[Catalyst 20 - 2016] Thanksgiving, Standing Rock and Indigenous Wisdom Library
By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
It is Thanksgiving weekend in the United States, a time to be with family and to be grateful for the many blessings of life.
We also invite you to take the time to be grateful for blessings that are easy to take for granted, such as human rights (education, free elections, freedom of speech and practice of religion) as well as the basic needs of food, water and shelter that hundreds of millions people do not enjoy.
With our gifts come responsibilities to be part of making the world better as well and extending these blessings to more people. It is particularly important in a weekend that celebrates pilgrims to this country that we also remember the horrors committed against Indigenous Peoples.
This week was especially painful as our sisters and brothers at Standing Rock were attacked with water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets and more as they stand up to protect what is sacred — including water, the blood of life.
It is vital that we provide tangible and practical support to our family at Standing Rock which includes over 500 faith leaders and medics who are nonviolently taking a stand for the preservation of life.
For several years The Shift Network has hosted Indigenous leaders from around the world and invited them to share their sacred knowledge, rituals and practices to guide us in a way of living that is sustainable, healthy and just — into the spiritual springtime that awaits us.
We’re thus delighted to share the new Global Indigenous Wisdom Library, making this “virtual council” of leaders and their wisdom available for everyone, everywhere… for free. We want to give a heartfelt thanks to Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. (“Brother Phil”) for his partnership in helping create this Indigenous Wisdom collection.
In this edition of The Catalyst, we have a special video message from Chief Phil Lane Jr. who is also the Chairperson of Compassion Games International. Brother Phil invites everyone to take part in the Giving Games: Youth and Schools Play It Forward which begins on November 29 — a day known as #GivingTuesday — and go through December 10th, Human Rights Day. The Games will end with a global “Wopila,” an Oceti Sakowin Thanksgiving Ceremony. To learn more, click here. (See Featured Media and Movement News)
We also have a special message from our dear friend don Oscar Miro-Quesada on gratitude (See Featured Media). My beloved wife, Devaa Haley Mitchell, shares a beautiful piece about navigating the holidays with grace in this post-election environment.
Our Member Profile comes to us from the United Arab Emirates and features the world-renown environmentalist the “Green Sheikh,” H.H. Sheikh Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Nuaimi. The Green Sheikh is working closely with Chief Phil Lane Jr. on the Giving Games and environmental issues.
We also want to remind you that our next Shift trip, A Sacred Pilgrimage to into the Soul of India — 17 Days on the Banks of the Holy Ganges and into the Heart of Joy, Yoga and Devoted Service — February 21 to March 9, 2017. This sacred pilgrimage will visit sacred sites in and around Rishikesh, India, the birthplace of yoga. It will include time at Anand Mehrotra’s Sattva Retreat and then the International Yoga Festival. I strongly encourage you to consider this trip of a lifetime! (To learn more, click here and see Featured Media and Movement News.)
Hereditary Chief Phil Lane, Jr. shares the vision behind a Global Wopila and thanksgiving ceremony. The Global Wopila will take place as the final day of the Giving Games and everyone is invited to participate — to learn more, click here.
From calling government officials to attending solidarity rallies, here’s how you can get involved.
Despite protesters’ months-long efforts, the Dakota Access Pipeline is almost complete in North Dakota. Private security forces and police ratcheted up their use of force last weekend in order to clear a camp, deploying sound cannons and rubber bullets against largely peaceful Native American water protectors and their allies. Responding to their concerns, Obama mentioned Tuesday that his administration is looking into a possible reroute of the pipeline. Activists say, however, that that would still involve the same environmental risks and the project should be cancelled outright. Meanwhile, in the face of increased use of force, resistance efforts continue, and the fight is far from over. Here are steps you can take to support those on the ground:
Holiday time is upon us! It personally caught me by surprise this year and feels all of a sudden. And while many of us have the sense that it “should be” a wonderful time to celebrate with friends and family, for others it can be a very painful time… especially when our lived experience is very different from the perfect picture that is so often portrayed in our society.
And for those living in the USA, this year may feel especially hard because many families are divided in terms of politics… with both sides feeling very strongly. So I’ve heard some people really dreading spending time with family over the holidays.
So how do we navigate it all with as much grace and as possible?
If Donald Trump wants to fulfill his promise to Make America Great Again as well as reunify the country, he’s going to need to make some very bold moves in different directions than he has yet.
Right now, he has surrounded himself with loyalists, many from the far right, and is not yet making decisions that could bridge divides and make him more acceptable as a President for the many who are deeply opposed to him.
Here are six bold things he could do immediately that would begin to shift things in a better direction. If you agree with any of these, please tweet this article to him at @realdonaldtrump to increase the chance that he receives these suggestions.
