By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
In many cultures, growing older is the gateway to entering the most revered part of life. In the longest-lived cultures, people commonly exaggerate their age to enjoy the prestige and status accorded to elders, who are treated as the wise and spiritually mature cornerstones of families and communities.
Yet the “modern” mainstream world that we call advanced civilization is so focused on youth culture that we tend to deny and suppress the aging process. This rampant age bias can leave people feeling marginalized, unimportant and just plain lonely as they enter their “golden” years. That’s not only a shame, it’s deeply troubling because we need the experience, power and wisdom of elders to truly create a healthier culture.
That’s why we created the Transforming Aging Summit, a groundbreaking free online event offered from March 7 to March 9 to highlight the many opportunities that truly “conscious aging” can offer our soul’s journey here on earth. We CAN make our later years our greater years when we understand and appreciate the psychological, biological and spiritual dimensions of aging — and discover how to shift negative beliefs and patterns around aging to positive perspectives. (To register for this free summit, click here.)
Our Member Profile features Shift staff writer Phil Bolsta, who gives us a behind-the-scenes look at how and why he created his life’s work, a book that one reviewer called “the owner’s manual God should give you when you’re born.”
Our Featured Artist is Joanna Damiana, a singer-songwriter who Shft Network friend Tara Divina calls “simultaneously angelic and soulful.” Joanna’s new album is titled “The Spaces Between.”
We would love to hear your answer to the question, “What do you love about getting older? To share your thoughts in our Facebook Page community, click here.
Our Shift Philanthropy will stay focused on Standing Rock, a powerful example for all of us and a movement we need to continue to support, especially now that sacred lands are being desecrated in flagrant disregard of longstanding treaties.
In the midst of all the political and cultural turmoil we’re currently experiencing, remember, every thought you have can make the planet a better place, because every positive, peaceful thought adds that much more loving energy to the complex web of divine energy we call the Universe.
Truly, the closer you move toward enlightenment, the closer we all move toward an enlightened world.
In this brief excerpt from a talk by Ashton Applewhite at the Royal Society for the Arts in London, she addresses how perceptions about aging affect our health. You can read her accompanying blog post by clicking here. And you can see more excerpts from this speech, as well as other video clips, on Ashton’s YouTube page by clicking here. Ashton is a featured speaker in the Transforming Aging Summit, a free online event that will take place from March 7 to March 9.
This powerful video, created by AARP, makes a brutal point about ageism in our society. AARP set up a hidden camera to capture people’s reactions to a food truck with a sign that said it would not serve anyone over the age of 40. The video is part of AARP’s #DisruptAging campaign that underscores the pervasiveness of ageism in today’s culture and workplace. Watch the video by clicking here.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and indigenous allies are calling on us to continue the fight against big oil and join them in marching on Washington, D.C. on March 10 to bring this issue to the doorstep of our elected officials. The march is being organized by the Native Nations Rise Planning Committee.
As Earth Guardians, we are joining in solidarity with the indigenous peoples of the world who are bravely standing to defend our planet and our health from destructive fossil fuel projects. We must continue to work off the momentum created at Standing Rock to push towards a clean, sustainable energy future.
If you can join our brothers and sisters in Washington, D.C., RSVP to the event here. If you are unable to make it, there will be solidarity events taking place on March 10 all over the world! Please share the event with your network and talk to your friends and family about the actions of our water protectors.
After a Trump administration executive order, the Army Corps of Engineers ordered protesters to vacate the camp by 2pm local time on Feb. 22, 2017. Authorities were set to physically remove everyone in the way of the Dakota Access Pipeline's construction upon sacred Native American land. In a symbolic gesture, the protesters set fire to their camp. See the photos by clicking here.
Join The Shift Network, The Gaiafield Project and people around the world for Global Shift Meditations the first of each month — click here to register for free. We featured Fumi Johns Stewart, Executive Director of World Peace Prayer Society, on March 1, 2017. (The free recording is available here.)
As someone who is deeply committed to supporting people who feel called to age consciously, the terms elder and elderhood are integral to my work. In the modern world, the term elder tends to be equated with that disempowering word elderly, which so often means frail, vulnerable, or just plain old. But it can mean so much more if we understand the role it has played throughout history.
Elder is a role and elderhood a life stage that has been critical for the wellbeing of the world's cultures since time immemorial, but which has been lost in today's world. It was the elders whose role was to embody the wholeness, and share the hard-won wisdom, that their communities needed to survive
I wake these days remembering that something awful has happened. Reality assembles itself, and I feel worse. The multicultural, egalitarian, globalized society I hope to inhabit is under assault. Bigotry is ascendant. Racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance—pick your prejudice!—are sanctioned, even celebrated. How do we respond to attacks on those most vulnerable? How does the mission to build a movement against ageism fit into this historical moment?
