[Catalyst 20 – October 1, 2017] Overcoming Adversity

By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network

First, I want to share how excited we are by the seeds of collaboration planted by last week’s California Vision 2020 conference in Sacramento!

Multiple initiatives with world-changing potential are emerging that unify the best of our transformational work with grassroots social change and transpartisan political solutions. Many presenters commented that it was one of the best events they’ve been to.

We’ve decided to turn all the amazing videos into a new Summit for you in December and will share more details soon!

This week’s Catalyst focuses on Overcoming Adversity. By definition, the circle of life demands that we experience the full range of what this life has to offer... and adversity is an integral part of the natural order of things. No one escapes its bittersweet embrace.

Facing adversity with clear eyes and an open heart often leads to the creation of new skills, new ideas, and new movements for positive change (we witnessed many such initiatives at California Vision 2020).

For those who are coasting through life and not developing and making full use of their unique gifts, a hardship may be the only way for the universe to get their attention.

Most spiritual seekers will acknowledge that adversity is the catalyst that prompted them to search for deeper meaning and purpose. Chances are that your own inner journey didn’t begin in earnest until a crisis turned your world inside out and upside down.

When we come to realize that adversity can be a great teacher, we can shift from being reactive and learning through pain to being proactive and learning through joy.

In fact, as awareness grows, we realize that adversity may be a signal that our current path is leading us in a direction away from our highest good.

The moment you understand why you repeatedly find yourself in the same types of dysfunctional relationships, unfulfilling jobs, or needless conflicts, you can choose to break the pattern, start living more consciously, and free yourself up for healthier experiences.

In this edition of The Catalyst, you’ll find brilliant talks on being an outcast, on the dynamics of infidelity, and on the pain of betrayal.

You’ll also find featured articles by author Ilona Selke on dreaming big; author and Shift faculty Mark Matousek on the futility of being a Dharma Bum; author and Shift faculty Mirabai Starr on the dangers of “othering”; and spiritual catalyst Kenji Kumara on alternatives to pushing the panic button.

Our profile features Dirk Bak’s intimate account of his seventeen months from hell. (Thankfully, he lived through it.) And our featured artist is Danish bassist and composer Jens Kristian Andersen.

Last but not least, we would love to hear your answer to the question, “What lessons did you learn from your greatest hardships?” To share your thoughts in our Facebook Page community, click here.

Betrayal: One of the Most Difficult Forms of Adversity to Overcome
Audio Interview with Andrew Harvey by Phil Bolsta

In this candid 12-minute audio interview, beloved Shift faculty Andrew Harvey shares his thoughts on the subject of betrayal — and explains how the most painful period of his life shaped him in ways he never could have imagined.

Click here to listen to the interview and to read the transcript.

How the Worst Moments in Our Lives Make Us Who We Are
TED Talk by Andrew Solomon

In a moving, heartfelt and at times downright funny presentation, Solomon gives a powerful call to action to forge meaning from our biggest struggles. This brilliant and eloquent talk may just bring you to your knees to thank God for all the difficult experiences you lived through.

Click here to watch the video.

Rethinking Infidelity… a Talk for Anyone Who Has Ever Loved
TED Talk by Esther Perel

Infidelity is the ultimate betrayal. But does it have to be? Relationship therapist Esther Perel examines why people cheat, and unpacks why affairs are so traumatic: because they threaten our emotional security. In infidelity, she sees something unexpected — an expression of longing and loss. Start watching this powerful video and you’ll understand why it’s racked up over 4 million views.

Click here to watch the video.

As a bonus, click here to read Esther’s brilliant article, “Why Happy People Cheat” (excerpted from her upcoming book) in the current issue of The Atlantic.

Facing Challenges with Courage and Character
Book excerpt from Through God’s Eyes By Phil Bolsta

You would be an unfinished version of yourself —a block of marble untouched by the sculptor’s hand — had you lived a life free of hardship and struggle.

If we banish the dragons, we banish the heroes.

Andrew Solomon

Greeting every challenge as a character-building exercise deepens your wisdom, sets the stage for inner victories, and summons the hero that lies within.

