[Catalyst 16 - 2016] 11 Days of Global Unity & International Day of Peace
By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
Last week was a much needed break, as my beloved wife Devaa Haley Mitchell and I took a vacation near Lake Tahoe. I found myself deeply resting, enjoying the pristine nature, relishing time with friends, and most of all, deepening my love with Devaa.
I was reminded about how important it is to take time to slow down and nurture the body, heart, mind and soul — basically, pay more attention to the feminine side of myself and to savor giving and receiving love.
From that depth of rest and nurturing, inspirational ideas naturally begin percolating in my heart and mind (and I’ve got many for the fall!). I always find spaciousness and a calm heart to be fertile soil for Spirit to more freely enter my consciousness.
Being much better-rested, inspired and filled with gratitude, I am now starting another period of travel to give more presentations on my book Sacred America, Sacred World. I want to do all that I can to inspire people before the US elections. (Please come say hello, I love meeting our community members. I will be in New York (September 15), Hartford (16), Philadelphia and Baltimore (17), Washington DC (18), and New York again (September 20). Click herefor details on the events as they finalize.
I want to acknowledge that today is the 15th anniversary of 9-11. I can still remember the images of the Twin Towers falling. It was devastating to see the vast destruction of human life.
9-11 was a dramatic wake up call for all of us — humanity must embrace our interdependence and find peaceful ways to transform conflicts; and, ideally, co-create a peaceful world that works for all.
From the ashes have emerged a wide-range of responses, many positive ones that are opening hearts and bridging divides, and others that are more fear based and perpetuating tensions.
One of our favorite responses to 9-11 is 11 Days of Global Unity, co-founded by We, the World and our dear friend Rick Ulfik. From September 11 to 21 (the International Day of Peace), 11 Days of Global Unity celebrates changemakers from around the world and each day a different theme is highlighted, including unity, environment, education, etc….
We have made the 11 Days of Global Unity Summit a cornerstone of the Summer of Peace again this year. The 11-day summit kicks off today with free inspiring interviews with Jane Goodall, Tavis Smiley, Neale Donald Walsch, Audri Scott Williams, Dr. Ibrahim T. Jaffe, Ocean Robbins and many more. To register free, click here.
In this edition of The Catalyst, we have an inspiring piece by Rick Ulfik about the 11 Days of Global Unity. We also have a beautiful article from Brioné LaThrop about the historic generosity of the United Arab Emirates and the arrival of the Compassion Games to that country. (Yes, the Compassion Games start today too!)
Our dear friend Shiva Rea sent an article about the annual Global Mala Project that will feature a livestream broadcast from the National Mall in Washington, DC on Sept. 25, 2016. Over 50 yoga studios are coming together to practice yoga on the National Mall! Please join Shiva and her friends in person or via livestream! (Click here to learn more.)
One of our members, Tsur Taub, sent us the article Decline of War by Angus Hervey, to remind us that there are less wars in the world!
Our member profiles are deeply reflective pieces from two friends, Greg Reitman, creator of the new film Rooted in Peace, and Patrick Kronfli, co-founder of BeThePeace and Unify. Be sure to watch the Rooted in Peace trailer in Featured Media and we want to encourage you to join in this year’s BeThePeace synchronized global meditations — click here.
Also, our friend Mohammed Nassr from Yemen sent us powerful videos about his colleague, Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Marwani, a peacemaker who is bravely working to bring feuding tribes together and to end revenge killings. We are deeply inspired by Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Marwani’s courage and effectiveness as a peacemaker. (See Featured Media)
Our Shift Philanthropy is We, the World which created 11 Days of Global Unity. For Featured Artist, we are highlighting Playing for Change which celebrates the International Day of Peace by holding community-based music events around the world.
I love how The Shift Network community and International Day of Peace activities are spreading around the world — one more sign that deep in our hearts and souls, all of us want to create a world that works for all.
Let’s celebrate 11 Days of Global Unity and the International Day of Peace together!
Rooted in Peace challenges viewers to examine their values as Americans and human beings. Today we are at war within ourselves, with our environment, and with the world. Director and award-winning filmmaker Greg Reitman invites viewers on a film journey to take notice of the world we live in, proactively seek ways to find personal and ecological peace, and stop the cycle of violence. To learn more, click here.
