By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
On a day in which gifts are flying to loved ones, we wanted to gift you with a special edition of Catalyst featuring our “Best of 2019!” More on that below after some reflections.
My beloved wife, Devaa Haley Mitchell, and I love this time of year, especially with our magical little daughter Sienna and now our second daughter Phoenix lighting up the days with joyful silliness.
We are enjoying some family time at our gorgeous new home in Nevada City. With the rain coming down and the forest very quiet, it’s a beautiful place to restore and renew and celebrate the holidays.
We always find that December offers a particularly good time to reflect on the past year — what inspired us, what progress did we make on our vision, how did we grow?
And then to open to even more possibilities in the year ahead. For me, I’m sensing that this coming year is a lot about empowering other visionary leaders — a wider network of leaders who are doing game-changing work (for info on our Shift Mentorship program, which is open for application through the end of today, click here).
As the founders of The Shift Network, we also are delighted by the ever-expanding positive role that our company and extended community are playing in the world. It makes us proud to offer so many life-changing programs that illuminate positive new pathways as an alternative to all the negativity we witness in the news.
You are an important part of our Shift Network family and we appreciate you taking part in leading the world towards a new dawn. 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.
EDITOR’S NOTE: “The Master Key” by Robert Peng, a featured speaker in The Shift Network’s 2019 Qigong Global Summit, is one of the most profoundly important books I’ve ever read. I can say that it’s life-changing with complete confidence, because it changed my life before I even finished reading it. I was so impressed with this book that we are serializing the section called “One Hundred Days of Darkness and Light” in future issues of Catalyst. You can read the fourth installment (as well as the previous ones) here. — Phil Bolsta
The Shift Network is happy to support the Global Silent Minute. See below for more information on this transformational event.
There is a universal desire for peace, and we know we are interconnected with all life. So let’s remember We Are All One — and that includes the animals — as we participate in the Global Silent Minute on December 21 at 9:00pm GMT, calling for global cooperation, peace, and freedom. — Joaquin Phoenix
The brand-new story in this issue’s “The Nicest Thing” section come from mystic scholar Andrew Harvey, who’s one of Shift’s most popular faculty… accompanied by three of the best “Nicest Thing” stories of 2019: Anita Moorjani, author of the New York Times bestseller, Dying to Be Me… Rev. Deborah L. Johnson, the founding minister and president of Inner Light Ministries… and Maya Fiennes, an author, yogi, and musician who travels the globe teaching a mix of Kundalini yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong.
In this “Best of 2019” issue, 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 2019.
Finally, we’d love to hear your answer to the question, What changes did you make in 2019 that most improved your life and the lives of others? To share your thoughts in our Facebook Page community, click here.
You don’t have to fight to live as you wish. Live as you wish and pay whatever price is required. — Richard Bach
The Master Key By Robert Peng, a featured speaker in The Shift Network’s 2019 Qigong Global Summit
It's 1972 in the industrial city of Xiangtan, China. A frail child with a heart condition sneaks into a hotel boiler room and befriends the elderly yet vibrant attendant, who eventually reveals his true identity as a revered Qigong master. He heals the boy and, for the next 13 years, secretly teaches him the keys to unlocking the spiritual and healing dimensions of the Life Force.
It sounds like a modern-day fable, but the story is true. And with The Master Key, that grateful student, Robert Peng, invites all of us to walk this empowering path along with him. Here, Master Peng brings together the unique insights of his teacher with the moving account of his own journey.
Click here to read the fourth installment (as well as the first three installments) of this profoundly moving book.
Anyway, I was in so much emotional pain that I was willing to try anything. It’s not even so much what the swami said, but who he was and what he embodied. I was struck by the clear light that was filling up the room, his peacefulness and playfulness, the twinkle in his eye, and the joy that he exuded. And so I figured, Well, let me give this a try. I can always go to Plan B and kill myself if it doesn’t work.
For the first seven months after she was diagnosed, I attempted to lose myself in my job, which marked my return to major league baseball after 20 years. But there was something missing. Baseball wasn’t as much fun as I remembered, and I wasn’t either. There was a sadness gnawing at my soul. And I couldn’t work hard enough to forget how afraid I was. So finally, in May, I gave up the ghost and resigned from the Devil Rays.
