It was unthinkable to miss a New Year’s Eve party at Gibson and Joan Carothers’ house in the Uptown area of Minneapolis. At the stroke of midnight, spoons at the ready, everyone would dig into a bowl of Joan’s black-eyed peas and wash them down with a glass of bubbly. It was an old Southern tradition, said the New Orleans natives, that good luck would surely be yours if the first thing you swallowed in the new year was a spoonful of black-eyed peas.
But one year, I had a deadline to meet and could ill afford to lose a day spent recovering from a late-night celebration. So I called Gibson at his office, explained the situation, and gave my regrets.
A couple hours later, the doorbell rang. It was Gibson. With a smile, he offered me a Tupperware container filled with black-eyed peas. I was stunned. He had taken valuable time away from party preparation to drive nearly ten miles to my house just so I wouldn’t be without a spoonful of black-eyed peas at midnight. To this day, I still marvel at his act of kindness and thoughtfulness.
When a person does a good deed when he doesn't have to, God looks down and says, “For this moment alone, it was worth creating the world.” — The Talmud
Whenever you feel guided to perform a kindness, act on it at once. Wait too long and circumstances may fan the flames of remorse.
You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Whom shall you bless with your kindness? Whoever is in front of you and in need of your compassion. They have crossed your path for a reason.
Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special regard to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstance, are brought into closer connection with you. — Saint Augustine
You may never know how your simple acts of kindness touches others’ hearts or restores their faith in humanity.
The world needs all of our power and love and energy, and each of us has something to give. The trick is to find it and use it, to find it and give it away, so there will always be more. We can be lights for each other, and through each other's illumination we will see the way. Each of us is a seed, a silent promise, and it is always spring. — Merle Shain
We hope you’re enjoying our newest section, “The Nicest Thing,” a special video series in which we ask prominent authors, performers, thought leaders, and others to answer the question, “What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?” Their revealing and uplifting stories offer glimpses into the personal lives of people you already know and admire.
The stories in this issue come from three of Shift’s most popular faculty: Plant medicine pioneer David Crow, intuitive healer Wendy De Rosa, and music therapist Christine Stevens, whose 7-week live video training, Awaken Your Healing Rhythms: Drumming to Transform Emotions, Embody Healing & Liberate Joy, begins Tuesday, September 3…
… and because we’re celebrating kindness in this issue, you’ll find bonus stories from Mutima Imani, a social justice visionary, master trainer, and facilitator working to heal the heart of humanity… Lion Goodman, CEO of Luminary Leadership Institute, an initiatory coaching program for leaders of businesses and organizations, and other coaches, therapists, and change agents… and Philip Hellmich, The Shift Network’s own Director of Peace.
We’ve been sharing our “Nicest Thing” stories with you, and would like to hear yours, so we’d love to hear your answer to the question, What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you? To share your thoughts in our Facebook Page community, click here.
Seek to do brave and lovely things which are left undone by the majority of people. Give gifts of love and peace to those whom others pass by.
— Paramahansa Yogananda
In this exclusive 18-minute video interview for Catalyst, popular Shift faculty Christine Stevens provides a 10-minute demonstration of the power, joy, and beauty of drumming — and answers questions such as “What does drumming do for personal awakening and transformation?” and “What are the keys to drumming for healing and peacemaking?”
So what happens when you hear a drum? It engages our bodies. It's a driver of the motor system actually, scientifically speaking. It creates entrainment. We move to a beat. We walk and talk... and everything in our bodies, our physiology is about entrainment. We sleep and wake to the entrainment of light. So the drum is a call.
I think it shows up in people's lives when they're transforming. It sure did in my life. I mean, I didn't even think I could play the drums. I almost failed percussion in college, which is so ironic because I just couldn't play the sticking and read the music, but when I put my hands on a drum, wow.
“Love God, no matter what.” These were the final words of my wife Cheryl to our eighteen-month-old daughter. And these words perfectly summed up Cheryl’s attitude as she prepared to die — she loved God no matter what befell. No matter that she was only thirty-seven and was losing a husband and infant daughter. No matter that cancer had devastated her body, despite her many months of unceasing struggle against it. No matter that she was now in constant pain. No matter. She loved God.
In my mind’s eye, I gently directed my little self — my body, mind, and ego — to move out of my sight, beyond my awareness, taking its fears, attachments, and regrets along with it...
The empty space within the contours of my true Self was then immediately filled with the loving presence of Spirit, and I found myself in a realm where peace, joy, and beauty reign, a place where I can now return to at will....
In this space, you truly discover how to love yourself, because in the domain of Spirit, love is the only option...
We are seeking a unique and talented individual for the important position of Summits Marketing Manager at The Shift Network.