Until I thought hard about it, just posing that last question felt self-indulgent. Why insist on adding another “ism” to the list when so many higher-profile forms of discrimination, racism in particular, rightfully demand bandwidth? Should ageism move to the back of the line, at least until Medicare is in the crosshairs? Here’s the thing: we don’t have to choose. It’s not a competition. And it’s not zero sum. All forms of discrimination intersect with and compound one another. The flip side is that when we make a community a better place in which to be from somewhere else, to worship a different god, to have a disability or be non-white or non-rich, we also make it a better place in which to grow old.
Our elder years can present us with challenging experiences. Changes in our bodies and minds often feel unwelcome and can leave us struggling as some faculties diminish. Things just don’t seem to work as fluidly and easily as they used to. These are tremors that can shake us off our feet and undermine us at a time when we most need a strong sense of self and wellbeing in order to meet a radical set of changes to the very structure of our lives.
Katia Petersen, PhD, is the executive director of education at IONS. She is a clinical psychotherapist, an author, a renowned trainer and educator, and the winner of two Emmy Awards.
Our society's family landscape has changed drastically over the past several generations. Families used to stay in the same town, and even the same neighborhood, and younger people would apprentice to and then take care of the elders in their community.
Growing up on a small Island in the Mediterranean, I was surrounded by elders within my family as well as within the community. I was everyone’s child and knew I was loved and supported fully.
I witnessed how elders were included in important decisions, looked up to for their wisdom, and given full care by their loved ones. However, as distant societies and economies have become more interconnected, our younger generation has become more global and more mobile, with a trend towards moving away from one's family.
One of the things that surprised us the most as we researched the history of the Statue of Liberty was when we tackled the question, “Why is Liberty depicted as a woman in a land where women had no liberty?” The history of the Statue of Liberty, it turns out, is bookended by the histories of a lot of intelligent and creative activist women who literally changed the world. Especially the women of the early 20th century who pushed through the passage of the 19th Amendment; they literally changed centuries of social conditioning and created a new status level for women.
Two days before the Trump administration approved an easement for the Dakota Access pipeline to cross a reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation, the U.S. Department of the Interior withdrew a legal opinion that concluded there was “ample legal justification” to deny it.
The withdrawal of the opinion was revealed in court documents filed this week by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the same agency that requested the review late last year.
“A pattern is emerging with [the Trump] administration,” said Jan Hasselman, an attorney representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “They take good, thoughtful work and then just throw it in the trash and do whatever they want to do.”
I love writing for The Shift Network! It’s exciting, fulfilling work and I can’t believe my good fortune in being a part of this amazing team.
When I attended the annual three-day Shift team retreat in Petaluma last March, I had been working part-time from afar (I live in SoCal and Shift is headquartered in NoCal) and wasn’t that familiar with the company yet.
Over the course of three days, I grew more and more impressed as I witnessed firsthand the pure intention and passion for this work that every team member possessed. Plus, everyone was super friendly, extremely competent and eager to help each other. That was a year ago and it’s only gotten better. So in case you’re wondering, yes, Shift team members really are as wonderful as you hoped they would be!
The Transforming Aging Summit, a free online event from March 7 to March 9, is designed to help you discover dynamic aging with power and purpose. Join this one-of-a-kind online event — at no charge — to learn from top experts in the emerging field of conscious aging who are illuminating what you can do for your body, mind and spirit to make your later years your greater years, and to make your greatest contribution to our world! See our list of speakers and find out everything you need to know by clicking here.
In My Country Is the World, Martin Sheen presents the startling story of how one little guy, Danny Kaye’s understudy, inspired a people-power movement which culminated when the UN unanimously passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. "A roadmap to a better future,” Sheen says, because World CItizen #1, Garry Davis, points to how people-power can give us a saner way to run our world. This 8-minute short paves the way for a feature-length documentary, which will premiere in late April. To watch the trailer and find out much more about this 8-minute short film, click here.
Nominate a Hero: Help the One Billion Acts of Peace team find contenders for our 2017 Hero Awards! Do you have a favorite business that is helping promote peace? Do you work with or know a local Non-profit doing incredible work in your community? Is there a stand out young person tackling an important issue or giving back to others in your area? We are searching for nominees throughout the world — so if you would like to submit a nominee please send me the following information: Contact Name, Organization, Contact Details, Location, Hero Award Category (Business, NGO, University, Youth, Up and Coming Peacemaker), A Short Blurb on why you think that they should be considered for a 2017 Hero Award.
