[Catalyst 10 - May 14, 2017] Healing Grief

By Ben Hart, VP of Marketing and Media

This week’s issue focuses on the challenges, the healing and, yes, the gifts of grief...

Most of us have faced a profound or tragic loss.

Loss is a natural part of life, yet we live in a culture in which the stages of grief are often avoided, leaving us feeling alone and rushed to move on.

There is a wiser way to face grief; it can be a profound opening to what is real, meaningful and important — including our connection to the Divine and all of life itself.

Indeed, grief is an opportunity for inner transformation, especially when you give yourself full permission to approach each stage as a form of spiritual initiation.

Only when you give grief your full attention will it give up its gifts though.

Pretend that grief is not pounding on the door to your heart and you jeopardize your physical health as well as your emotional wellbeing.

Even an abiding faith in God may be of little comfort when the world is not large enough to contain your grief.

But it is the light of that faith, no matter how dimly it flickers in the darkness of your despair, that carries with it the promise of a better day.

Grieving is not about forgetting. Grieving allows us to heal, to remember with love rather than pain.
— Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen

In this issue of The Catalyst, we’re featuring compelling articles by Shift staff writer Phil Bolsta, who discovered a valuable connection between healing his relationship grief and spiritual growth; entrepreneur Mike Derheim, who suffered through the sudden death of his mentor, friend and business partner... twice; Jim Autry and Sally Pedersen, who explain that with a special needs child, “There’s so much joy in this life that it overwhelms the grief”; and Kriya yogi Shakti Anand, who invites you to create a charmed life amidst the beauty of Ibiza.

In our Featured Media, we offer a video interview with bestselling author and Shift faculty Mirabai Starr on her healing journey following the death of her teenage daughter; a book excerpt about “Wild Bill,” an inmate in a WWII concentration camp whose transcendent reaction to grief was nothing short of breathtaking; a look at Sheryl Sandberg’s book excerpt in Time magazine about what to say and what not to say to a grieving person; an audio talk by West African elder Malidoma Somé on grief, ritual and sacrifice; a brief audio clip from Shift faulty Mark Matousek on the importance of grief in personal transformation; and Lori Anne Yang’s Mother’s Day tribute to birth mothers.

Our Member Profiles feature Janet Larson, who unlocked the secrets to living a happy, inspired life by unlocking her diary; and Shift staff member Shashi Tusken, who shares the evolution of her dietary awakenings.

Our Featured Artist is Ali Maya, a California-based singer-songwriter who creates beautiful, uplifting, healing music with a world flavor.

We would love to hear your answer to the question, “In what ways has grieving contributed you to your growth? Are you stronger? More compassionate? More empathetic?” To share your thoughts in our Facebook Page community, click here.

Our Shift Philanthropy section features Spirit in Action, which provides micro-grants to help individuals, families and grassroots organizations in Africa start small businesses and community programs; and The Schoolbox Project, which provides mobile, solar-powered schoolhouses offering trauma-informed education, art and play to children in refugee camps throughout Greece.

Interview with Mirabai Starr on Loss, Love and Transformation

Click here for details about Mirabai’s brand new 7-week course, Calling in the Goddesses: Opening to the Wisdom, Love & Beauty of the Sacred Feminine, which begins on Wednesday, May 17.

It was a privilege to interview author, teacher and speaker Mirabai Starr about her poignant and beautifully written book, Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation, which chronicles her most significant life experiences, and in particular the tragic loss of her teenage daughter, Jenny.

Click here to listen to the 24-minute interview and read the transcript.

Sheryl Sandberg on Grief

When Sheryl Sandberg’s husband, Dave Goldberg, died suddenly two years ago at the age of 47, she was overcome with grief. The April 24 issue of Time magazine features an excerpt from her brand new book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy.

Read Sandberg’s Time magazine essay, “How to Talk to a Friend Who Is Suffering,” by clicking here.

Read her Facebook post about her grief journey here, and a Huffington Post article about her here.

Grief, Ritual and Sacrifice
Audio talk by Malidoma Somé

West African elder Malidoma Somé explains the role of grief and sacrifice in ritual life, in particular the water rituals of his village in Burkina Faso, where days-long water rituals would simultaneously cleanse and pacify, while drawing people down from their daily lives into a kinship of ancestors. To listen, click here.