I had devoted my entire life to the pursuit of this silly game. One day you’re thinking, I’ve got a dream job. And a few days later, you’d trade anything, you’d do anything. When I finally returned to the big leagues, I was like, Yes, this is it! And then to have it reduced to rubble and ashes in such short order is humbling. And you struggle; you have to rebuild your vision of yourself through the eyes of this wonderful child.
EXCERPT: This sounds completely wild in a time as dark and ferocious as ours but as Bede reminded me, when I asked him in a lucid moment what he meant, he said, "All great births are terrifying because they are more than transformations," he said. "They are mutations. They are the birthing of a new species, a species that has taken a quantum leap of embodiment."
To watch the video and read the transcript of Andrew’s emotionally powerful 4-minute story, click here.
EXCERPT: Whenever I would try and figure out how to make it up to him for everything he was doing, he didn't want anything. His payback was doing this and he would just say to me, "No, don't feel you owe me. Don't feel you have to pay me back. One day there'll be somebody who inspires you and you will want to do this for them, and just do that, and in other words, pay it forward."
Click here to watch and listen to Anita’s uplifting 6-minute story.
EXCERPT: And these words turned my life around. He just looked at me and said, "You do good in there ‘cause I believe in you." And I was so deeply moved. There was something about the words from this stranger: "I believe in you." And I remember being so humbled, thinking, this man who's here working at this kiosk probably never had a chance to have any education. You know, here I'm working on my master's degree, and he's gifted me with...
To watch the video and read the transcript of Deborah’s heartwarming 7-minute story, click here.
EXCERPT: So that's when I was invited to go to a dinner party at Prince Andrew’s and the Royal Family. And as soon as I arrived there, I saw this amazing, beautiful piano, nine foot, handmade, engraved with different colors. And Prince Andrew was saying, “Oh, Mommy (meaning the Queen), has just given them this as a present. Nobody knows what to do because nobody knows how to play. And I go, “But I can play.”
To watch the video and read the transcript of Maya’s 3-minute “blessing in disguise” story, click here.
Would you like to explore highly successful plant medicine remedies — including specific medicinal herbs for chronic conditions? World-renowned plant medicine pioneer David Crow will be leading a special Facebook Live Q&A call on Tuesday, December 17, at 5:00pm Pacific to share how you can help heal autoimmune conditions (including fibromyalgia and thyroid imbalances), digestive challenges, cancer treatment side effects, mental health, and more. Click here to get a Facebook Messenger reminder when the event goes live.
Would you like to experience the healing, joy, and embodiment of belly dancing as “energy medicine” for your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing? Dondi Dahlin, an author, award-winning speaker, dancer, actress, and teacher... and Titanya Dahlin, an author, award-winning speaker, dancer, and founder of Energy Medicine Dance, will be leading a special Facebook Live Q&A call on Wednesday, December 18, at Noon Pacific to share how you can awaken your true essence through sacred ceremony — tailored to balance your dominant elemental energy type. Click here to get a Facebook Messenger reminder when the event goes live.
Would you like to discover your own “vital tone,” a sound that represents YOUR body's ideal state — and then return to this state as you heal? Healer, teacher, and author Mona Delfino will be leading a special Facebook Live Q&A call on Thursday, December 19, at Noon Pacific to share how you can take control of your own healing as you identify your health conditions and treat them with sound medicine. Click here to get a Facebook Messenger reminder when the event goes live.
Would you like to communicate with your loved ones beyond the veil through the power of evidential mediumship? Author, mystic, and medium Suzanne Giesemann will be leading a special Facebook Live Q&A call on Wednesday, January 8, at Noon Pacific to share how you can expand your connection to the Spirit World by learning to recognize and receive not only single facts, but in-depth stories during your readings. Click here to get a Facebook Messenger reminder when the event goes live.
Would you like to enjoy less pain, more confidence, and clear intentions by changing your physical posture — and rewiring your brain, musculoskeletal system, and nervous system? Body language expert and Certified Feldenkrais Method teacher Lavinia Plonka will be leading a special Facebook Live Q&A call on Thursday, January 9, at 5:00pm Pacific to share how you can release trapped trauma and anxiety that contribute to your physical pain and emotional suffering through the Feldenkrais Method. Click here to get a Facebook Messenger reminder when the event goes live.
When I started teaching yoga and meditation in Afghanistan, I received so much amazing feedback.
