All of us at The Shift Network want to congratulate Search for Common Ground for being nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize by the American Friends Service Committee. Click here for all the exciting details.
Search for Common Ground has been doing groundbreaking work for over 45 years in helping people in highly polarized conflicts find common ground.
The Shift Network is proud to be a longtime supporter of Search for Common Ground. Their expertise in transforming conflict — away from adversarial approaches and toward collaborative solutions — is greatly needed in the world.
I had the distinct pleasure of working at Search for Common Ground for 14 years before joining The Shift Network. It was incredible to be part of an organization that facilitated people from both sides of a conflict working together with love and mutual respect — Hutu and Tutsi, Israeli and Palestinian, Iranian and American, Democrat and Republican...
In Burundi, for example, Search for Common Ground employed a survivor who had lost 79 members of her family to ethnic violence yet was working side by side with members of the oppositional ethnic group to co-produce a peacebuilding radio program. In Sierra Leone, where I lived for four years as a Peace Corps Volunteer before its deadly civil war, “Search” empowered former child soldiers and sex slaves to produce radio programs that inspired other child soldiers to lay down their weapons.
These peacebuilding radio programs, which reached nearly 90 percent of the populations in Burundi and Sierra Leone, produced measurable change in attitudes. It was beyond a dream come true to be on the Search for Common Ground team and to help people whom I loved in Sierra Leone.
It’s what I learned at Search that gives me unshakable faith in the human capacity to express compassion, tolerance, and love, no matter how challenging the circumstances.
The lessons I learned at Search for Common Ground greatly inspired our peace work at The Shift Network. Two such insights came from my mentor, Susan Collin Marks, Search’s former Senior Vice President and a seasoned peacebuilder from South Africa.
Susan, who had been involved in numerous high-level peacebuilding processes, often said, “Conflict is natural. It is how we deal with conflict that determines if it is destructive or an engine of growth and transformation.” She also said, “Peace is a long-term process.”
These two principles — conflict is natural and peace is a long-term process — have helped us design programs such as Summer of Peace, World Peace Library and Peace Ambassador Training that seek to inspire, inform, and involve the Shift Network community in developing practical skills so that you too can be an effective advocate for peace in your family, your community, and our world.
In this edition of Catalyst, you’ll find an abundance of profound and inspiring articles about creating a peaceful world that works for all.
Finally, we’d love to hear your answer to the question, What helps you find common ground with people who are different from you? To share your thoughts in our Facebook Page community, click here.
Only spiritual consciousness — realization of God’s presence in oneself and in every other living being — can save the world. I see no chance for peace without it. Begin with yourself. There is no time to waste. It is your duty to do your part to bring God’s kingdom on earth. — Paramahansa Yogananda
This exclusive 45-minute video interview for Catalyst features the wisdom of clinical psychologist Dr. Edith Eva Eger, author of The Choice, a powerful and beautiful memoir about her experiences during the Holocaust, and how her own traumatic experiences enabled her to help her clients heal from trauma of their own.
I was interviewed by Larry King, and he mentioned that most people were very unkind, and I told him that in April 1945, we were slave laborers. They took us from one place to another, and we were in a German village in a kind of a community hall, and we were told if we dared to leave the premises, we're going to be shot right away, but my sister Magda told me, if I don't get some food, she'll die.
So I didn't pay any attention to the, you know, what I am going to perhaps pay for this. I went outside, and I saw some carrots in the next garden, and I still, being a gymnast, I jumped like a cat, and I put the carrots wherever I could. I climbed up that wall, and there was a guard with a gun, and I never heard a gun in my life, but I heard the clicking, and I began to pray for him, so he won't shoot me. I heard the clicking about three times; he picked it up, put it down, and then he turned the gun around and pushed me inside. I had the carrots.
So the following morning, he comes in: "Who dared to break the rules?" And I got so scared, I crawled to him. This is April 1945, when the German people are starving too, and he gave me a little loaf of bread, and said, "You must have been hungry to do what you did."