If you are inspired and passionate about joining our team, please click here for more information about this position. The Shift Network is committed to creating a diverse environment and is an equal opportunity employer.
In this special video series, prominent authors, performers, thought leaders, and others answer the question, “What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?”
EXCERPT: We made a video of how you can make drums; we said, "Okay, we can make this happen." I mean, it just was really an act of kindness and reminds me that sometimes the people that we meet have some higher purpose in our lives; we don't know what it is.
To watch the video and read the transcript of Christine’s 2-minute expression of gratitude, click here.
Christine’s new 7-week live video training, Awaken Your Healing Rhythms: Drumming to Transform Emotions, Embody Healing & Liberate Joy, begins Tuesday, September 3. For more details — and to enroll — click here.
EXCERPT: He was in Kathmandu after leaving Tibet, after being in Chinese prison camps for almost 30 years after the Chinese invasion. And he had been the physician of a large monastery. As he was going through his training as a young man, he had trained in the classical ways of going out into the forest with his teacher, harvesting the herbs, having ceremonies to give thanks to the plants, and all these classical kinds of ways of learning and practicing Tibetan medicine.
To watch the video and read the transcript of David’s life-changing 9-minute story, click here.
EXCERPT: And so I was really hesitant. Is this person for real? And she got a team together. And they started to book my gigs and do publicity and promotions up and down the West Coast for me. All of a sudden, I would have all these gigs booked. I was still pinching myself and a little bit skeptical. What do they want? They have to want something.
To watch the video and read the transcript of Wendy’s 8-minute celebration of friendship, click here.
EXCERPT: I said to her, "I don't want them to have my money. Why would I want you to give your money to them?" She says, "Because I can, and I'm willing to do it." It took me a long time to accept the gift, but after we really started talking deeply about her family wealth, which part of it comes from owning slaves, and the fact that I now am looking at the effects that slavery has had on me as well as the effects that being a military brat has had on me and on my family, I finally said, "Thank you and yes."
To watch the video and read the transcript of Mutima’s heart-opening 4-minute story, click here.
EXCERPT: The second person I thought of was a man named Ray, and Ray traveled with me for three days when I was a traveling salesman. And then he pulled out a gun and shot me in the head four times. Now, that would not be called nice by anyone's definition, but it actually kick-started me in a different direction. It got me grounded, it got me started in my career as a headhunter. After having my head hunted, I became a headhunter, which is a little ironic.
To watch the 6-minute video and read the transcript of Lion paying homage to his “impactful awakeners” who contributed — in ways both deliberate and inadvertently — to his growth, click here.
EXCERPT: And every day, Tendy would come by with a plate on her head with rice and sauce. And I always looked forward to that time of day. Then her daughter, Josephine, volunteered to wash my clothes, which was done on rocks down by a stream. These were the original stonewashed jeans, I’ll have to say that. And in exchange, I helped Josephine with school fees. It was amazing that like that whole village wanted to make sure I was okay, and people would come by because they thought I might be lonely and just to keep time together, and people would bring by either palm wine or fruits. So the people at Kagbere just really took good care of me.
To watch the video and read the transcript of Philip’s engaging 9-minute story, click here.
Would you like to embody the wisdom of spiritual pioneers to fulfill your soul’s purpose and live a courageous life of integrity, love, and service? Acclaimed spiritual pioneer Matthew Fox will be leading a special Facebook Live Q&A call on Wednesday, August 28, at 5:00pm Pacific to share how you can experience the transformational music, poetry, philosophy, and art of beloved mystics and prophets to awaken the mystic and prophet within you. Click here to get a Facebook Messenger reminder when the event goes live.
Would you like to experience healing rhythms from world traditions to reconnect with the ancestors and your soul’s deep knowing of who you truly are? Author, speaker, and music therapist Christine Stevens will be leading a special Facebook Live Q&A call on Thursday, August 29, at Noon Pacific to share how you can befriend your drum as an ally in transformation — to shift difficult emotions, ground you in the present, boost immunity, and more. Click here to get a Facebook Messenger reminder when the event goes live.
Are you intrigued by practices that can help you embody the energies of your chakras and biofield — to create emotional, relational, and spiritual wellbeing? Psychologist, scientist, and social entrepreneur Dr. Shamini Jain will be leading a special Facebook Live Q&A call on Friday, September 5, at Noon Pacific to share how you can accelerate your body’s natural ability to self-heal… at the intersection of science and spirituality. Click here to get a Facebook Messenger reminder when the event goes live.
Can a business owner make tough decisions while treating his employees — even those he needs to let go — with compassion and kindness? Yes, and here’s how it’s done.