The Importance of Grief
Audio talk by Mark Matouesk

Click here to register for Mark’s free virtual event on Wednesday, May 17: How to Heal & Awaken Through Writing: 9 Essential Steps to Wholeness & Freeing Your Authentic Self.

Mark Matousek’s father abandoned him when he was four years old. For years, he carried his grief like a sandbag he had unconsciously strapped to his back, weighing him down at every step.

It wasn’t until he hired a private detective to track down his father — and wrote daily about his thoughts, his grief and his experiences — that he finally found closure and peace.

To read more, and listen to an audio clip from Mark, click here.

Wild Bill’s Legacy of Love

This excerpt from the book Return from Tomorrow by George C. Ritchie is without question the most powerful testament to the resilience and strength of the human spirit I’ve ever encountered. Every time I hear it, it takes my breath away.

Ritchie was a soldier in WWII who was part of a group assigned to a concentration camp near Wuppertal, Germany, after the war with Europe ended in May 1945. Ritchie’s team was charged with getting medical help to the newly liberated prisoners, many of them Jews from Holland, France and eastern Europe.

To read more, click here.

I Wish For You A Beautiful Life: A Mother’s Day Wish to Birth Mothers
By Lori Anne Yang

This touching Mother’s Day tribute to birth mothers was written by Lori Anne Yang for her blog, Mammaste. It is at once uplifting and heartbreaking, as one mother holds her child close while another loves from afar.

To read Lori’s post, click here.

Global Shift Meditation — Join Free! Free Event on the First of Every Month

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 Harold W. Becker, Founder and Director of the Love Foundation, on May 1, 2017. (The free recording is available here.)

Your Voice

We want to know: In what ways has grieving contributed you to your growth? Are you stronger? More compassionate? More empathetic? To share with our Facebook Page community, click here.

How to Work Through Your Relationship Grief
By Phil Bolsta

My second marriage ended months after it began. I didn’t want it to, but the gap between our lifestyles kept widening, and splitting up soon became inevitable. I was heartbroken, but even as sadness seeped through me, I saw value in my grief.

By facing my grief head on, I healed myself in four months, which is better than suffering for four years . . . or forever. I hope my story of recovery offers comfort to others who are hurting. You can recover from a broken heart. You can heal. You can be whole again.

To read more, click here.

Growing Through Grief
By Mike Derheim as told to Phil Bolsta

Mike Derheim, cofounder of The Nerdery, a Minneapolis-based custom software design and development company, suffered through the sudden death of his mentor, friend and business partner… twice. In this first-person profile, he shares the lessons he learned while coping with his grief.

To read Mike’s story, click here.

Grief and Celebration: Loving a Special Needs Child
By Jim Autry and Sally Pedersen

Sally and I were married in 1982. Three years later, when our son Ronald was two years old, we knew something was terribly wrong. His subsequent diagnosis of autism, and my response to that diagnosis, changed everything in my life. Not only did it accelerate my process of awareness and consciousness, it profoundly changed my priorities. I was a highly paid senior corporate executive at Meredith Corp. and even had thoughts about becoming CEO some day. Instead, as I watched Ronald’s struggle to find his place in the world, I realized that I couldn’t do this anymore. I couldn’t keep traveling twenty-two weeks a year. Sally and I sat down and agreed that as soon as we had saved enough that we could get by financially, I would take early retirement.

We came to terms with the immediate reality of Ron’s autism by simply doing what we had to do — the education, the speech therapy. I tried to communicate with Ron in ways that were not traditional, such as putting my head against his head at night while he slept and trying to visualize positive outcomes. As you do these things, it sinks in. You come to grips with it little by little. It’s not an Aha! experience. You don’t say, “Gee, I’m over the grief now.” What you say is, “There’s so much joy in this life that it overwhelms the grief.”

To read more, click here.

Are You Ready to Live a Charmed Life?
By Shakti Anand

In the film, Meet Joe Black, there’s a scene in which the angel of death comes to fetch Anthony Hopkins, who asks for an extra week to fulfill his last goodbyes by throwing a party for his 65th birthday. After the party, when it’s time for him to exit, Hopkins turns and remarks to the angel of death that a charmed life is hard to give up.

How many of us can turn to our lives and say the same words: “A charmed life is hard to give up?” What if you could put yourself through your “last week of this life” and be reborn as a new and improved you?

With the Kriyas Conscious Living gathering in ibiza, we do exactly that — celebrate your last week of life as you are now and guide you in recreating yourself so you can authentically say, “A charmed life is hard to give up.”