In this TEDx Talk, Reverend Deborah Johnson shaes that when she watched an innocent man walk after serving 26 years in prison, she was outraged. But his immediate forgiveness for those who wronged him — no, better yet — his hysterical laughter upon her surprise that he held no anger, sparked her journey to the center of forgiveness. Watch her beautiful story unfold into spoken poetry as she cracks open the human heart. Click here to watch this inspiring talk.
Join The Shift Network, The Gaiafield Project, and people around the world for Global Shift Meditations on the first of each month. On April 1, we featured David T. Nicol. Click here to listen to the free recording and to register to receive future free recordings.
As I boarded a flight in San Francisco, I received a call from David Wick inviting me to write an article on the culture of peace for the Ashland Daily Tidings. The timing was impeccable as I was headed to Rishikesh, India the same place where the Beatles had gone 50 years earlier.
The Beatles were the biggest cultural icons of their time and they appeared to have everything — fame, fortune, success, etc. Yet they sought out the quiet refuge of an ashram on the banks of the holy Ganges River and the ancient sciences of yoga/meditation to explore the deeper meanings of life.
The Beatles wrote much of the White Album while in Rishikesh. They sang about the importance of universal themes such as peace, love and harmony and, by their example, they helped introduce meditation and yoga to the West.
We need to evolve beyond our current capacities if we are to uplevel our peace work, get out of the sandbox of who is right and who is wrong, and formulate and articulate a coherent and inclusive vision of peace which reflects visionary truth.
Practice speaking your truth from this vision and not reactively to other’s viewpoints. Let your vision be a source and reference point for your work; feel its aliveness and its contagiousness. Learn to contact it as a substance that holds nutrition. As you develop this practice, you find you are less reactive or triggered by viewpoints which disturb you and even those which may be threatening. Actually you may discover that you have been feeding off negative energy rather than the generative energy of your own vision.
It would be very convenient if all the problems of our society fell into the lap of the Wall Street criminals, or environmental polluters, or politicians… The “Inconvenient Solution” is recognizing that we can’t solve any of our problems, or respond to any of our challenges, without envisioning, and acting upon, the “Big Idea.”
Every shift in human behavior started with a Big Idea, a big concept, an overarching vision. The impetus may be a problem, but the problems spawned the Big Idea. If you keep focusing on the problems… you get more problems, not the Big Idea.
The path of Jewish mysticism known as Kabbalah offers a uniquely integrated, holistic pathway to spiritual growth — from practical change to deep wisdom and healing.
In this 7-minute audio, Rabbi David Ingber, one of the most influential Rabbis in America, explores the history and meaning of Kabbalah, and why writing this sacred wisdom down instead of continuing the exclusively oral tradition of Kabbalah was a compromise to protect it from the dangers of history and the dangers of forgetting.
Click here to register for Rabbi David’s FREE video event, Discovering the Mystical Teachings of Kabbalah: How to Awaken Your Consciousness by Activating the 10 Divine Energies of the Tree of Life, on Wednesday, April 11.
I asked my friend, Philip Hellmich, creator of The Shift Network’s peace initiative, “How’s the peace business?” Without batting an eye, he responded, “Terrific! The demand has never been greater!” We both laughed, acknowledging that we need peace now more than ever before — both outer peace, in the world, and inner peace, inside ourselves.
As a pattern detective, I look beneath every human predicament, experience, and feeling to find the cause of the matter. I usually find it in the beliefs of the individual, group, or culture.
Here’s how I happened to network with another amazing pacifist in Ottawa. For years, peace activists in Canada had planned a Vimy Ridge Anti-war Project, a simultaneous cross-Canada protest to educate the public that ‘the spectacle of war… where more than 10,000 were killed or wounded in 4 days’ in France in April 1919 is being glorified as the “Birth of Our Nation.”
I never expected to laugh for a living. Nor did I expect my primary focus someday to be death and dying. But a funny thing happened on my way to my current life: after some twists and turns, these two paths became the same road.