If God asks that you bend, bend and do not complain.
He is making you more flexible, and for this be thankful.

Meriel Stelliger

To read more, click here.

Email Phil at godseyes@me.com to request for free the entire chapter, “Welcoming Adversity.”

Your Voice

We want to know: What lessons did you learn from your greatest hardships? To share your thoughts in our Facebook Page community, click here.

Dream Big: Creating a Better Life for Yourself and the Planet
By Ilona Selke

Shall I or shall I not? I had just received an email where I had to make a fundamental choice: Stick to my ethics or go for publicity.

I had been asked to participate in a dolphin summit because years ago I had written a bestselling book on dolphins called, Wisdom of the Dolphins. I had been speaking at a number of conferences about dolphins, telepathy, their power to heal, and the healing effects dolphins have had on handicapped children. All of my research had been with dolphins in the wild.

Click here to read more.

The End of Seeking (Or Dig In One Place)
By Mark Matousek

In the bathroom one morning, as I was brushing my teeth, a numinous presence announced itself behind me. Not an actual ghost exactly, more a mounting apparition of dread, a condensation of feelings so thick it appeared to envelop me as I stood there holding my toothbrush. The ghost invited me to have a figurative seat. I paused and listened. The tone of its voice was more poignant than scary. The ghost told me it was a distillation of all my greatest fears. It was the combined essence of all that I dreaded, the dark thing I'd been running away from. This ghost simply wanted me to listen.

Click here to read more.

By Mirabai Starr

As a Native New York Jew who grew up in the counter-culture of New Mexico and spent my 20s in northern California, the American South is as foreign to me as Mongolia. Maybe more. And so visiting the Bible Belt is a perfect opportunity for me to walk my talk and reject the impulse to “otherize.”

Otherizing is a word I thought I made up, but then I found it in the Urban Dictionary online. Also my friend Elizabeth Lesser uses it in a TED talk. So I’m in good company. Thou shalt not otherize is one of the pillars of the Judeo-Christian traditions. It did not make it onto the stone tablets, but (IMHO) it should have.

Click here to read more.

Your Panic Button
By Kenji Kumara

Is your “panic button” being triggered this past year? Is the planet’s panic button being set off? Is humanity’s panic button being activated on a collective level?

If you watch or read the news, you would have to say yes; everyone is being pushed to their limits, is being set off, is being triggered, is going off for no apparent reason... or for very apparent reasons.

Click here to read more.

My Seventeen Months From Hell
By Dirk Bak

My seventeen months from hell started on a beautiful May day in 2008. As former chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in Minnesota, I was at a high-powered lunch with the editor-in-chief of The Economist, the former chairman of Cargill, a few other business bigwigs and my dad, who had once been a top executive at Medtronic.

I was twenty-nine and feeling pretty good about myself. When Romney was in town, which was often, I accompanied him on meet-and-greets with local executives. I was president of the building maintenance company my mom had founded and a freshly minted law school graduate. My wife, Evonne, and I had a five-year-old son, Jaxon, and a two-year-old daughter, Liv, and she was pregnant again. If it sounds like I had a lot going on, yeah, I was running. Hard. I’d get four hours of sleep a night and hop back on the treadmill.

Lunch had barely started when my phone rang. I kicked it to voicemail. It rang a second time, then a third. I was a bit agitated. I excused myself from the table, checked the phone, and saw Evonne’s number. Now I was really agitated; I had asked her not to call during important meetings. I called back and said, “What is going on?” She said, “I’m in labor and we just lost the baby.” I was stunned. I felt helpless because there was nothing I could say or do to comfort her.

Click here to read more.

“Being Fearless” — a 3-day, live stream, on demand event (October 13–15)

Race. Climate. Politics. We live in a time of disruption. We can't wait for someone else to solve the collective challenges we face. Join the Omega Institute for a 3-day, live-streaming and on-demand conference featuring Van Jones, Amy Goodman, Bill Moyers, Opal Tometi, and other courageous voices. For as little as $5, gain insight and tools to navigate these complex times.