I was visiting a client in Detroit one afternoon when I got a call that no small-business owner wants to get. It was from Cindy, my receptionist. “Oh, my God, everybody’s going crazy,” she said, her voice rising. “Everybody’s paychecks are bouncing. They’re all walking off the job.” For a moment, I felt like I was high on drugs; I couldn’t make any sense out of what she was saying. I managed to stammer, “What? You’re kidding, right?” She blurted, “No, everybody’s leaving!” I felt dizzy. I knew we had plenty of cash because I had just checked our balance prior to my trip. I hung up with Cindy, apologized to my client, cut my trip short, and took the next flight home.
Like a lot of older cars, the gas tank was under the license plate so I went around to the back of the car and kneeled down to open it. That’s when I found out that the gas can they had given me was leaking. Still, I was trying to make it work when, suddenly, I noticed an older man with snow-white hair standing to my right. I remember that he had very sweet eyes. He said, “You must go back to the service station and get another gas can right away.”
My first job in high school was waitressing. I wanted to do everything perfectly but I kept messing up. For some reason I had a mental block when people asked me to bring their drinks to them with their meal instead of right after they ordered. Over and over again, I’d bring people their food and forget their drinks. So many people got so upset with me. I understood why they were angry — they couldn’t eat their meal without their drink. I felt ashamed of myself, like I was the biggest idiot in the world.
Poet Naomi Shihab Nye points out that it is easy to be kind when life is kind to you. In this wonderful poem from her book, Words Under the Words: Selected Poems, she beautifully expresses how we can — how we must — find refuge, hope and joy in kindness even as darkness threatens to swallows us whole.
Click here to read Naomi’s poem, Kindness — and watch her recite it.
Dear woman behind me in line at the grocery store,
You don’t know me. You have no clue what my life has been like since October 1, 2013. You have no clue that my family has gone through the wringer. You have no clue that we have faced unbelievable hardship. You have no clue we have been humiliated, humbled, destitute.
My daughter was 21 and living away from home for the first time, in an apartment she shared with another young woman. I stopped by for a visit and found her in a foul mood. When she snapped at me, I quietly left. I drove straight to a…
In a major victory for American Indian land rights, a federal judge on Tuesday, August 20, ordered Enable Midstream Partners and its affiliates to remove a natural gas pipeline from 38 American Indian land owners’ property near Anadarko, Oklahoma. A tract of the land is part of the Kiowa Tribes of Oklahoma.
Novelist George Saunders’ stirring address at The College of Arts and Sciences’ undergraduate convocation ceremony on Saturday, May 11, 2013, at Syracuse University, where he is a professor of English, quickly went viral, and deservedly so. Saunders, author of The New York Times bestseller, Tenth of December, implored his audience to prioritize kindness over self-interest, delivering his message with candor, authenticity, and humor. To watch this 12-minute video, click here.
We all know people (or are people) who have struggled mightily just to keep their head and hopes above water until something breaks their way. In this video, a waitress named Chelsea had a very good start to her shift… and it kept getting better and better! The best part about stories like this is that someone is able to use and expand their talents and abilities to not only improve their own lives but the lives of others as well.
To watch this heartwarming 6-minute video, click here (and have a box of tissues handy!)
In this 3-minute heart-rending Thai commercial, a young boy gets caught stealing a bottle of medicine and a few packets of painkillers. A noodle vendor, however, asks him if his mother is sick. The boy nods. The noodle vendor then pays for the stolen goods, and tells his daughter to give the boy a bag of soup to take home. Then, 30 years later...
To watch this poignant reminder of the power of kindness, click here.
How often has a 7-minute commercial for a lingerie company left you with tears streaming down your cheeks? This Thai commercial, based on a true story, shares the endless beauty and joy that can flow from one life-changing act of kindness.
To watch this beautiful tribute to a mother and daughter, click here.
+Peace — a new coalition of peacebuilding organizations mobilizing people, governments, and the private sector to reduce global violence and division — invites peacebuilders around the world to join us in the first-ever global Peacebuilding Action Week. The goal of Action Week is to show the world the power and unity of the global peacebuilding community. There is no right or wrong action. Actions should be locally led, focused on showing the world what peacebuilding is. Register your actions here and use #ThisIsPeacebuilding to share your events and connect with the global movement.
This conference is designed to co-envision and co-create education in Unity in Diversity. Religions are many but their inner wisdom is one — and wisdom of science converges with it. This unifying wisdom of science and spirituality can bridge interfaith differences, build harmonious communities, and create collective will to work together for our common and planetary good. You are invited to participate in this working conference to interactively attempt a proposal for the consideration of educational governance for policy adoption. For information, click here.