". . .A true leader seeks authenticity and ‘originality’ to seed true values,"
H.H. Sheikh Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Nuaimi
I remembered standing around bonding with a dozen or more people in the BrandMoxie offices on the last day of the Global Unity Games, long after His Highness completed his presentation, One World One People: Leadership in Energy Sustainability and Transition on the International Day of Peace. An intimate hour spent in the Sheikh’s company felt like a session with a Life Coach gentling guiding and cheering you towards change. His Highness’ sobering words seemed to resonate with many in the room that evening and have since remained with me to this day. “You came to this life with nothing and you will leave this life with nothing . . . only your good deeds! So, what is your legacy? What will you leave behind and in front of you?,” he queried the audience.
The Global Indigenous Wisdom Library is a collection of audio and video interviews featuring Indigenous leaders from around the world sharing prayers, sacred songs, prophecies, spiritual teachings and pathways to healing,as well as concrete examples for birthing a new era — one in which all members of the human family are treated with respect, understanding, compassion and justice. This sacred wisdom is important medicine for us all. The production of The Global Indigenous Wisdom Library is a gift from The Shift Network, designed to inspire, inform and involve you by highlighting the voices and important messages of Indigenous leaders from around the world. We thank all the speakers who have contributed to this body of knowledge! To learn more, click here.
A Call to Play! —Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr., Chairperson of Compassion Games International, invites you to play in the Giving Games: Youth and Schools Play It Forward! Bring together your youth with Indigenous communities and all intergenerational allies during this momentous time to protect and restore Mother Earth! The Giving Games are a 12-day global challenge to inspire, develop, and celebrate our shared humanity through acts of generosity and compassion. The Giving Games begins on November 29 — a day known as #GivingTuesday — and go through December 10th, Human Rights Day. While Human Rights Day is being recognized, the Games will end with a global “Wopila”, an Oceti Sakowin Thanksgiving Ceremony. To learn more, click here.
Shift Trip — A Sacred Pilgrimage into the Soul of India — Join the trip of a lifetime: 17 Days on the Banks of the Holy Ganges and into the Heart of Joy, Yoga and Devoted Service — February 21 to March 9, 2017. Imagine for a moment the fulfillment of a life-long dream in which you experience a soul-filled adventure that takes you not only into the depths of India — one of the most magical countries in the world — but also into deep and lasting communion with the Divine. A true pilgrimage of the heart. That dream can be yours with A Sacred Pilgrimage into the Soul of India, a journey undertaken with supportive allies, wise yogis and sacred friends. Discover a new template for grace. For holiness. For service. For Spirit. For finally experiencing a real “Heaven on Earth.” To learn more, click here.
Gandhi Searches for Truth: A Practical Biography for Children chronicles the path that led Gandhi from childhood to Mahatma-hood in 12 beautifully illustrated stories. Each chapter sheds light on a lesson about the power of nonviolence. For children and adults alike. Author Stephanie N. Van Hook is the Executive Director of the Metta Center for Nonviolence and is trained in Montessori Early Childhood Education. To learn more, click here.
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.
The California Women’s Conference — Long Beach, California — December 7–8, 2016. This 2-day event will feature some of the world’s top speakers, entertainers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders. It’s an event that is designed to inspire and connect you with other empowering women who are making great change in the world. It takes place once every two years! Reserve your seat now and connect your journey with women who are making moves around the globe. 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.
Living Into the Spontaneity, Freedom & Intimacy of the Higher We —
Are you ready for a paradigm shift in your spiritual practice, one that takes you beyond the ultimately isolating model of solo practice and into a living, evolving field of mutual awakening — whether with one other person or a whole group?
With Contemporary Spiritual Teacher
New Live Virtual Training Starts Tuesday, December 6, 2016
• Winter of Wellness
• Sandra Ingerman 7-week course
• Caroline Casey 7-week course
• Russ Hudson 10-week course
• David Crow 12-week course
• don Oscar Miro-Quesada 12-week course
• Robert Moss 12-week course
Standing Rock — We strongly encourage you to support our sisters and brothers at Standing Rock. Here are 7 ways you can provide support, including making greatly needed financial donations – click here.
The Four Worlds International Institute (FWII) was established in 1982, at the University of Lethbridge, by Indigenous elders, spiritual leaders and community members from across Canada and the US. FWII is an internationally recognized leader in holistic human, community and economic development because of the Institute’s unique focus on the importance of culture and spirituality in all elements of development. To learn more, click here.
California-based singer-songwriter, Sergio N. Lialin, has created a gorgeous and impeccably produced debut album of healing, medicine songs. Each track has a surprisingly unique style that still forms a cohesive listening experience, incorporating a novel combination of genres spanning from sound healing, jam band, '60s folk, Spanish traditional, all the way to Gospel choir. My favorite track is the heart-melting and beautiful song, "Arpo do Universo" (The Harp of the Universe). To listen to the album, click here.