[Catalyst 14 - July 9, 2017] Inspiring Positive Social Change
By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
On July 4, I traveled with my beloved wife, Devaa, and our newborn daughter, Sienna Rose, to Sacramento, California, to celebrate “InterDependence Day,” which we had activated as an upgrade to the way we celebrate July 4th. Here’s a great clip from local news about the main event.
Part of the impulse for this day came from my book Sacred America, Sacred World. I believe it’s time for America to go to the next level of caring for ALL our citizens. Independence is an important stage of development, but it focuses on what separates us rather that the higher ground that unites us. Interdependence recognizes that we are all interconnected and truly need each other.
It was such a delight to be with my budding family as well as with new amazing friends and allies in Sacramento gathered to celebrate diversity, inclusion, innovation and civic participation. We heard live music and inspiring talks by local civic leaders. We danced, played and participated in a range of uplifting activities all focused toward positive social engagement.
I just love that Devaa and I could introduce our precious Sienna Rose to a community of people all focused on being engaged in positive efforts to create a healthy, vibrant society that works for all.
Along this line, earlier in the year we reached out to hundreds of Shift Community members to ask your thoughts about what is taking place in the world and what you want us to offer during the Summer of Peace — our annual free offering to the world.
The first question we asked was, “When you think about the world today, what words best describe your emotional response?” Many people expressed “concern, anxiety and fear,” and others said “hope and inspiration.” One person replied, “Excitement — an opportunity to do something valuable to cause change if someone can show me how.”
Designed as a 2-day kickoff event, followed by a weekly series, Inspiring Positive Social Changewill teach you invaluable techniques in stress reduction, overcoming fear and self-doubt, developing self-esteem, cultivating compassion and forgiveness, communication skills, community peacebuilding, conscious activism and living from a place of inner resilience and Oneness.
In our Featured Media, you’ll find a video clip showcasing the first annual “Interdependence Day,” which was held in Sacramento on the Fourth of July; a collection of short videos related to the Rewiring the Brain for Peace project, which studies the intersection of neuroscience, spirituality and peacebuilding; and an online newspaper article and video on Frank Thacker, a Rhode Island peacebuilder.
Our Featured Artist is India.Arie, whose new album, “SongVersation: Medicine,” offers a soulful extension of her acclaimed 2013 “SongVersation” album.
We would love to hear your answer to the question, “How do you make a difference in your community?” To share your thoughts in our Facebook Page community, click here.
Our Shift Philanthropy section features Alliance for Peacebuilding, a network of over 100 organizations working to resolve conflict and create sustainable peace in 153 countries.
Please be sure to check out Inspiring Positive Social Change, which launches July 11-12. We put extensive time and energy into creating a free online series that will provide practical insights and skills that can be applied to your daily life — in your family, friendships, business partnerships and service in the world.
As a California-inspired upgrade to Independence Day, people gathered in Sacramento on July 4, 2017 for the first annual “Interdependence Day” to celebrate diversity, inclusion, innovation and civic participation.
The Interdependence Day celebration is part of a larger California Campaign 2020 — a four-year education, engagement and training campaign of statewide partners, including The Shift Network, that culminates on September 21, 2020.
As Shift Network’s Stephen Dinan explains in the news segment video, “This is a celebration of our unity and diversity and an opportunity for us to really bring out the best of what America represents. Independence is a stage en route to Interdependence, where we recognize that we are essentially dependent on each other as well as being independent.”
To watch a brief news segment on the event, click here. To discover more about Interdependence Day, click here.
Why is it important to rewire our brains for peace? That’s the question put to two leaders of Alliance for Peacebuilding, a network of over 100 organizations working to resolve conflict and create sustainable peace in 153 countries. This 4-minute video features president and CEO Melanie Greenberg and Béatrice Pouligny, PhD, co-directors of Rewiring the Brain for Peace, which studies the intersection of neuroscience, spirituality and peacebuilding.
Below this video, you’ll find seven additional videos (each of which is two or three minutes long) addressing these related questions:
How Can Spiritual Rituals Support Peace?
How Can this Project Better Inform our Understanding of Violence?
What Does Neuroscience Have to Offer the Field of Peacebuilding?
Why is Ritualized Behavior Important to our Understanding of Peacebuilding and Spirituality?
What is the Role of Dignity in Peacebuilding?