To read more, click here.

My Diary Unlocked
By Janet Larson

What would your high school diary reveal to you? Mine opened the door to my life’s passion, and led me on a path of service to help us all reconnect to our soul’s truth.

Fifteen years after high school I came across my diary, which I hadn’t seen in all those years. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, I read it from cover to cover. I laughed, I cried, I cringed, I became angry; but more than anything, I wanted to stretch my arms back through time and give that girl a great big hug.

To read more, click here.

Living Light or Bust
By Shashi Tusken

One of my favorite things about working at The Shift Network is being appreciated for my whole self, not just for my abilities and strengths as they show up in my job.

In addition to being a Telesummit Coordinator, I also bake the birthday cakes and treats for our company’s local monthly birthday celebration.

Food has always been a theme in my life. I’ve been cooking real food, soups and stews — not just chocolate-chip cookies — since I was about nine years old, inspired by my aunt Florence and my Italian grandma. As a teen, I dreamed of going to the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park, New York, about 200 miles from where I grew up in New Jersey. I never got there.

To read more, click here.

Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation, by Shift faculty Mirabai Starr.

This beautifully written memoir spoke directly to my heart. Mirabai's transparency and willingness to be emotionally naked and vulnerable are astonishing. Her openness to share her journey of grief and loss is undoubtedly a gift to those who are struggling with unimaginable losses. I was so very impressed with the quality of the writing as well. Dozens of times throughout the book, with just a few perfectly expressed and arranged words, Mirabai conveys an emotional power and depth that is nothing short of stunning. Her message is clear and powerful: even when the world is not large enough to contain your grief, and even though you will never again be who you once were, know that healing is possible, and that joy patiently waits on the other side of sorrow. Order your copy by clicking here.

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, by Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook.

After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. “I was in ‘the void,’” she writes, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.” Sandberg’s powerful, inspiring, and practical book is about building resilience and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks. Order your copy of Option B by clicking here.

Community Grief Rituals in Boulder, Colorado

Wendy Kaas will be leading community grief rituals in Boulder, Colorado on June 4, September 17 and December 3, 2017. Wendy was authorized to do so by West African elder Malidoma Somé in the tradition of the Dagara people of West Africa. In the words of Malidoma: "In indigenous Africa, one cannot conceive of a community that does not grieve. In my village, people cry every day. Until grief is restored in the West as the starting place where the modern man and woman might find peace, the culture will continue to abuse and ignore the power of water, and in turn will be fascinated by fire. Grief must be approached as a release of the tension created by separation and disconnection from someone or something that matters." For more details, click here.

Hanuman Festival — Yoga + Music + Boulder, CO — June 15–18, 2017

If you’re ready to deepen your practice and immerse yourself in conscious community, then join us for four epic days of master classes, music, inspirational talks & celebration in the heart of Boulder. Featuring Seane Corn, Rod Stryker, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Annie Carpenter, Amy Ippoliti, Sianna Sherman, Saul David Raye, Janet Stone, and so many more. Come together to raise the vibration! For more information, click here.

The intention of the 5-day Kriyas Conscious Living gathering in Ibiza at the end of September is “to bring the divine feminine energy shakti into our everyday actions such that a life of consciousness can arise from within its authentic form.” See the accompanying article by Shakti Anand in this issue. For more details, click here.

Costa Rica Retreat with Karuna from Light On Kundalini
December 2 to 9, 2017
Blue Spirit Yoga & Meditation Retreat Center in Nosara, Costa Rica

Join us for a week of deep spiritual exploration in the serene and beautiful surrounds of the Blue Spirit Yoga and Meditation Retreat Center in Nosara, Costa Rica (Blue Spirit has been named a Yoga Journal “Best Yoga Escape 2017”). We will be breaking down the walls of resistance by going deeper into peace and tranquility through meditation. The week will include in-depth exploration of the technology of Kundalini Yoga for re-rooting, rest and restoration of the Complete Self from the stresses of daily life. You’ll develop a fulfilling everyday discipline, creating devotional practice with Sadhana at the ambrosial hour, meditation and chanting, and breath walks on the oceanfront, experiencing deep immersion into the Soul! FOr more information, 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.

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.

