By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
My beloved wife, Devaa Haley Mitchell, and I love December, especially this year with our new dear daughter with us. We enjoy the seasonal spirit and celebration of holidays with family and friends.
December offers a particularly good time to reflect on the past year — what inspired us, what progress did we make on goals, what new resolutions do we want to make for the New Year? One of our biggest shared dreams has come true: having a child. Now we are looking at what is next for us as a family.
As the founders of The Shift Network, we also are delighted to see the positive role that the company and its expanded community are playing in the world. It makes us proud to offer so many inspiring programs that point to new ways of being as an alternative to all the challenges we witness in the news.
You are an important part of The Shift Network family and we appreciate you taking part in this ambitious dream. Please know how much we value you and take to heart that we are walking this path together, each of us evolving our inner lives so we can take action in grounded, practical, and effective ways to create a better world that works for all, starting with the people closest to us.
Click here to watch a 5-minute video that’s a tangible expression of our deep commitment to supporting this shift in consciousness.
In this “Best of 2017” issue of The Shift Catalyst, we selected a number of Featured Media, Featured Articles, and Member Profiles to share with you once more, ones that our team finds inspiring and thought- and feeling-provoking.
We hope you enjoy this edition as we look back on 2017. We also added new Movement News items, including an announcement about the upcoming International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh, India.
Finally, we would love to hear your answer to the question, What changes did you make in 2017 that most improved your life and the lives of others? To share your thoughts in our Facebook Page community, click here.
In this exclusive 64-minute video interview for Catalyst, celebrated author, speaker, and workshop presenter Caroline Myss tackles challenging questions about why we pray, the effects of prayer, and who hears our prayers.
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.
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. 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.
In this exclusive 52-minute video interview for Catalyst, Larry Dossey, MD explores the very nature of consciousness and shares insights from his book, One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters.
In this compelling 66-minute interview from last July’s Summer of Peace, interviewer Emily Hine and Nadirah discuss what we as a collective human family need to face, feel and heal in the wake of recent killings of black and brown men by police officers, and the biased treatment that still affects so many people of color decades after the Civil Rights Movement. They offer compassionate actions that people of any color can take.
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.
In 1981, it was a proud moment for me, as a representative of Bangladesh, which became a full member of the United Nations only seven years before, to witness the declaration of the International Day of Peace (IDP) by the UN General Assembly. This declaration demonstrated that the UN was devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.
I am in the third “trimester” of my life. I can honestly say that I am more comfortable in my skin then I have ever been. I feel on purpose, in tune, and aligned with my destiny. I would love to tell you that it was a straight route to this point. However, there have been many twists and turns. There were times when I questioned my sanity and my choices but, miraculously, I was always guided and supported.
Could it really be possible that this is a time when many people are waking up together? The harshness of the political landscape, the horrific nature of indiscriminate terror attacks, war, the scale of refugee and migrant flows, the density of materialism, famine, the overwhelming jeopardy of ecological catastrophe and many more threats to health and wellbeing — all these would suggest that humanity is heading in the wrong direction. A heavy cloud of moral darkness threatens to obscure our collective evolutionary promise.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a revival of interest in natural foods, organic gardening and alternative health care helped usher in a renewed enthusiasm for herbal medicine. This interest has grown exponentially over the last 40 years and the herb/nutritional supplements industry has boomed. In some ways this is good; I no longer get calls asking “What is this herb, Ek-in-ec-ee-a” (meaning Echincaea). But in other ways we still have far to go.
The Early Days: As our car pulled into the driveway, my dad checked the mailbox. “Did it come? Did it come?” I gasped excitedly. The year was 1986, and I had been waiting in breathless anticipation for the past two days. I knew that the results of my black belt test had been mailed and my heart plummeted into my stomach every time I thought about it. My dad handed me the thick envelope – filled with handwritten evaluations of the five senior black belts who had assessed my test. Each would have written “pass” or “fail” at the bottom of his detailed analysis of every mistake I’d made in my katas and sparring. At fifteen years old, I was one of the youngest girls, and certainly of the non-Asian girls, to ever test for black belt in Los Angeles. As I forced myself to keep breathing, I gingerly opened the envelope and reviewed the results. One by one they said “pass.”
Do you find your mind whirling a lot lately? Are you feeling hurried or tired? Many people are just like you. According to the teachings of Wisdom Healing Qigong, this means it is simply time to come back home in body, mind and heart.
“In Wisdom Healing Qigong I discovered the ability to awaken joy, healing and vitality within, through connecting with the energy that flows through all life,” Master Mingtong Gu says. “As my teacher, Grandmaster and Dr. Pang, the founder of Wisdom Healing Qigong, taught us, more practice can yield deeper results.”