What are the Important Connections between Trauma and Spirituality?
How Can Spiritual Values Help the Peacebuilding Process?
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. On July 1, we featured Cynthia Jurs, founder of Alliance for the Earth, a nonprofit dedicated to planetary healing and collective awakening. (The free recording is available here.)
When we designed the Inspiring Positive Social Change Summit, we reached out to Andrew right away to invite him to speak about sacred activism, and he graciously agreed.
Andrew: We know that when a force arises, composed of people who have profound spiritual awareness, but also radical commitment to urgent, wise, focused action, something in the universe blesses their endeavors and gives them the strength and the stamina to rise up in seemingly impossible situations and, over time, effect great change.
I think the rising of this force in the 20th century was no coincidence, because the 20th century was the bloodiest century in human history, the century that saw the dropping of the atomic bombs, that saw the exponential growth in cruelty in concentration camps, that saw a massive orgy of greed which has nearly destroyed the environment. Yet in the middle of all of that despair and chaos and madness and horror, a force arose which has had profound effects. It is this force, this force of fusing together deep spirituality and profound action, that is now rising to help us deal with our greatest evolutionary crisis.
Peace Action By Reem Ghunaim and Al Jubitz of The Rotarian Action Group for Peace
Reem Ghunaim, RAGFP Executive Director, Rotary Peace Fellow, Member of Rotary Club of Portland (District 5100)
Rotary International has a very strong historical commitment to peace efforts around the world. Rotary believes in the power of the community and the effectiveness of grassroots initiatives. That is evident in their model for operating at the community level through the Rotary club. The Rotarian Action Group for Peace (RAGFP) believes in the power of Rotary Clubs and views them as organized groups of community leaders who are serving their communities by giving them a platform to affect positive change. Rotary clubs conduct local and international peace and development projects and are highly effective due the power of Rotary’s global network. For more, watch our 5-minute “Peace is…” video.
Want to know why our times feel so perilous? It’s called a failure of imagination.
As some of you know, I’ve been writing “The Chronicles of the Upheavals”, a work of speculative fiction, for the past couple of years. (Almost finished!) (Editor’s note: Shariff’s book has since been published. You can order it here.) As my first (and perhaps only) foray into the world of fiction-writing, I’ve been asked about where my writing fits into the world of science fiction/ speculative fiction.
For quite awhile, I’ve been saying that 80-90% of science fiction is “dystopian” – writings about dysfunctional, failed and/or toxic human societies. I pulled that number off the top of my head, assuming (quite wrongly, it turns out) that there must be some writers that are promoting positive, inclusive, healthy, desirable societies.
Cassandra: The core of IONS’ work is to bring together modern science with ancient wisdom traditions. You mentioned our upcoming conference, “The Science of What Connects Us,” which is our 17th conference. In almost every session, we're pairing one of our scientists who's doing empirical research on these topics with somebody who's a wisdom-keeper or an on-the-ground practitioner.
For example, we’re pairing someone who studies biofields and the energy body using traditional science with an energy healer. We've got Dean Radin who's studying whether there’s real science behind things that over millennia we've called magic, and he's paired with somebody who is actually a magician and has studied that aspect of it. It's a cool pairing, but in general, that's the DNA of IONS — to bring together science and spiritual wisdom and know that they're not incompatible, that they are in fact complementary and can inform and influence each other.
Seane Corn speaking at the International Day of Yoga
More than 1,000 people participated in the International Day of Yoga at the United Nations in New York City on June 20-21, celebrating the ancient tradition of Yoga brought to the West from India.
This historic gathering was led by one of India’s most revered and beloved Spiritual Leaders, His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswati, President of Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), Co-Founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), along with Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Director of the International Yoga Festival at Parmarth Niketan, and Secretary General of GIWA. Both luminaries, known for their altruism and global interfaith endeavors, have curated some of today’s leading yoga talent to join them in illuminating the myriad gifts yoga brings to the world.
I first encountered the Summer of Peace in 2012. What follows is a humble sharing of what we have been able to do here in the small town of Westerly along with some ideas and suggestions that others might find helpful as we all work to create a lasting culture of peace.
During the past five years my involvement with the Summer of Peace movement has varied in its intensity. It has been a process of learning as the years went by. Three key issues I have struggled with are identifying my audience, deciding what it is that I want to accomplish, and then how to best do this.