Click here to access the event’s crowdfunding page for more information. With a $5 donation or more, access the full program, help open the event to thousands, and gain insight and tools to navigate these complex times.


Have you ever wanted to know exactly how to manifest your purpose, your soulmate, and a better life for yourself and even the planet? Or, do you need some inspiration to stay motivated and keep the faith in these times?

You are warmly invited to the DREAM BIG online summit. Come and listen to 30+ speakers presenting deep insights into how magical this universe is, and what you can do to help bring about a greater life for yourself and the planet.

Click here for more information.

The Sattva Summit
November 7–13 at the Sattva Retreat in Rishikesh, India

The Sattva Summit is a boutique conscious gathering, offering the opportunity for yogis from across the globe to gather as a community for a week of deep healing, expansion and reasonless joy at The Sattva Retreat, a luxurious sanctuary nestled in the foothills of the Himalayans. We will gather as a community to deepen in our silence through daily group meditation and rituals, harmonize with the body in our yoga practice with globally renowned teachers, connect to ancient yogic wisdom and the evolutionary teachings of consciousness, and nourish our bodies with healing foods from leading Ayurvedic chefs of India, while enjoying live music, chanting and dancing. We will also have the opportunity to discover the beauty that Rishikesh has to offer, including hikes to Himalayan villages, temple tours, ganga dips, cave meditations, rafting, ayurvedic spa treatments, cooking classes, and much more! Click here to watch a short video invitation to the Sattva Summit.

Costa Rica Retreat with Karuna from Light On Kundalini
December 2–9
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.

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.

If you would like to submit something to The Catalyst, please see the submission guidelines: click here.

2017 Catalyst:
(#20, 10/1) (#19, 9/17) (#18, 9/3) (#17, 8/20) (#16, 8/6) (#15, 7/23) (#14, 7/9) (#13, 6/25) (#12, 6/11) (#11, 5/28) (#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)


2017 Issue 20 • Oct 1

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!

Reach out to someone you know who is struggling. Don’t offer advice; just be fully present and listen with your whole heart. Your genuine gesture of support will let them know that they are cared for and they are not alone. Even a brief conversation can mean the world to someone who’s going through a difficult time.

6 Steps to Finally, Truly Loving Yourself: How to Access the Love You Never Received & Live in Profound Joy — A Free Virtual Event Featuring Renowned Psychologist and Co-Founder of Inner Bonding Margaret Paul. Discover proven tools and practices for receiving deep, unconditional love… from within. Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 5:30pm Pacific

How Medicinal Plants Can Protect & Enhance Your Mind: Discovering the Power of Herbs for Neuroprotection, Mental Clarity, Increased Memory & Spiritual Awakening — A Free Online Event With Plant Medicine Pioneer David Crow, LAc. Discover how to better care for your entire being through the use of natural remedies that protect and enhance your mind. Saturday, October 7, 2017 at 10:00am Pacific

Discover the 4 Foundations of Intuitive Healing: How to Clear Energy Blocks & Turn Your Sensitivity Into a Healing Gift — A Free Virtual Event With Author, Trainer and Intuitive Healer Wendy De Rosa. Manifest your intuitive gifts by turning your empathetic nature into a powerful pathway for receiving information. Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 5:30pm Pacific

Freeing Your Energy Body From Early Family Conditioning: Using the Five Character Types to Liberate Your Authentic Self — A Free Virtual Event With the #1 Bestselling Author & Expert on the Chakra System Dr. Anodea Judith, PhD. Discover how to transform your past hurts, limiting beliefs and habits from childhood and experience the freedom and inner peace that until now has been beyond your reach. Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 10:00am Pacific

Psyche & Cosmos: Using Archetypal Astrology as a Telescope Into Your Depths— With Transpersonal Psychologist Stanislav Grof, MD and Philosopher Richard Tarnas, PhD. Access the wisdom of archetypal astrology to deepen your self-understanding and saturate your life with greater beauty, meaning and purpose. New 8-week Video Training Starts Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Your Accelerated Evolution: Dissolving Your Blocks to Spiritual Fulfillment, Loving Relationships & Financial Flow — With Leading Spiritual Teacher, Coach & Martial Artist Satyen Raja. Radically liberate your authentic self and experience awakened consciousness through accelerated evolution practices. New 7-week Live Video Training Starts Thursday, October 5, 2017