I sit knees to chin in the preschool chair in my darkened church basement-turned-bistro at a community gathering of music and storytelling. In my role as church lady, I replenish the dessert table when the selections become low. One beautiful cake is ominously labeled ‘Seriously Bittersweet Chocolate Torte” Emphasis clearly placed on the underlined word ‘bitter.’ Fair warning.
I admit, I am tempted. I have been trying to lose a few pounds, but I have a serious addiction to bittersweet chocolate! I smile as I notice the inner argument I am having with my willpower is not unlike my struggle years before to quit my addiction to some seriously bittersweet love, emphasis on bitter. The kind of drama-filled, roller-coaster, anything-tamer-than-a-dish-throwing-argument-is-boring kind of love.
As this weird world grows weirder, I find myself turning more and more to the Divine Feminine for a clue about how to navigate the emerging landscape. Few of the familiar signposts feel reliable, and the spaces where I once took refuge — some semblance of sane leadership in my government, for instance, and a kind of baseline respect for the voice of the feminine in society — have vanished.
One of the best things about being a writer and editor for The Shift Network is getting asked: Tell us the story of your awakening.
Well, here goes…
When I was 33 years old, I became a divorced, single mother of two, ages three and six. It was a tough road. There’s nothing like single parenting to sober you up to how hard your reality can become — and how fast.
For the past 28 years, Michael Singer has been one of the most influential people in my life for spiritual and personal growth.
I met Michael, or “Mickey” as he prefers to be called, in rural Florida where he was quietly teaching at his center, The Temple of the Universe.
It was 1989 and I had just returned from the Peace Corps. I had been living for four years in small villages in the bush of Sierra Leone, West Africa. While in Africa, I had lived with subsistence farmers, people who were living on less than a dollar a day. My African friends opened me to a way of living that was profoundly simple and yet filled with a peace from being connected with community, nature, and a deep sense of spirituality.
I’m an adventure seeker. I’ve gone bungee jumping in New Zealand, skydiving in Switzerland, parasailing in Mexico, and sailing in Croatia and Thailand. There’s not a lot I’d say no to. Oh, and when I first met my husband, I was dressed as a hamster.
On the outside, I look like your average Midwestern female: five foot four, blonde bob, athletic build. But on the inside, I have a life-threatening disease called cystic fibrosis.
I was diagnosed with CF at two months old. Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes my body to produce thick and sticky mucus that blocks my airways and pancreas. There is no cure. When I was born, the life expectancy for someone with CF was eighteen. Today, a CF patient’s average life expectancy is thirty-seven. I’m now thirty-seven.
Heidi and Brad Stokes are alive and well, and that in itself is a miracle given all they’ve been through. Here, in Heidi’s own words, interspersed with actual journal entries from their CaringBridge journal, is their epic journey from death’s door back to health and happiness.
When I was seventeen, I was diagnosed with lupus and told I wouldn’t make it past twenty-one. At twenty-six, my husband, Brad, was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a fatal and untreatable liver disease. Doctors said there was no hope for either of us.
Brad and I are now fifty-two years old, with a son, Christian, who has an auto-immune disease of his own, type 1 diabetes. People often can’t get past the illnesses to see how rich and beautiful our lives are. Not long ago, when we were all very sick and lying around in our PJs, Brad mentioned how comforting and wonderful it was just to be home with each other. Our bodies are completely dysfunctional but our family isn’t.
The three of us have defied death more times than I care to remember, but we’re still here, loving life and each other. There’s just something about staring into the maw of death that makes you appreciate the miracle of life. And when it comes to our health, we don’t just believe in miracles, we depend on them.
As founder of the nonprofit organization Liberation Prison Yoga, I enter jails and prisons to offer yoga and meditation programs to incarcerated populations, and to guide and train our teachers.
As a survivor of child sex trafficking within a pedophile network, I can relate to the trauma of imprisonment. After spending 30 years focused on healing from my extreme childhood trauma, I was able to recognize wherever people were on their journey back to themselves.
Join us for the world famous annual International Yoga Festival in 2018 — uniting yogis of every culture, color, and creed together in a one-world yogic family, expanding global consciousness and bringing healing to the planet, one person at a time!
In this 7-day immersion and celebration, you have the opportunity to embrace every major style of yoga and learn from enlightened Spiritual Leaders, Master Yoga Teachers, Evolutionary Thought Leaders, and Wellness Specialists from around the world.
Awaken to the best version of yourself and ignite your inner light through this not-to-be-missed event at Parmarth Niketan Ashram, the largest ashram in Rishikesh and one of the largest interfaith yoga institutions in India.
Click here to visit the International Yoga Festival website.