As I was doing yoga with women in shelters, I understood that after 25 years of war, they were completely disconnected — mind from body —and, just by doing some flexibility exercises, I could see on their faces that they felt alive again. When you suffer from PTSD, you are 75 percent dead; these techniques help bring you back to the present moment.
Do you have experiences where you shut down or close your heart to protect yourself from pain? This action is a common defense mechanism for most who find themselves suffering, but living with a closed heart can prevent you from opening to the Divine and experiencing more love, connection, and happiness into your life. Closing your heart can also lead to more struggle, which is why I recommend heart chakra healing because it is a powerful way to release energy held in the spiritual center in the body.
On my very first date with my now husband, I climbed into his car and saw baby wipes on the passenger side floor. He said he didn’t have kids; they were just there to clean up messes in the car. I twisted to secure my seatbelt and saw a stuffed animal in the rear window. I gave him a look. He said, “I promise, I don’t have kids. That’s only there so I don’t get stopped by the police.”
He then told me that when he drove home from work late at night, he was getting stopped by cops constantly because he was a black man in a luxury car and they assumed it was either stolen or he was a drug dealer. When he told a cop friend about this, he told Warren to put a stuffed animal in the rear window because it would change “his profile” to that of a family man and he was much less likely to be stopped.
The point here is, if you’ve never had to mask the fruits of your success with a floppy-eared, stuffed bunny rabbit so you won’t get harassed by the cops on the way home from your gainful employment (or never had a first date start this way), you have white privilege.
Until I went to prison to teach the Enneagram, nothing could dissuade me from my tightly held belief in my own lacking. Nearly a decade of working with people trapped inside their mindsets of “criminal thinking” has shown me the self-same way in which we get stuck inside the prison of our own minds. Interestingly, it is in the reflection of hundreds of our incarcerated students that I am repeatedly shown how it is possible to do something that’s very difficult — change our minds about ourselves.
One day, my mom walked into the guard shack, which she had to walk through to get into the building she worked in. Charlie wasn’t at his desk to buzz her in, so she used her card, entered the building and went up to her office… She walked back downstairs, stood on a pipe, looked over the top of the security counter and saw Charlie lying on the floor. He had had a heart attack and was lying behind the counter where no one could see him.
Globally we are at this moment of diagnosis on the planet. We are standing in front of the doctor and they are telling us we are entering the sixth mass extinction. The shock of this has the potential to have humanity dig deeper than imagined and write a completely new program, unleashing a rapid healing response across the globe. How do we change our programs into our wishes and desires?
To read more — and to sign up for Bruce’s free monthly newsletter — click here.
Last June, I started an adventure of living out of my suitcase. It wasn’t a flippant decision but one made with intention and purpose. I was going to live in France for 3 months and wanted to spend a few months beforehand living with my things close by (in storage) to ensure I packed right and took what was needed. While I was fretting about the details and wondering how my entire life could be contained in one small suitcase & carry-on, I heard very clearly these words:
Simple, simple, simple. You will see, this is the way to be.
In just two short minutes, this poignant, heartwarming, and heart-breaking film will make you feel gratitude for all you have, all you’ve had, and all you’ve lost. It truly is a magnificent celebration of the human spirit. Click here to watch it.
In this 72-minute video interview exclusively for Catalyst, social justice visionary Mutima Imani shares her thoughts on the importance of Black History Month, why we need to shift the paradigm around the color black, the beauty that is waiting for anyone who reaches across cultural lines, and the heartbreaking story of why she chose the work of social justice.
An excerpt: Take a breath with me, because this is my story, and it's a hard story. This is why I'm committed to the work. So as soon as he did it, the youngest boy started saying, "I want to go with my oldest brother," and my brother and my sister-in-law got him help and support. And 12 years later, he did it too, the same way. When I realized... and then at the first... when the first son did it, I'm a Religious Science minister, they asked me to speak at the funeral, and I was just like furious. Like, what the hell do you think I'm going to say? I just sat there and I prayed, prayed, like, "Oh, use me, Spirit." I called my nephew's name, "Please, please speak through me." And whatever I said calmed everybody down. It was on Martin Luther King's birthday. That's the day that they had the funeral.
To watch the video and read the transcript, click here.
