The Shift Catalyst – Black History Month

By Don Samuels, founder and CEO of MicroGrants

American History is, in theory, the history of the American people. However, in practice, it is the history of Europeans in America, with whites as its protagonists and central characters. Other groups, especially African Americans and Indigenous people, are presented in two dimensions and as afterthoughts. 

White Americans have historically exploited the Black and Native Communities in ways that are diametrically opposite of our stated constitutional and moral values. This causes cognitive dissonance, which finds its solution in a face-saving and dishonest retelling of our story. The goal is to minimize inconsistencies in the name of creating national pride, solidarity, and patriotism. We simply cannot afford to give an honest or proportionate accounting of the facts.

We are like a family, whose father has severely molested one of his children, while treating the many others well. The family is carefree, all except for the one wounded child. At family gatherings, everyone expresses great pride, gratitude, and love for the family. 

The wounded one has tried to tell her version of the family’s story, but no one wants to hear it. To tell it is an act of disloyalty. She may acknowledge, with her siblings, that the family has many assets, but she may only share her full experience and thoughts in the privacy of her therapy sessions, set aside for that purpose. There, her story is separate from the family’s. 

It’s her history.

This is what Black History means to me.

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 eighth installment (as well as the previous ones) here.
— Phil Bolsta

The two stories in this issue’s “The Nicest Thing” section come from Don Samuels, the founder and CEO of MicroGrants, which spurs economic self-sufficiency by giving business and career grants to low-income people of potential… and Mutima Imani, a social justice visionary, master trainer, and facilitator working to heal the heart of humanity by providing 21st-century tools for personal and professional development and transformation.

Finally, we’d love to hear your answer to the question, What African American — past or present — has inspired you the most, and why? To share your thoughts in our Facebook Page community, click here.

Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations.
— Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American female astronaut

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 enter the next chapter of this empowering path. Here, Master Peng brings together the unique insights of his teacher with the moving account of his own journey.

Click here to read the eighth installment (as well as all the previous installments) of this profoundly moving book.

In this special video series, prominent authors, speakers, thought leaders, and others answer the question, “What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?

Don Samuels’ Story

EXCERPT: At the end of the second week, Ray told me that he had told my story at his church, and that a gentleman there was making me an offer. He was going to propose that I produce the bill for the semester. He would give me a check for the full amount of the tuition, and then at the end of the semester if I produced my grades and the bill for the next semester, he would produce another check for that semester. 

To watch the video and read the transcript of Don’s 7-minute tribute to a generous benefactor, click here.

Mutima Imani’s Story

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.

If you missed any “Nicest Thing” stories, you can catch up on all of them here.

“Becoming Shakti” Facebook Live Q&A with Raja Choudhury

Would you like to discover the secret path to awakening the mystical and sacred energy within you called Shakti? Spiritual teacher, speaker, and filmmaker Raja Choudhury will be leading a special Facebook Live Q&A call on Monday, February 24, at 10:00am Pacific to share how you can bring the healing power of Shaktism into your life. Click here to get a Facebook Messenger reminder when the event goes live.

“Grandmother's Healing Circle” Facebook Live Q&A with Grandmother Flordemayo

Would you like to receive potent insights to guide your life — powered by prayer and blessings, and infused with grace? Grandmother Flordemayo, universal healer and member of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, will be leading a special Facebook Live Q&A call on Wednesday, February 26, at 3:00pm Pacific to share how you can open yourself to the Mystery that leads to miracles. Click here to get a Facebook Messenger reminder when the event goes live.

“Finding True Fulfillment” Facebook Live Q&A with Miranda Macpherson

Would you like to walk through the world as the graceful human being you were made to be? Spiritual teacher Miranda Macpherson will be leading a special Facebook Live Q&A call on Wednesday, March 4, at 3:00pm Pacific to share how you can stop sabotaging your own fulfillment. Click here to get a Facebook Messenger reminder when the event goes live.

“Living as Love With the Guidance of the Enneagram” Facebook Live Q&A with Robert Holden, Russ Hudson & Jessica Dibb

Would you like to discover the specific ways you’ve been pushing love away, according to your Enneagram type? Renowned Enneagram teachers Robert Holden, Russ Hudson, and Jessica Dibb will be leading a special Facebook Live Q&A call on Thursday, March 5, at 9:00am Pacific to share how you can BECOME love, moving into an abundant, authentic connection with yourself. Click here to get a Facebook Messenger reminder when the event goes live.