Reclaiming Your 6 Body Wisdom Areas: Healing From Trauma, Releasing Blocks & Liberating Your Full-Spectrum Intuition — With Leading Conscious Awareness Instructor Suzanne Scurlock-Durana, CMT, CST-D. Discover how to activate your body’s capacity for dissolving blocks and traumas so you thrive on every level — physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. New 7-week Live Video Training Starts Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Your Infinite Mind: Access Your Parallel Selves for Healing, Rapid Learning & Unlocking Your Creative Genius — With World-renowned Meditation Master, Spiritual Coach & Mind Power Expert Burt Goldman. Unlock your ability to access your “parallel” selves for healing, quantum creativity and deeper intimacy. New 7-week Video Training Starts Thursday, October 12, 2017

More Upcoming Events: (all subject to change)

• Gardening & Homesteading Skills Summit
• Wendy de Rosa 7-week course
• Robert Moss 13-week course
• Anodea Judith 7-week course

• Margaret Paul 7-week course
• David Crow 4-month program
• Holly Tse 7-week course
• Andrew Harvey & Caroline Myss 7-week course
• Arjun Das 7-week course

• Andrew Holecek 7-week course
• don Oscar Miro-Quesada 13-week course
• Linda Backman 7-week course

Work a Day for World Peace

On Friday, October 20, please join others to contribute one day’s wage to the International Temples Project (ITP) an International fund dedicated to public benefit.

The International Temples Project was founded by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso with the aim to introduce the Buddhist faith and practice of the New Kadampa Tradition publicly, and to show how individuals and society benefit through the practice of Buddhism in modern day life.

Constantly adapting to meet the needs of modern society, the International Temples Project presently achieves its aim through creating traditional and nontraditional temples, meditation and retreat centres, and through the activities of World Peace cafés and Tharpa Publications.

Click here for more information.

W.A.T.E.R. (We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review)

Help us defend against Crystal Geyser Water Company’s unlimited and unregulated water extraction in Mt. Shasta. We are fighting back to get the EIR (Environmental Impact Report) and protect our watershed. Please help us raise money for our struggle to protect our precious natural environment. W.A.T.E.R. is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and donations are tax deductible.

Click here for more information and to donate.


Polarization is destroying us. Let's fix this. The way we get news and information, and how we discuss it, affects our world.

News, social media and even search results have dramatically changed in the last several years, becoming so narrowly filtered, biased and personalized that we are becoming less informed and less tolerant of different people and ideas.

Unlike regular news services, AllSides exposes bias and provides multiple angles on the same story so you can quickly get the full picture, not just one slant.

Click here for more information.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The co-founders of AllSides, John Gable and Joan Blades, were presenters at California Vision 2020. They are from different political backgrounds, working together to help the U.S. overcome the adversity of polarization.

Jens Kristian Andersen
Album: “From the Nocturnal Chironian”

Danish bassist and composer Jens Kristian Andersen’s “From the Nocturnal Chironian” — a musical tribute to Chiron, the Centaur Chief — is a synthesis of American jazz and European classical music, and the interpenetration of astrology, Greek mythology and Jungian archetypal psychology. This decidedly original album features trumpet, bass clarinet, and cello.

An All About Jazz review notes that “a couple of his pieces, notably ‘The Wounded Healer’ and ‘The Mediator,’ reference classic bebop and post-bop tunes in various subtle and crafty ways. ‘Chariklo’ is a gorgeous yet rather simple tune that uses a repetitive, lilting melodic motif as a jumping-off point. Tough, no-holds-barred swing is the prime directive on ‘Puerperal Psychosis.’”

Click here to watch a video album preview. Click here to listen to the album.

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

Agape International Spiritual Center

Gaiafield Project

Click here to apply for inclusion above.