In this 52-minute video interview exclusively for Catalyst, author Lisa Genova shares her insights and experiences around her five New York Times bestselling novels, including Still Alice (about a 50-year-old university professor with early-onset Alzheimer’s, which earned Julianne Moore an Oscar for the title role in the movie adaptation), and her latest book, Every Note Played (about a classical pianist with ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
An excerpt: Story gives me a chance to help educate the world from a place of empathy, what it feels like to have ALS. So like with ALS, how many of you out there dumped a bucket of ice water over your head, right? Millions of us did this to raise money and awareness for ALS. And so maybe you did this, and so you're familiar with the three letters ALS, and maybe you donated money, which is awesome and helped advance the research toward finding treatments and cures, but do you know anything about ALS beyond those three letters? Do you feel anything about ALS having done the Ice Bucket Challenge? Probably not. And so, my hope is that in writing the story about someone living with it, you can begin to imagine what that journey is like. And so then the next time you come across someone with ALS or it's in the news, you connect the human beings with it in a better way.
Bethany Grace has toured with everyone from Yanni and Pavarotti to Kenny Loggins and The Moody Blues. In this brief interview, she shares her thoughts on the link between music and spirituality — and why it would be impossible for her to perform without her faith. Ah, but the biggest treat awaits! In the last few minutes of this video interview, Bethany graces us with a stunning performance of Hallelujah that promises to move you to tears. Click here to watch.
And I went in my wallet, and all I had was $9, and I handed him the $9, and he handed it to his wife, and he said, "Baby, go in the store and get something that we can eat." And the 99¢ store, I know what she's going to get, a can of pork and beans, some chips. That's what you can get from the 99¢ store. And she went in there and he turned to me and he said, "Mother, this changes everything." I smiled at him, I drove around the corner, and when I got to the other side of the BART station, I stopped the car, and I cried for 20 minutes. I pulled it together and I went to my house and I started crying again.
To watch the video and read the transcript, click here.
Ancient cultures around the world believed that history and consciousness move in a vast cycle of time with alternating Dark and Golden Ages. Plato called it the Great Year. Most of us were taught that this theory was a myth, if we were taught anything at all. But the fact is that modern scientists are increasingly finding anomalous artifacts or evidence of higher ways of living, long before the last Dark Age.
One hypothesis: just as the earth’s rotation on its axis causes the cycle of day and night, shifting mankind's perspective from a conscious to subconscious state and back again every 24 hours, and just as the earth’s revolution around the sun causes the cycle of the seasons and trillions of living things to bloom, decay, spawn, or migrate in mass, so too does an even larger motion of the entire solar system cause an even longer cycle, and a complete change in the inner and outer world.
This fascinating film, narrated by James Earl Jones, explores the science behind the Great Year.Watch it for free here.
Welcome to the third annual 7 Days of Rest, dedicating 2020 and beyond to cultivating harmony and unity in diversity, and empathy with all of life. 7 Days of Rest & Radiant Diversity is an open co-creative event inviting individuals and groups around the world to initiate and join local and online events for the healing and replenishment of the planet and all its inhabitants. Together we will cultivate our capacity to engage with ourselves, each other, and the world around us with greater empathy and wisdom, and learn about the life-enhancing nature of our similarities, differences and complementarities.
To watch the 2-minute video, click here. To sign up as an individual and/or a community, to create an event, and for more information, click here.
Attention Coaches, Holistic Practitioners, Healers, and Lightworkers… Not enough clients? Let’s start 2020 off right by using the heart-based client attraction method that’s created over $100 million in sales for those who have learned it. Learn from the power couple Stephen Dinan called, “The #1 source for turning Coaches and Holistic Practitioners into 6-figure transformational leaders.”
This is our holiday gift to you! Join Jesse Koren and Sharla Jacobs at the Thrive Academy Client Attraction Summit and you’ll get the skills, confidence, and inspiration you need to attract more clients, earn more money, and have a much greater impact in the world.
Global Silent Minute Harness the Power of Cooperation and Compassion — Pause for One Minute for One Humanity
On December 21 at 9:00pm GMT, join in one minute of silence, the exact same minute everywhere around the globe and on both sides of the veil — to call for global cooperation, peace, and freedom.
Amidst the challenges we face today, the Global Silent Minute is an opportunity to unite in thought, prayer, and meditation to create the future we imagine. The minute begins with the ringing of bells everywhere, as together we enter into one silent minute, calling on humanity to fulfil its highest potential and greatest destiny: peace on Earth.