2017 Catalyst:
(#10, 5/14) (#9, 4/30) (#8, 4/16) (#7, 4/2) (#6, 3/19) (#5, 3/5) (#4, 2/19) (#3, 2/5) (#2, 1/22) (#1, 1/8)

2016 Catalyst:
(#21, 12/11)
(#20, 11/27) (#19, 11/13) (#18, 10/23) (#17, 10/2)
(#16, 9/11) (#15, 8/28) (#14, 8/14) (#13, 7/31) (#12, 7/17)
(#11, 7/3) (#10, 6/12) (#9, 5/29) (#8, 5/1) (#7, 4/17)
(#6, 4/3) (#5, 3/13) (#4, 2/28) (#3, 2/14) (#2, 1/31) (#1, 1/17)

2015 Catalyst:
(#25, 12/20)
(#24, 12/6) (#23, 11/23) (#22, 11/8) (#21, 10/25)
(#20, 10/11) (#19, 9/27) (#18, 9/12) (#17, 8/30) (#16, 8/16)
(#15, 8/2) (#14, 7/19) (#13, 7/5) (#12, 6/20) (#11, 6/7)
(#10, 5/24) (#9, 5/10) (#8, 4/26) (#7, 4/5) (#6, 3/21)
(#5, 3/15) (#4, 2/22) (#3, 2/8) (#2, 1/25) (#1, 1/11)

2014 Catalyst:
(#26, 12/28)
(#25, 12/14) (#24, 11/30) (#23, 11/16) (#22, 11/1) (#21, 10/19)
(#20, 10/5) (#19, 9/21) (#18, 9/14) (#17, 9/01) (#16, 8/17)
(#15, 8/3) (#14, 7/20) (#13, 7/4) (#12, 6/15) (#11, 6/1)
(#10, 5/18) (#9, 5/4) (#8, 4/20) (#7, 4/6) (#6, 3/23)
(#5, 3/9) (#4, 2/22) (#3, 2/8) (#2, 1/26) (#1, 1/12)

2013 Catalyst:
(#22, 12/14) (#21, 11/30)
(#20, 11/16) (#19, 11/3) (#18, 10/20) (#17, 10/6) (#16, 9/21)
(#15, 9/8) (#14, 8/25) (#13, 8/4) (#12, 7/21) (#11, 7/7)
(#10, 6/16) (#9, 6/2) (#8, 5/12) (#7, 4/28) (#6, 4/14)
(#5, 3/24) (#4, 2/24) (#3, 2/9) (#2, 1/26) (#1, 1/13)


2017 Issue 10 • May 14

The Shift Catalyst is a bi-weekly ezine for conscious change, powered by The Shift Network.

If you received this Catalyst from a friend, click here to subscribe (scroll all the way down to the bottom right corner of the site to sign up).

• Shift Network Update
• Featured Media
• Featured Articles
• Profiles
• Movement News
• Action of the Week
• Shift Spotlight
• Shift Philanthropy
• Partner Spotlight
• Featured Artist
• Allies of the Shift
• Back Issues

Like Us. Collaborate!

Call or send a heartfelt note to someone who is grieving a loss and offer to visit them; people who are grieving often feel alone and isolated, and simply sitting with them in silence could be therapeutic. You could also offer something concrete, like bringing over dinner or hiring someone to clean their home or do yard work. Everyone’s grief journey is unique, and your offer may be rejected, but your reaching out may provide some measure of comfort.

How to Heal & Awaken Through Writing: 9 Essential Steps to Wholeness & Freeing Your Authentic Self — A Free Virtual Event With Bestselling Author & Teacher Mark Matousek. Discover the Keys to a Writing Practice That Opens You to More Creativity, Expanded Possibilities and a Whole New Story for Your Life. Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 5:30pm Pacific

How to Connect Directly With the Divine: Mystical Principles & Practices to Access the Love, Wisdom and Sacred Energies of the Universe — A Free Virtual Event With Mystic Scholar Andrew Harvey. Discover Key Practices and Insights to Connect to the Ecstatic, Loving Energies That Created the Universe and Open to the Greater Expression of Your Soul. Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 10:00am Pacific

The 5 Qigong Steps for a Happy Heart: Simple Practices to Shift From Stress & Fear to Health & Joy — A Free Virtual Event With Qigong Master, Teacher & Healer Mingtong Gu. Discover Energy Healing Practices and Insights to Shift Out of Stress, Increase Happiness and Amplify Your Life Force for Greater Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual Health Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 5:30pm Pacific

