8-week course by Metta Center. To learn more, click here. We wish you much success in contributing peace to the world!
Praxis/Mondragón Study Tour — May 22–28, Mondragon, Spain — Praxis Peace Institute offers the most comprehensive study/tour available at the Mondragón Cooperatives in the Basque region of Spain. Developed over nine years, this program includes in-depth lectures at Mondragón Educational Center (Otalora), visits to Mondragón cooperative businesses, an R&D center, Mondragón University, Mondragón Bank HQ, the Basque Culinary Arts University (part of Mondragón University), the Basque Parliament where we have a special session with the Director of the Department of Peace, and much more. Details on our website – click here.
Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP) 2016 Annual Conference — May 24 to 26, 2016 — Washington, DC — AfP’s 2016 Annual Conference will examine the newest developments in the peacebuilding field, and will capture the “view from the edges,” where peacebuilding is innovating, “looking around corners,” and scanning the horizon to revolutionize the field. The Annual Conference serves as dynamic space for AfP members to network with the broader peace and security community, including funders, policymakers, members of the military, and professionals from a broad range of related disciplines, such as development, human rights, and environmental protection. The conference provides unique opportunities to exchange ideas, reflect on international crises, discuss the most important issues in the peacebuilding field, and develop collaborative projects. To learn more, click here.
The Happiness Track — Drawing on the latest findings from the fields of cognitive psychology and neuroscience — research on happiness, resilience, willpower, compassion, positive stress, creativity, mindfulness — Dr. Emma Seppälä, science director of Stanford University's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, shows that finding happiness and fulfillment may, in fact, be the most productive thing we can do to thrive professionally. Filled with practical advice on how to apply these scientific findings to our daily lives, The Happiness Track is a life-changing guide to fast tracking our success and creating the anxiety-free life we want. For more information, click here.
Meaningful coincidences are on the rise. Spotting and navigating synchronicity is like taking a rocket ship to your life’s purpose. In Synchronicity: Unlock Your Divine Destiny, Amelía Aeon Karris shares seven ancient keys for how you can increase synchronicity and live in absolute flow. Click here to learn more and find out how to get a FREE copy of her new book.
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.
Pause when you take a drink of water, wash dishes and/or bathe. Close your eyes and become aware of how “water is life,” your life. Give a silent blessing of gratitude for the water that sustains all life on Earth.
• Earth Day Summit
• Mark Matousek 7-week course
• Mingtong Gu 7-week course
• Steve Bhaerman 7-week course
• Donna Eden 12-week course
• Robert Moss 6-month program
• Caroline Casey 7-month program
• Inspiring Women Summit
• David Crow 7-week course
• Devaa Haley Mitchell 7-week course
• Arden Reece 7-week course
• John Perkins 7-week course
• Bob Stahl 7-week course
• Terry Patten 8-month program
• Andrew Harvey 9-month program
• Enneagram Global Summit
• Yoga Day Summit
• Summer of Peace
• Andrew Harvey 7-week course
• Lion Goodman 7-week course
• Sandra Ingerman 12-week course
• Tim Kelley 12-week course
• Patricia Albere 12-week course
• Miranda Macpherson 14-week course
Bless the Water — Join us here online for a special guided meditation and the FREE world premiere of the new film Water is Sacred, created by UPLIFT, that will be broadcast from the banks of the Sacred Ganges river in Rishikesh, India. To learn more, click here.
Rebekah Lynn, aka Water Dropz, writes, produces and performs ambient, acoustic, experimental folk music that she creates with the intention of popping open the hearts and minds of her listeners. For her most recent album, Dream Me Open, she teamed up with visionary artist, Eric Nez, to create a series of paintings and songs simultaneously in a unique project where ideas and inspiration flowed between them and evoked incredible beauty. Eric Nez says about the experience, "I felt like the paintings had a real voice that we could all hear." To listen to the album click here, and to view the art, click here.