By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
My beloved wife Devaa Haley Mitchell and I are delighted to announce that we will be having a baby in the coming months! We have been trying for years to have a child and we are excited to be taking this adventure into becoming parents together.
We’ve loved “feathering our nest” and learning more about conscious birthing practices as we prepare.
It is special for us to share this news with you, our larger community. You are part of our extended family.
It is inspiring and sometimes scary for us to be having a child at this transformative and often chaotic time in the world. Many of you who are parents probably can empathize as you look out to the world and hope it will be a safe place for your children and grandchildren. Devaa and I share your dreams and concerns.
Our recent election has been filled with an unusually high-level of tension and polarization, as well as large-scale voter suppression and other forms of corruption.
The Women’s March on Washington and other marches around the country and world sent a clear message that women’s rights are human rights and it is vital to defend the most marginalized among us.
As we enter this new phase in our world’s history, it is important that we all double down on our engagement in democratic process from local to national and international levels. It is also important to bring forth a balance of our conscious masculine and divine feminine qualities, grounded in deeper spiritual practices, and build relationships with our elected officials and staff (we recommend FCNL for effective citizen lobbying).
So, in the spirit of healing our world by reclaiming the full feminine (from personal to political), we include two articles in this edition of The Catalyst about the divine feminine. We have a beautiful profile by Megan McFeely about her new film As She Is, which has been described as “a journey towards healing and wholeness.”
We also are sharing an insightful piece about Standing Rock, Holy Rage: Lessons from Standing Rock. Standing Rock is an exceptional example of applied divine feminine principles — recognizing our oneness and acting from a place of inclusivity, compassion, love and spiritual strength. It is important that we keep an eye on Standing Rock over these cold winter months, especially with the transfer of power in Washington, DC.
In this edition of The Catalyst, we are also highlighting the International Yoga Festival which is taking place at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India. Devaa and I went last year and we absolutely loved it! We highly, highly recommend you join if you can! You will see our Director of Peace, Philip M. Hellmich, there leading a Shift tour and filming for the upcoming Yoga Day Summit. (See featured media and Movement News).
Our Shift Philanthropy is Global Peace Initiative of Women, a wonderful organization focused on “the dynamic expression of unity, emerging from the heart of wisdom of the world's spiritual traditions.”
“Imagine if Energy Transfer Partners planned to drill underneath Jerusalem.”
The snow-scoured hills and buttes of the Missouri Breaks are dotted with isolated houses, until the sudden appearance of the Oceti Sakowin encampment on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The presence of so many people catches at the heart. Snow-dusted tepees, neon pup tents, dark-olive military tents, brightly painted metal campers, and round solid yurts shelter hundreds on the floodplain where the Cannonball River meets the Missouri. Flags of Native Nations whip in the cutting wind, each speaking of solidarity with the Standing Rock tribe’s opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, or D.A.P.L., owned by Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics. This pipeline would pass beneath the Missouri River and imperil drinking water not only for the tribe but for farmers, ranchers, and townspeople all along the river’s course.
I made my film, As She Is, because I had no choice…there was a cry from my soul to know and live all aspects of myself, to reclaim what had been lost. It was a deep longing and I knew if I did not do this…I would have been incomplete. I would have missed the opportunity of my life, the reason I was here on this planet. I was not going to let that happen… But the question really is why did I make a film?
Join us from March 1–7, 2017 for the world famous annual International Yoga Festival on the banks of the holy Ganges river, in the lap of the sacred Himalayas, the birthplace of yoga at Parmarth Niketan Ashram. Receive the darshan and inspiring, uplifting wisdom of revered saints, the teaching and touch of renowned yoga teachers from across the world, from a wide variety of lineages, plus ecstatic kirtan, divine Ganga Aarti and much more. The International Yoga Festival is a truly globally-unique event bringing together so many masters from so many traditions, cultures and countries in one sacred, beautiful place! Register online, click here.
About As She Is — This is an authentic film showing one woman’s journey to connect with and live from the feminine aspect of herself. The story interweaves the personal journey with the collective journey to demonstrate the interdependent relationship between the maturing of the individual and the wisdom of the culture. It is a prayer from the heart for the future of our world and it shows that each of us has the power to bring life back into balance. To learn more, click here.
The Convergence Series, co-sponsored by The Interspiritual Network, 1god.com, and Presence.tv, is a 13-week special radio series centering on the convergence of transformative arenas and disciplines worldwide as we enter this globalizing age. The Series host is Dr. Kurt Johnson of the Interspiritual Network, joined regularly by Ben Bowler of 1god.com and Doug King of Presence.tv. An episode guide is at the the 1god.com website. Shift's founder Stephen Dinan has been appeared on several episodes and will co-host the concluding episode on February 3. Philip M. Hellmich, Director of Peace at The Shift Network, hosted a conversation with James O’Dea and Emily Hine on January 5. Deepak Chopra appears on January 12. To learn more and to listen to all the recordings, click here.
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.
Book by Stephen Dinan: Sacred America, Sacred World is Infused with visionary power, it’s a manifesto for our country’s evolution that is both political and deeply spiritual. It offers profound hope that America can grow beyond our current challenges and manifest our noblest destiny, which the book shows is rooted in sacred principles that transcend left or right political views. To order your copy, click here.
More than 18 million people have traveled to the tiny Bosnian village of Medjugorje to witness daily apparitions of the Virgin Mary and experience her healing powers. Author Judith Lambert, a skeptic, was among them. Events that occurred during her four pilgrimages there between 1986 and 1991, however, convinced her that Mary is not only present but “everyone’s goddess,” a culmination of the sacred feminine throughout history who loves and nurtures all of humanity. 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.
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.
• Transforming Aging Summit
• Plant Medicine Summit
• Ram Dass 4-week course
• Mark Matousek 7-week course
• Richard Miller 7-week course • Robert Moss 7-week course
• HeatherAsh Amara 7-week course
• Jessica Dibb 5-month program
• Shift Leadership Training for Women 9-month program
• Energy Medicine Summit
• Grandmother Flordemayo 7-week course
• Tom Pinkson 7-week course
• Caroline Casey 7-month program
Global Peace Initiative of Women — We strongly encourage you to support GPIW's work: the dynamic expression of unity, emerging from the heart of wisdom of the world's spiritual traditions, and our own hearts, into a community. This new narrative can help animate social and economic structures and systems that better reflect our natural evolution toward greater wholeness. An essential part of this shift is the coming into a sacred relationship with the earth and all the living forces of the universe. Feminine wisdom and the power of love can serve as the fulcrum for this inner and outer transformation. To learn more, click here.
Stand with Standing Rock — It is winter and it is extremely cold at Standing Rock. We strongly encourage you to continue supporting our sisters and brothers at Standing Rock by making a donation to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: click here.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe — We want to acknowledge the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for their leadership and commitment to a nonviolent approach to DAPL. To learn more about the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, click here. To follow them on Facebook, click here.
Lydia Violet is a talented violinist, singer and songwriter who makes music inspired by her Persian heritage, blues and folk music, protest traditions and a deep care for the Earth and community. Her recently released debut album, Already Free, explores themes of social and environmental justice and aims to support listeners in transforming despair into hope and courage, so that we are newly inspired come together and create a better world. To learn more about Lydia, click here. To listen to her music, click here.