We want to thank Mohammed Nassr from Yemen for submitting this powerful story about Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Marwani, the founder of Dar al-Salam (House of Peace), an organization that aims to bring feuding tribes together and to end revenge killings. The videos were produced by Mike Healy and aired by Al Jazeera. They do contain graphic material. To watch the videos, click here.
Join The Shift Network, The Gaiafield Project and people around the world for Global Shift Meditations the 1st of each month – click here to register free. We featured David T. Nicol on Subtle Activism for a WiseUSA on September 1, 2016. (Free recording available after event – click here.)
At a time when record numbers of refugees are fleeing from over 60 military conflicts around the world, and statements that many feel reflect bigotry and intolerance are expressed openly in political campaigns in the US and Europe, I feel it is crucial for people to know about and be able to connect with what is working in the world.
11 Days of Global Unity is a worldwide platform where people and organizations can be part of an inspiring international movement linking local awareness and action activities for peace, justice, sustainability and transformation. Many of these programs can be found atGlobalUnityCalendar.org
Launching the Compassion Games in the United Arab Emirates, a place I believe to be the most compassionate country in the world, has taught me to be more compassionate towards myself.
In 2013, the UAE provided almost $6 billion in foreign aid, the highest achieved by any country in 50 years. In 2014 and 2015, the United Arab Emirates gave more foreign aid per capita than any other country in the world. Those statistics alone are impressive. However, the implementation of those funds is quite staggering. Irrespective of religion, race and sex these investments translate into billions of compassionate acts in over 178 countries since the nation’s inception.
In partnership withYogaDownload.com, on Sunday September 25th,Shiva Rea will lead thousands of people from all over the world in a special yoga practice for peace, service, action and the UN’s International Day of Peace, live from the National Mall in Washington, DC. Join by signing up for Yoga Download’s free live stream of the event: click here.
We are experiencing one of the least discussed, yet most remarkable cultural shifts of all time: war, one of our species’ most abiding and defining social practices, is at its lowest ebb ever
On Wednesday 21st June, the Colombian government agreed to a ceasefire with the country’s largest rebel group. For most people, this story would have passed unnoticed, buried amongst the headlines. That’s a pity. Not only does it mark the end of a 50 year old war that has killed more than 220,000 people, it also signals the end of official armed conflict in the entire western hemisphere of the planet. It means that all of the war in the world is now contained to an arc stretching from central Africa through to Pakistan, containing less than a sixth of the world’s population. If you can tear your attention away from the 24 hour news cycle, you’ll be astonished to hear that we are experiencing one of the least discussed, yet most remarkable cultural shifts of all time: war, one of our species’ most abiding and defining social practices, is at its lowest ebb ever.
A few years back I had the opportunity to interview and meet Ananda Giri for my feature documentary film, Rooted in Peace, to be released in the Fall of 2016. After an inspirational talk with Ananda, my crew and I left the Malibu Mountains with a sense of awe from this young wisdom teacher who refused to be called a guru. Occasionally I would receive emails from Ananda and One World but thought nothing of it. This August I coincidentally ran into my old friend in an unusual place; at the Feldmar watch store in Beverlywood. As I turned to my side, I noticed my old Indian friend smiling, and coincidentally asking me what it is. I don’t think he meant figuratively either. We smiled at each other remembering our experience in Malibu. He was quite eager to learn how my journey for inner peace was achieved knowing that I had spent five years of my life in the pursuit of making this film. After talking for a few minutes, he cordially invited me to India to visit the One World Academy campus as a participant in the Freedom of Living seven-day meditation retreat.
I look deeply into the distance as my mind remembers where I am and where I’m heading. I’ve been on this path for 15 years. The path of Inner transformation and service to humanity. It hasn’t been easy. As a matter of fact, it’s been incredibly difficult. I sometimes wonder if it’s all worth it or if I would rather go back to sleep. It’s sometimes good for me to implode, let go, and spiral inward until I land into a deeper center. It can be scary to let go of my identity, my judgements, my thoughts, my goals, my ambitions, my relationships, and allow myself to free fall internally until I hit “rock bottom.” But I’ve been through it enough times to trust. To know that my personality must die every once in awhile for a new, better, more evolved version of myself to emerge.