For most of my life, I allowed my mind to dictate what made me laugh. We each have different funny bones, of course, and my sense of humor used to be fairly sarcastic. As an economic and social justice activist, I tended to laugh primarily at witty political satire. I thought there was too much pain and suffering in the world for frivolous amusement.
Join 25 master yoga teachers, consciousness leaders, and wisdom keepers to explore natural intelligence — how yoga at its roots is designed to connect us to our essential nature. In a world of increasing disconnection and imbalance, connecting to this nature-based wisdom is vital to heal us and transform our planetary crisis. RSVP for FREE and receive daily practices and wisdom talks.
The World Peace Forum is an annual event connecting peace activists and sharing initiatives. It brings together an average of 1,200 academics, senior government officials, peace activists, business executives, journalists, educators, religious leaders, and students to promote interest in global issues and develop expertise in the next generation of leaders. The World Peace Forum seeks to be the global venue for responsible debates, research, and analyses of all elements of developing a peaceful world.
Family Hui’s Positive Parenting Messaging Campaign in April
Family Hui has created a positive parenting texting campaign for Child Abuse Prevention Month 2018. The purpose of the campaign is to send parents educational and encouraging messages throughout the month of April. Parents will receive a positive message a day for 29 days and will be asked to evaluate the texting campaign on the 30th day. Family Hui is using the mSurvey messaging platform for the project.
The project was created with funding from the California Office of Child Abuse Prevention. The project is in Spanish and English. The sign-up phone number is the same for both (617-826-9932) but the texting word for English speakers is ALOHA and for Spanish speakers the texting word is ALOHA2U. How does it work? Text either ALOHA (for English) or ALOHA2U (for Spanish) to 617-826-9932. Please contact Family Hui Director Lucy Roberts for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Presented by Jen Mathews, this experiential workshop is part of “Reimagine End of Life,” a weeklong community-wide collaboration to spark dialogue, break down taboos, and bring diverse communities together around the universal topics of life and death. More than 100 events will take place from April 16 to April 22.
Join us for “Laughing Matters” as we stretch our imaginations beyond conventional views of joy and suffering, beyond humor and seriousness, and beyond the habitual patterns of our minds. There is no need to feel happy or even be in the mood to laugh in order to attend. Come as you are. No sense of humor required : )
Hosted by Shift faculty Grandmother Flordemayo and Master Mingtong Gu among others, the Gathering for Humanity is a powerful and timely 5-day retreat conference for unity and awakening at this pivotal moment on Earth.
A mandate of Spirit through universal healer Mayan Grandmother Flordemayo, the Gathering is an urgent calling to all of humanity committed to increasing the light and coherence on the planet. Join indigenous elders and other spiritual voices in guidance, blessings, sacred ceremony, and higher wisdom.
Hosts, honored guests, and musical guests will weave their gifts through the healing and activating energies of the land in a retreat environment to transform and realign body, mind, and spirit
Join Dharma Teacher Dawa Tarchin Phillips on a special 30-day pilgrimage around the world to the 7 chakras of our planet. Designed with care and intention, this is the first time in history a pilgrimage around the world and through the 7 chakras of our planet is offered to the public. The intention of this journey is to experience the sacredness of our planet beyond the usual divisions and separateness, and to awaken to the unifying consciousness that connects all life on Earth. Click here for all the details and to discover how you can be a part of this Incredible journey.
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.
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.
If you would like to submit something to The Catalyst, please see the submission guidelines: click here.
Read about the work of Search for Common Ground and begin imagining people from different sides of conflicts working cooperatively together. Then think about how you can embody this way of being and look for ways to get started.