The second annual Peace Leadership Conference will be held February 22-25 in Rishkesh, India, prior to the March 1 start of the International Yoga Festival. Philip Hellmich, Director of Peace with The Shift Network, is a featured speaker.
The Peace Leadership Conference is designed to bring together global peace practitioners, academicians, educators, and others in the broad area of peace leadership; to experience fellowship, collaboration, and connection as we examine the nexus of peace and leadership. The agenda will start with a focus on Peace Leadership From The Inside and then flow into Peace Leadership From The Outside. Click here for more information.
The 8th annual Interfaith Celebration of Light
Honoring the Light That All Our Spiritual-Religious Traditions Uphold
Theme: Honoring the Female Principle in the (Male-Female) Dance of Life
Featuring an Interfaith candle lighting service and presentations
Saturday, December 16, from 5:30pm to 9:30pm
Iman Cultural Center, 3376 Motor Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034
During the 7 Days of Rest, from January 1 to January 7, individuals and communities around the world will create a unified field of intention and action, dedicating 2018 and beyond to the healing of Mother Earth and all Her Children. For 7 Days we join forces across the world to:
~ connect in stillness, compassion and peaceful action
~ remove stress, noise and toxins
~ commit together to planetary healing
~ set the intention and foundations for co-creating a thriving world for all
We invite you to join and co-create the event so that from a space of restful awareness we can support the emerging global culture of peace, health, cooperation, wise governance, and reverence for all Life. Click here for more information.
I wrote Retreat Recipes for Yoga Lovers: Vegetarian, Vegan + Raw Recipes from Around the World while catering yoga retreats for Shiva Rea, a globally respected Prana Vinyasa teacher. It’s 144 pages of Amazingness! This ebook is for everyone, not just yoga retreats! Learn from my 16 years of experience as an award-winning chef! Click here to order your copy.
For several years, The Shift Network has hosted Indigenous leaders from around the world and invited them to share their sacred knowledge, rituals, and practices to guide us in a way of living that is sustainable, healthy, and just. We’re thus delighted that the Global Indigenous Wisdom Library makes this “virtual council” of leaders and their wisdom available for everyone, everywhere… for free. 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 want to give a heartfelt thanks to Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. (“Brother Phil”) for his partnership in helping create this Indigenous Wisdom collection. And we thank all the speakers who have contributed to this body of knowledge. To discover more, 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.
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.
This groundbreaking short documentary film will take you into the world of inner freedom and peace. We access that realm through rediscovering our connection to the spiritual dimension of the Earth, the spirit, and the world of the ancestors. Only a small number of indigenous tribes and rare individuals around the planet have retained their connection to this essential dimension.
The Avenya team has spent two years researching the effects of reawakening the human connection to the spiritual dimension of the Earth, and to the world of the ancestors. We have discovered that experiencing this world within us has a tremendous impact on our inner peace, health, sense of belonging, freedom, and fulfillment. It supports the development of the soul, and the contribution we are able to make in our communities as a result.
We very much look forward to sharing our important discoveries and tools with people around the world through this short documentary film. We feel this is the most important work that we can be engaged in at this moment in humanity’s development.
Click here for more information and to make a donation.
Give an Hour’s mission is to develop national networks of volunteers capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society. By harnessing the skill and expertise of volunteer professionals, we are able to increase the likelihood that those in need receive the support and care they deserve. Since 2005 we have focused on providing free mental health care to active duty, National Guard and Reserve service members, veterans, and their families. In 2016, we began expanding our efforts to address the mental health needs of other populations. Click here for more information and to watch a two-minute introductory video. Click here to make a donation.
A seventy-something-year-old semi-invalid, Beth Green has become Granny Rocks. While she continues her healing, teaching, workshops, and spiritual activist focus, she is devoting more of her time and energy to the new kind of music that is flowing through her, the music of Granny Rocks. This music cannot be defined in any genre. It combines pop, jazz, rock, classical, and other elements and each song is different.
Beth was the February 2015 Winner of The Akademia Music Awards for Best Music Video – Instrumental/Classical. They wrote: “As a beautiful three-part classical instrumental piece matched with stunning original art, Beth Green has created a truly imaginative masterpiece.” Click here to listen to The Mystery Trilogy.
Click here for more information about Beth, her workshops, counseling, videos, and ongoing other activities. Click here for Beth’s Facebook page, where a fantastic community of people committed to healing, helping, and the Inner Revolution wait to welcome you.
Granny Rocks keeps overcoming incredible obstacles, because she has a song to sing. No wonder the hummingbird rising is her symbol. The hummingbird defies gravity and so does Granny Rocks! In fact, not only does Granny rock. She rocks on!