Start Planning for the International Day of Peace — September 21, 2016. There are many initiatives offering ways that you and your family, school and/or business can participate in this global celebration of peace:
Find or create an event for the International Day of Peace — September 21 (click here)
Have your city become an International City of Peace (click here)
Peace in the Park San Francisco — Free Event, September 17, 2016 Golden Gate Park. 11:00am–6:00pm — A rejuvenating day of peaceful activities for all ages and backgrounds alcohol free & vegetarian refreshments. Lets you explore a variety of ways to unplug and unwind while living in a fast-paced urban environment. It's an opportunity to find yourself, feel good and engage with our beautiful community in a fun, inspiring and healthy atmosphere. This free festival will feature world music, dances, tai-chi, hatha yoga, life-enhancing seminars, kids activities, peace exhibits, and meditation experiences in the exquisite Golden Gate Park Bandshell. To learn more, click here.
To honor the United Nations International Day of Peace on September 21, Lake Shrine is offering a “World Peace Sunday” on September 18. Morning services will feature teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda themed on world peace, an opportunity to offer prayers for our nation and world, followed at 12:00 pm noon with a release of white homing doves to symbolize our commitment to being spiritual peacemakers. All are welcome. To learn more, click here.
Yoga for Peace with Shiva Rea — On September 25th, join us from wherever you are for the year’s most important gathering for peace, service and action. Presented live by Yoga Download from the National Mall in Washington, DC, legendary yoga teacher Shiva Rea will lead thousands of people from all over the world in a special yoga practice for peace. In partnership with Yoga on the Mall and Global Mala Project, Shiva will offer a global meditation for peace and the traditional sun salutation flow, live from the doorstep of democracy and power. Sign up for Yoga Download’s free live stream of the event, click here.
Join Stephen Dinan for live book events and radio/TV interviews. Stephen will be on the East Coast of the U.S. again next month for his book Sacred America, Sacred World — join him in New York (September 15), Hartford (16), Philadelphia (17), Washington DC (18), and New York again (September 20). Click herefor his schedule as it finalizes.
Available in Paperback: Subtle Activism: The Inner Dimension of Social and Planetary Transformation. David Thomas Nicol introduces the concept of “subtle activism” to describe the use of consciousness-based practices like meditation and prayer to support collective transformation, such as global meditation directed toward peaceful resolution of a conflict. Subtle activism represents a bridge between the consciousness movement and the movements for peace, environmental sustainability, and social justice. It is not a substitute for physical action but rather a potentially crucial component of a more integrated approach to social change. To learn more and order a copy, click here.
What is Kundalini Yoga — Starting in September — Join Karuna from Light on Kundalini as she guides you through an explorative experience of kundalini yoga and meditation. Gain greater awareness and transform limiting beliefs with this introduction to kundalini yoga. Immerse yourself into this life-changing practice and learn to use kriyas — a mixture of breath, poses, and mantras — to move energy in the body and achieve specific attitudes, mentalities, and behaviors. You will experience just a few of the thousands of kriyas taught by kundalini yoga founder, Yogi Bhajan, that can range from uplifting your spirits to confronting your deepest desires. To learn more, click here.
Free Telesummit: Three Essential Building Blocks for Starting a Restorative Justice Program — Monday, September 12 — 1:00pm–2:30pm Central — Please join us for a free telesummit session with Dr. Mark Umbreit and co-worker Ted Lewis of the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota. Together we will explore key foundations for creating and sustaining new restorative justice programming that involves dialogue models at the center, while also addressing key challenges for building collaborative partnerships that blend the strengths of government and community systems. To register free, click here.