Plant Medicine for Holistic Nourishment: The Healing Power of Food, Herbs and Flowers for Health, Longevity & Spiritual Growth — With Holistic Health Expert & Co-founder of Floracopeia Sara Crow, LAc, MTOM. Discover How to Optimize Your Life Force and Nourish Your Body, Mind and Spirit Through Plants. New 7-week Live Training Starts Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Calling in the Goddesses: Opening to the Wisdom, Love & Beauty of the Sacred Feminine — A 7-week Course With Author, Mystic Scholar & Interspiritual Teacher Mirabai Starr. Experience the Beauty, Wisdom, Creativity, Transformative Fire and Compassion Within You Inspired by the Energies of Spiritual Goddesses From Around the World. New Live Video Training Starts Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Activating Your Heart’s Intelligence: The Science & Practice of Unleashing Your Heart’s Transformative Power — With HeartMath Pioneers Howard Martin, Deborah Rozman & Sheva Carr. Tap Into Your Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence — to Live in a State of Flow, Create Vibrant Health, More Loving Connections With Others, and a Deep Sense of Purpose in Your Life. New 7-week Live Video Training Starts Thursday, May 25, 2017

More Upcoming Events: (all subject to change)

Itzhak Beery 7-week course

Enneagram Global Summit
• Andrew Harvey 7-week course
• Mark Matousek 9-month program
• Mingtong Gu 7-week course
• Sandra Ingerman 12-week course
• Ryan Angelo 7-week course
Yoga Day Summit
Summer of Peace
• David Crow 6-month program
• Miranda Macpherson 7-week course

• Robert Moss 6-month program
• Sue Morter 7-week course
Shamanism Global Summit

Chimwemwe Beza, who runs a small shop in Manyamula, Malawi, received a SIA Small Business Fund grant in 2013. Today her shop is successful and she reports, "My family is eating well these days.”

Spirit in Action

Spirit in Action International (SIA), a 501(c)(3) organization, supports grassroots community action in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda with small grants ($500 to $5,000) to local community-based organizations that are working together to reduce poverty and support vulnerable families. Their partners run job training programs in Nairobi slums, start low-interest loan cooperatives in rural Malawi, and support LGBT “inclusivity clubs” in Uganda.

They also provide families in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda with $150 microgrants and business training to help them take the first steps out of poverty and improve their lives. Rather than ask these entrepreneurs to pay back the funds, SIA’s Sharing the Gift initiative encourages them to pay it forward to support another family in their community. In this way, the impact of SIA continues to ripple long after the initial grant. Click here to visit their website and to make a donation.

The Schoolbox Project is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides mobile, trauma-informed education, art and play to children in refugee camps throughout Greece. They provide mobile, solar-powered schoolhouses that operate out of converted shipping containers. Their volunteers come from around the world and go through specialized training on how to work with children who have been through trauma and are living in a camp environment. Children in these programs are given 1:1 support at school and at home (tent, sidewalk squat, wherever is "home") to promote full inclusion and healing, while also avoiding retraumatization. To find out more and make a donation, click here.

Thomas Hübl: Walking Forever: the Path of Conscious Living and Dying. Modern mystic Thomas Hübl’s new online course, Walking Forever: the Path of Conscious Living and Dying, begins soon! Click here to watch a free video series in which Thomas discusses how facing our fears about aging and death can unleash our creative and spiritual potential.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. We want to acknow- ledge 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.

Ali Maya
Recommended by Tara Divina

Ali Maya is a California-based singer-songwriter who creates beautiful, uplifting, healing music with a world flavor. For most of her life she didn't even play music, but as she developed a profound connection with the power of love and devotion, her voice opened and she joyfully recovered her ability to play multiple instruments, as though that skill were embedded in her soul's memory. She began to write and share her music, much to the delight of all the people who fell in love with her transmissions, and released her highly anticipated debut album, Oceans of Compassion, in 2013. Now she brings us her second album, Ever-Flowing Fountain, which ranges from soothing, meditative songs to upbeat, rhythmic expressions of joy. The album was created with the prayer that each melody, rhythm and lyric carry healing and remembrance to every soul that receives its medicine, and it certainly delivers. You can listen to — and order —  Ever-Flowing Fountain by clicking here.

Solar Action Alliance

Peace Through Commerce

Evolutionary Leaders

The Foundation for Conscious Evolution

The Shift Movie

Humanity's Team

Green America

The National Peace Academy

Sacred Centers

Center for Sacred Studies

International Cities of Peace

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