This conference highlights the Yuga teachings of Sri Yukteswar, as described in the book, The Holy Science. CPAK features presentations by authors, scientists, and independent researchers exploring the ancient idea that consciousness and history move in a vast cycle of time with alternating Dark and Golden Ages. Plato called it “The Great Year.” This once-universal belief, since relegated to fairy tale, is finding increasing support in new interpretations of myth and folklore, discoveries of anomalous artifacts, revisions of archeological site dating, astronomical insights, linguistic studies, and new theories of consciousness. Please join us at CPAK to explore our rich and astonishingly beautiful history — and rediscover the wisdom of the ancients.
Click here for more information and to register. Click here to watch the CPAK trailer. Click here to watch the stunning 46-minute movie, The Great Year, narrated by James Earl Jones.
Ken D. Foster is a philosopher, visionary, author, and syndicated radio show host who delivers high-energy messages that empower audiences to live courageously and tune in to their brilliance.
For 23 years, Ken has coached and mentored CEOs, entrepreneurs, executives, and senior professionals to take the courageous path, expand their limitations, and free their spirit to bring harmony, happiness, and bottom-line results to their businesses and lives. He specializes in inspiring learners and leaders to live up to their highest potential.
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.” For more information and to order your copy, click here. To request a free sample chapter from the author, email Phil at GodsEyes@me.com.
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.
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.
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.
Resolve to perform an unexpected act of kindness every day this week. And remember, it is not the act of kindness itself that touches people, it is the caring, the love, the compassion that accompanies it.
3 Keys to Embody The Healing Energies of Your Biofield — A free video event with psychologist, scientist, and social entrepreneur Dr. Shamini Jain. Discover the Vedic Chakra Triads of wellbeing for health, happiness, and longevity — at the intersection of science and spirituality. Saturday, August 24, at 10:00am Pacific
Discover the WOW of Soul Trans-formation — A free video event with pioneering philosopher and author Tim Freke. Discover the keys to evolutionary spirituality and why time, ego, and the rational mind are not villains — but essential to “waking up.” Wednesday, August 28, at 5:30pm Pacific
Celtic Shamanism — With shamanic teacher and practitioner Jane Burns. Unveil and reclaim the life you’re meant to live — one of gratitude, wonder, and meaning — through the wisdom of the Celtic Medicine Wheel. 7-Week Live Video Training Starts Wednesday, August 28
Reimagine Healing — With international speaker and bestselling author Anita Moorjani. Discover why truly loving the essence of who you are is the ultimate healing path. (Plus, get instant access to Anita’s introductory 5-module course, Transforming Your Life Through Near-Death Experiences, at no extra cost!) New 9-Week Live Video Training Starts Tuesday, August 27
Awaken Your Healing Rhythms — With author, speaker, and music therapist Christine Stevens. Befriend your drum as an ally in transformation — to shift difficult emotions, ground you in the present, boost immunity, and more. New 7-Week Live Video Training Starts Tuesday, September 3
Training for Modern Mystics & Prophets — With bestselling spiritual pioneer Matthew Fox. Embody the wisdom of spiritual pioneers to fulfill your soul’s purpose and live a courageous life of integrity, love, and service. 7-Week Live Video Training Starts Wednesday, September 4
SpreadKindness.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging and empowering people to practice kindness in their everyday lives. We provide individuals and groups with tools, ideas, projects and events that help make the world a kinder place. We hold events in the San Francisco Bay Area to perform random acts of kindness. Join us! Also, our ongoing Adopt-A-Soldier project collects donations and sends care packages, letters, and love to our men and women deployed overseas.
Our mission is to change schools, the workplace, families and society through kindness. We work toward that goal by creating free content that promotes kindness toward others & teaches important kindness skills to kids.
I am a career artist who began to paint in oils at 15 years old. I am intrigued by the infinite ways to portray light and shadow on subjects, focusing on Nature, bird images, landscapes, and people, in a contemporary style.
I was fortunate to have studied with excellent mentors and teachers throughout my life, including Daniel J. Keyes, Dennis Perrin, Lindsey Kustusch, Sebastian Capella, Jeremy Lipking, Jeffery Watts, and Ken Auster.
I have have painted “en plein air” in Italy, France, Thailand, Bali, India, Hawaii, and locations across the U.S. I have enjoyed painting and traveling with my husband of 51 years, Chris Mayne, an award-winning photographer.
I have fabricated and designed stained-glass windows for 40 years, working for architects and interior designers in custom homes, churches, and businesses. My work has been featured at Chrysalis Gallery, Southampton, New York... The Hecht Gallery in La Jolla, California... Kilauea Gallery in Hawaii...and the San Dieguito Art Guild.