We have until March 31 to find the best Acts of Peace around the world, and we would love your help. To learn more about this year's Hero Awards, click here. To contact Morgan Norris-Wamsley, click here.
Are you alarmed about the kind of world our children will grow up in? They are too! If you or your friends have environmentally concerned children who are 12 years old or younger, here is an opportunity for them to express their fears, concerns and hopes for the future. Click here to see 20 inspiring kids speaking in their own words, and learn how the children in your life can create and upload their own videos to add their voice for a Livable Future. Let's spark a global children's movement that gets attention and helps to create major change! Click here to learn more.
As She Is 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 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. Infused with visionary power, Sacred America, Sacred World is 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.
Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World by Phil Bolsta of The Shift Network. Through God’s Eyes is a road map for living a more peaceful, beautiful life. It’s the only book that shows you how dozens of spiritual principles interact, how to weave them together into a cohesive worldview, and how to practically apply this spiritual wisdom to bring joy and vitality to your daily life. One reviewer called it “the owner’s manual God should give you when you’re born.” To order your copy, click here. To request a sample chapter from the author, email Phil at GodsEyes@me.com.
Awake: The Life of Yogananda — Now available on Netflix, Amazon and other livestream programs. The DVD is available with subtitles in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Dutch and Japanese. Plus there are new film showings in Australia and the 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.) Click here to watch the trailer and listen to more interviews with the filmmakers; you can also order a one-time digital rental for $4.99.
The Secret Life of Lady Liberty: Goddess in the New World by Robert R. Hieronimus, PhD and Laura E. Cortner. This new book examines the Sacred Feminine at the root of America’s founding, using the Statue of Liberty as a focal point to show how the American Liberty Goddess represents the best of what everyone believes this nation can be. The rich historical legacy of depicting “liberty” in the form of a woman reveals a new understanding of American history and provides hope for fulfilling our destiny of enlightened liberty through compassion. To learn more or order a copy, click here.
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.
If you would like to submit something to The Catalyst, please see the submission guidelines: click here.
Reflect on what you wish you could have told your 30-year-old self about the joys of aging, and imagine how comforting and inspiring this knowledge would have been to your younger self. Then share your insights with your social network community in posts directed primarily at younger members in need of your wisdom.
3 Enneagram Paths to the Sacred: Opening to the Power of Your Relationships, Shadows & Gifts — A Free Virtual Event With Respected Enneagram Expert Jessica Dibb. Ready to discover the 3 essential ways to go beyond the limitations of your type and connect more deeply with the sacred? The 9 types of the Enneagram ultimately illuminate your unique connection with the Sacred… revealing the intricacies your inner landscape. The shadows and the light. The struggles and gifts which are unique to YOU. Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 10:00am Pacific
• Energy Medicine Summit
• Grandmother Flordemayo 7-week course
• Caroline Casey 7-month program
• David Crow 7-week course
• Tom Pinkson 7-week course
• Linda Backman 7-week course
• Robert Moss 7-week course
• Russ Hudson 6-month program
• Donna Eden 7-week course
• Mark Matousek 9-month program
• Sue Morter 12-week course
Stand with Standing Rock. More than ever, it’s time to support our brothers and sisters at Standing Rock. We strongly encourage you to make a donation to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: click here.
Conscious Elders Network is an educational nonprofit organization fostering a budding movement of vital elders, dedicated to growing in consciousness while actively addressing the demanding challenges facing our country. We work inter-generationally for social and economic justice, environmental stewardship, and sound governance. To discover more, click here.
Sage-ing International is a nonprofit organization committed to transforming the current paradigm of aging to sage-ing through learning, service and community. They are dedicated to helping elders reclaim their role as leaders, sharing wisdom and spirit essential to creating a better world for current and future generations. To discover more, 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.
Joanna Damiana is a singer-songwriter with a striking voice that somehow manages to be simultaneously angelic and soulful. Her new album, The Spaces Between, honors the many transitions in our lives and brings us on a vulnerable journey of connecting with our unique truth as we navigate these moments of rebirth. Joanna's classical music background shines through the intricate string arrangements and unique melodies. I'm especially enjoying "The Never Ends," "Ride the Wave," and "Every Heart's Beat." You can listen to a sample by clicking here. Visit Joanna’s website by clicking here.