The summer of 1969 afforded me with opportunities for experiences that formed a foundation for my emerging worldview: the moonwalk, with the photos sent back, gave me a vivid sense of the Earth as one planet with no boundaries between us; sailing on the maiden voyage of the Clearwater with Pete Seeger gave me a strong sense of social and environmental justice; and attending Woodstock gave me a taste of humanity as one family.
Then, in early 1970, I met Joseph Campbell at one of his Cooper Union talks. A few weeks later, I found myself sitting with him in his Greenwich Village home, under the guidance and mentorship of a most uniquely worthy teacher.
How do we bring the inner peace we find in meditation into the wider world? What actions can we take that make a difference? Join Philip M. Hellmich, Director of Peace at the Shift Network, and regular guest host Dr. Laurel Trujillo as they discuss the balance between cultivating our inner life and activating a path of service in the world. Tune in and be inspired to act for peace in your everyday life.
Is science purely rational? How does it relate to spirituality? What role does intuition play in the scientific process? Questions like these will be addressed at the Institute of Noetic Sciences conference,“The Science of What Connects Us,” held on July 20-23 in Oakland. Speakers include IONS Chief Scientist Dean Radin, famed author and parapsychologist Rupert Sheldrake, journalist and author Lynne McTaggart and NASA Astronaut Yvonne Cagle. Watch a two-minute video preview by clicking here.
New Book:The Story of Our Time: From Duality to Interconnectedness to Oneness, an interspiritual narrative of humanity’s conscious evolution tracing love as the underlying force of evolution to its presence in our midst today. The book, framed by seven unifying principles, inspires hope and offers guidance in this dark night of the collective soul. Author Robert Atkinson is professor emeritus at the University of Southern Maine and director of Story Commons. To discover 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.
World Peace Library. Designed for the layperson and professional peacebuilder alike, the World Peace Library has over 425 audio and video interviews with some of the most remarkable, inspiring peacebuilders in the world available to you at NO COST. You’ll find hundreds of hours of inspirational, peacebuilding, compassion-spreading talks and trainings at your fingertips with this FREE global resource. There’s no way you can’t come away from the World Peace Library deeply inspired, transformed — and part of the solution. Click here to find out how to take peace to the next level — and help co-create a global culture of peace that leaves a legacy of good for our children, our children’s children and all of humanity and life on earth.
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Reflect on what individual(s) and/or organization(s) in your community are doing work that inspires you. Call and thank them for what they are doing/being and, if appropriate, give a donation of time and/or money.
The Shift Network is proud to be a member of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, the institutional home for the peacebuilding community — a network of over 100 organizations working to resolve conflict and create sustainable peace in 153 countries. We strongly encourage anyone interested in peacebuilding to consider becoming a member and/or making a donation. To discover more, click here.
Summer of Peace Westerly is an offshoot of the International Summer of Peace. Its goal is to provide the people of the greater Westerly-Pawcatuck, Rhode Island area and neighboring towns with some ideas and tools that they can use in their daily lives to help create a culture of peace. To discover more, click here.
Interdependence Day was organized by these community organizations: Compassionate Capitol Region, Women for Equality, Sacramento Interfaith Council, Unity Church of Sacramento, Sacramento IONS and The United Nations Association Sacramento Chapter in partnership with The Shift Network. To discover more, click here.
Multi-Grammy Award® winning artist India.Arie recently released her inspiring new album, “SongVersation: Medicine,” which offers a soulful extension of her acclaimed 2013 “SongVersation” album. According to India.Arie , “‘SongVersation: Medicine’ was originally written for a friend that was experiencing a dark night of the Soul. It’s now intended for all to use for their personal healing and transformation.”
India’s new album is what she defines as “meaningful music.” In her personal dedication she encourages listeners to utilize her new album in times of reflection, prayer, meditation and even yoga. She shares, “It’s my wish that these songs bring softness, clarity, calm, during these tumultuous times we are living in.”
On “SongVersation: Medicine,” India.Arie has re-recorded three of her beloved songs: I Am Light, Soulbird Rise and Breathe, the last of which is a powerful-life affirming song and video initiative dedicated to Eric Garner (an African-American man who died in an unjustified chokehold at the hands of the NYPD) and in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives. “SongVersation: Medicine” also features five new songs (all written and performed by India).