• Sarah Marshank 7-week course
• José & Lena Stevens 7-week course
• Caroline Casey 7-week course
• Mirabai Starr 7-week course
• Mark Matousek 21-week course
• Rev. Michael Beckwith 6-week course
• Robert Thurman 7-week course
• Women's Money Summit
• Robert Moss 9-week course
• Raja Choudhury 21-week course
• Linda Backman 10-week course
• Donna Eden 12-week course
• Enneagram Global Summit
• Terry Patten 7-week course
• Joel Fuhrman 6-week course
• Yoga Day Summit
• Dawson Church 7-week course
• Cynthia Bourgeault 7-week course
• Sandra Ingerman & Evelyn Rysdyk 7-week course
• Shamanism Global Summit
• Andrew Harvey 12-week course
• Dr. Sue Morter 7-week course
• Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo 7-week course
The stated mission of the Metta Center for Nonviolence is, “We encourage people in all walks of life to discover their innate capacity for nonviolence and to use its power strategically for the long-term transformation of themselves and the world, focusing on the root causes of injustice, competition, and violence. We aim to make the logic, history and yet-unexplored potential of nonviolence more accessible to activists and agents of cultural change (which ultimately includes all of us).” To find out more about and to financially support the Metta Center for Nonviolence and their extensive resources, click here.
A global “War of Ideas” is threatening peace and stability. How can we create a shared narrative of global peace to build empathy and drive collective action?
By galvanizing diverse talents and perspectives we can raise the collective message that peace is possible. PartnersGlobal and the Alliance for Peacebuilding are proud to ignite conversation and connections between creatives and peacebuilders to uncover new thinking, new tools, and new partnerships for peace. We all have a role in grounding lofty ideals to amplify and spread messages of progress. Join us in bringing to life stories of our shared humanity to counter divisive narratives of intolerance and hate.
Conflict and differences are inevitable. Violence is not. We partner with people around the world to ignite shared solutions to destructive conflicts. We work at all levels of society to build sustainable peace through three main avenues:
DIALOGUE+ Whether at the local or national level, we bring people together across dividing lines to discover and achieve shared goals. We work with those traditionally in power and those without a platform, often women and youth.
MEDIA+ While a dialogue affects dozens, media impacts millions. We use media to stir up thoughts and discussions across a whole society about the root causes of violence and how to overcome differences.
COMMUNITY+ We provide a safe space for people to work out their conflicts at the local level. With some creative thinking, we bring divided communities, neighbors, and families together to discover their common humanity.
Young people, while not always recognized, are often on the leading edge of creating positive transformations in our world. In July 2016, the National Peace Academy met many of these leaders at an international peacebuilding program in Romania for young adults: Global Youth Rising. This innovative program brought together over 70 young peacebuilders from over 20 countries, in collaboration with peacebuilding professionals, to share skills and resources, network, and support each other in this lifelong work.
We were so inspired to partner in this way that we immediately knew we wanted to give similar opportunities to those young peacebuilders here in the U.S. working for racial, social, economic, and environmental justice and peaceful communities. In 2018, as part of a multifaceted initiative to support young peacebuilders, NPA, in partnership with many others, is excited to kick off US Youth Rising.
Shiloh Sophia lives life as a great adventure! For 25 years she has dedicated herself to art as a tool for transformation. Through paintings, poetry, and teachings she reaches thousands throughout the world providing encouragement for the journey. She is the leader of a revolutionary education movement focused in Intentional Creativity; as offered in the Color of Woman Teacher Training. In collaboration with her husband Jonathan, she runs the Cosmic Cowgirls Ranch with a gallery, classroom, farm, vineyard, and lodge in California.
In Shiloh’s own words...
“Painting is a devotional act, a spiritual practice, a prayer in paint strokes. When I create with inquiry and intention, I am able to open a door to the sacred space between worlds. That is where I paint and write poetry from — straddling spirit and matter, unmanifest and manifest, quantum potential engaged with desire. It is here that I can synchronize my own heartbeat with the heart of the world. I have always felt I was here to serve.
“I paint intuitively, and in many respects I am not in charge — my muse follows the path… I follow where the canvas and my muse lead me. My paintings seek to image a moment in time when all is well. A place where beauty exists and no harm exists. A moment when we feel as we wish we could more often, at peace with ourselves and the world — in love with one another and creation, and experiencing the miracle of life.
“When I paint, I feel moments of pure bliss, whether it is a mermaid, or muse, or Madonna, it is a relationship with the sacred. I think of life as a legend being written, not just a story that happens… I am the one authoring the future.”