Join us March 1-7 for the world-famous annual International Yoga Festivalon the banks of the holy Ganges river, in the lap of the sacred Himalayas, at Parmarth Niketan Ashram. Receive the darshan and inspiring, uplifting wisdom of revered saints, the teaching and touch of renowned yoga teachers from a wide variety of lineages, plus ecstatic kirtan, divine Ganga Aarti, and much more! The International Yoga Festival is a truly unique event bringing together so many masters from so many traditions, cultures, and countries in one sacred, beautiful place — the birthplace of yoga! For more information, 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.” 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.
Through God’s Eyes is a superb book, a truly enlightened piece of work that is an essential read for all people who are truly devoted to the care and refinement of their soul. Phil is a contemporary mystic, a man whose life is a living commitment to spiritual service. I am honored to know him. — Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit and Defy Gravity
One of the most important books I’ve ever read. An incredible compilation of spiritual wisdom and insight. It’s the owner’s manual God should give you when you’re born. — Robert Peterson, author of Answers Within
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.
Awaken the 5 Elements Through Belly Dance & Ceremony — with Dondi Dahlin, an author, award-winning speaker, dancer, actress, and teacher... and Titanya Dahlin, an author, award-winning speaker, dancer, and founder of Energy Medicine Dance. Experience the healing, joy, and embodiment of belly dancing as “energy medicine” for your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. New 7-Week Live Video Training Starts Wednesday, January 8
Sound as Medicine — with healer, teacher, and author Mona Delfino. Take control of your own healing as you identify your health conditions and treat them with sound medicine. New 7-Week Live Video Training Starts Thursday, January 9
Our journey starts on a dry riverbed in the foothills of the Himalayas, where one young woman decided to help one young girl, hoping to make one small difference. In the blink of an eye – and with a lot of hard work from a lot of people – that hope turned into a home, a school, and so much more.
Kopila Valley was born and soon blossomed into BlinkNow, a nonprofit foundation serving an ever-growing, ever-inspiring community in Surkhet, Nepal. Our mission is to change the world by empowering Nepal's youth.
Click here to watch the poignant and moving story of Anjali, one of the many girls who found a home through BlinkNow.
For more information on BlinkNow, click here. To make a donation to BlinkNow, click here. To read an update and thank you letter from Maggie Doyne, the founder of BlinkNow, click here.
The GCILL is an informal umbrella created to support short-term and long-term projects that educate and inform people about indigenous ways of knowing and wisdom for modern times — spirituality that raises human consciousness and harmonious relationship with Mother Earth. GCILL’s primary focus is to advance the capacity to share the messages of wisdom keepers, including the work of founder (and Global Indigenous Wisdom Summit speaker) Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff while helping others and Mother Earth.
The Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP) is a nonpartisan network of 110+ organizations working in 153 countries to end conflict, reduce violence, and build sustainable peace. Our members include some of the world’s largest development organizations, most innovative academic institutions, and most influential humanitarian and faith-based groups. We build coalitions in key areas of strategy and policy to elevate the entire peacebuilding field, tackling issues too large for any one organization to address alone. Click here for more information.
The Circle is an organization of women working together to achieve equality for women and girls in a fairer world. Founded by Annie Lennox in 2008, The Circle is inspired by the notion that when women come together and organize, they can be a powerful force for change. We are a network of women from all walks of life and all backgrounds who have something in common: the awareness that we still do not live in a world where women and girls have equal rights and equal opportunities. Click here for more information.
My career as a professional Fine Artist began in my native country of the Netherlands with a formal art education at the Academies of Fine Art in Tilburg, and the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam. I moved to California in 1980 and have lived here since.
I have worked in many different styles over the years, from abstract, symbolism, surrealism, and impressionism, and gradually to more realism. In the mid-nineties I started painting the eyes of a saint, with the intention of recreating an experience I had while visiting her in Europe. That painting gradually became a complete portrait and it marked the beginning of painting portraits, apparently following a long Dutch tradition of painting in realism.
Most of the portraits are commissioned, and I use photographs, including black-and-white images which I “translate” into color. Even though technique and an eye for detail are important tools, I find that simply staying in the moment is more important, allowing intuition to flow.
Attached are my portraits of Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) and author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi; and Sri Daya Mata, who served as president of SRF for 55 years.
To purchase inexpensive prints of Rene’s portraits of spiritual figures, click here.