Upcoming Webinar Course — Building a Restorative Justice Dialogue Program — Starting September 29, 2016! Whether you are a Judge, Criminal Justice Worker, Public Administrator, Law Enforcement Professional, Social Worker, NonProfit Director, student or concerned citizen, this training is crafted to help support your process to build new programming in a team setting. This intensive, interactive course will feature 3 weekly 90 minute webinars (videocast in HD). Registration is now open! Discounts available for Individuals and Groups. Course Page & Registration
College and University Peacebuilding Approaches to Violent Extremism and Youth Recruitment — October 6–8, 2016 — Cleveland, Ohio — The conference will include a focus on prevention, intervention and response with an overarching focus on prevention methods such as community engagement, youth and community empowerment, and education. The conference will review and highlight strategies that help build relationships in the community. Hosted at Cleveland State University, in collaboration with the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Baldwin Wallace, Case Western Reserve University, Cuyahoga Community College, George Mason University, The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, Kent State University, The Ohio School Resource Officer Association, The Ohio State University, Stark State College, The United Network of Young Peacebuilders, The University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. To learn more, click here.
Recovery 2.0 Retreat — Costa Rica — with Tommy Miller and Kia Miller — November 19–26 (Thanksgiving) 2016 — Join Tommy Rosen & Kia Miller for a rejuvenating week of recovery, yoga and relaxation in one of Costa Rica’s finest retreat centers. The Blue Spirit Retreat overlooks the Pacific Ocean and a three mile long white sand beach, which is a turtle preserve. This extraordinary setting will provide us with a deeply nurturing and unforgettable experience together. To learn more, click here.
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.)
The Global Peace Index 2016 was released. The Global Peace Index, which ranks 163 countries on their peacefulness, has helped shift the world’s conversation about peace to a positive, achievable and tangible measure of human well-being and progress. Highlights from the report:
Global inequality in peace has widened in 2016 as least peaceful countries spiral into increased violence
The world became less peaceful in 2016, reinforcing an underlying decade-long deterioration in world peacefulness driven primarily by increased terrorism and higher levels of political instability.
The economic impact of violence on the global economy totalled $13.6 trillion or 13.3% of gross world product, equivalent to 11 times the size of global foreign direct investment.
The economic impact of violence was $137 trillion over the last decade — greater than global GDP in 2015.
Refugees and displaced persons have risen dramatically over the last decade, doubling to approximately 60 million people between 2007 and 2016, nearly 1% of the world’s population.
Iceland is the world’s most peaceful country, followed by Denmark and Austria.
Syria is least peaceful, followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
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.
Setting Your Writer’s Voice Free
How to Write Joyfully & Touch the World —
A 7-week Program
With Transformational Leaders and Teachers
SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy)
And Dr. Scott Mills, PhD.
Make the inner shifts to free your natural creative expression and birth your memoir, novel, blog or screenplay in a beautiful, easeful and joyful way.
New Live Training Starts
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
We, the World — The Shift Network is proud to partner with We, The World and its 11 Days of Global Unity initiative. The mission of We, The World is to maximize social change globally — until we have a world that works for all. WTW unites and amplifies the efforts of people, organizations and movements for the common good. We are working to awaken a spirit of caring and involvement in the public so that millions of people begin to see themselves as part of one global interdependent community. As Advisory Board Member Jonathan Granoff said at the launch of the WE Campaign, "I hope that we expands so much that there is no longer any them." To learn more about and to support We, The World, click here.
BeThePeace — 2016 marks the 5-year anniversary of BeThePeace, the annual global synchronized meditation event held in celebration of the International Day of Peace. In 2012, it began with 248 participating cities. In 2013, that doubled with 564 cities. In 2014, over 1,110 cities joined in. In 2015, it expanded to 1,417 events. To learn more how you can participate in BeThePeace, click here.
On September 24, 2016, musicians and music lovers will gather for a global day of action to bring music into the lives of children and to promote positive social change everywhere. Playing For Change Day was created in 2011 to unite the global community through the power of music to affect positive social change. On Playing For Change Day, communities will gather as musicians and music lovers from all over the world to perform on stages, street corners, schools, yoga studios, and cafes all with the goal of bringing music into the lives of young people. Playing For Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The Playing For Change Foundation (PFCF) was established in 2007 and is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. To see inspiring music videos, find a live event near you or to create your own music event, click here.