Your Voice:

We want to know: What African American — past or present — has inspired you the most, and why? To share your thoughts in our Facebook Page community, click here.

Black is a Beautiful Color
By Mutima Imani

This is the strangest Black History month article you might ever read. I am not going to name any African-American Ancestors or Elders or public figures whose contributions built, helped grow, and maintained the greatness of the United States of America. The Black History Heroes and Sheroes are too numerous to account for and can be found in every aspect of life. 

To read more, click here.

Woman In The Mirror
Good Black News Editor Lori Lakin Hutcherson’s Personal Essay on Women, Power, and Leadership

Ever since I was four years old, I remember feeling powerless. I didn’t know it by name then, but looking back, powerlessness is what drove me every night, after I slid under my Raggedy Ann sheets and comforter, to wish and pray that when I woke up, I’d wake up a boy. Not because I felt like a boy inside, but because boys got to have what I couldn’t. Hair that didn’t have to be detangled or combed or braided. Action figures instead of dolls. Race cars with race tracks and pants to play in—always pants. In my four-year-old mind, boys had everything. Freedom. Choices. Power. Pants. But every morning like clockwork, the sun rose, I looked down, and I was denied yet again by The Man Upstairs. I was still Team Pink. I was still a girl.

To read more, click here.

Everything is Racist These Days
By Annie Renau
Published in Upworthy and on Facebook

I see so many people complain about how "everything is racist these days" and "people just blame white supremacy for everything." Yeah. You know why? Because racism and white supremacy actually are infused and embedded into almost everything in our country. We're just finally starting to acknowledge it.

Click here to read more.

Scientists Discover Biophotons In The Brain That Could Hint Our Consciousness is Directly Linked to Light!
By Abbey Stirling
Published in EducateInspireChange

Scientists found that neurons in mammalian brains were capable of producing photons of light, or “Biophotons”! The photons, strangely enough, appear within the visible spectrum. They range from near-infrared through violet, or between 200 and 1,300 nanometers. Scientists have an exciting suspicion that our brain’s neurons might be able to communicate through light. They suspect that our brain might have optical communication channels, but they have no idea what could be communicated.

Click here to read more.

White People, Enough: A Look at Power and Control
TED Talk by Jaelyn Coates

In her analysis of race and interpersonal violence, Jaelyn Coates identifies the impact of racism on relationships and provides a new framework for creating healthy and affirming relationships across difference.

Click here to watch the video.

Constructive Discomfort - Breaking Barriers to Inclusion
Talk by Dereca Blackmon

Dereca Blackmon is a passionate speaker, trainer and facilitator, and national expert on topics of diversity, equity and inclusion. For over 25 years, she’s used her powerful brand of spiritual activism to engage individuals and communities in radical healing models for social justice. She is the Assistant Vice Provost and Executive Director of the Diversity and First Generation Office at Stanford University, where she teaches Intergroup Communication as well as Solidarity and Racial Justice. Click here to watch this video, in which she speaks at a gathering for the Stanford Medicine Alumni Association — Women in Medicine & Science.

The Race of Life

This powerful video creatively illustrates how family dynamics, childhood experiences, and educational opportunities lead to racism becoming even more entrenched with every generation. 

Click here to watch the video.

“On The Road”
CBS Evening News

Gilbert Caldwell and his wife, Grace, didn't get the honeymoon they dreamed of 60 years ago. They were turned away from a hotel for being black. After teaching a powerful lesson to a group of students, they recently got a second honeymoon. Steve Hartman has their story in "On The Road." Click here to watch this 3-minute segment.

International Yoga Festival — Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, India — March 1-7, 2020

Join us March 1-7 for the world-famous annual International Yoga Festival on 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.

To watch the video trailer, click here.

Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama — The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution
By Diane McWhorter

"The Year of Birmingham," 1963, was a cataclysmic turning point in America’s long civil rights struggle. Child demonstrators faced down police dogs and fire hoses in huge nonviolent marches against segregation. Ku Klux Klansmen retaliated by bombing the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing four young black girls. Diane McWhorter, daughter of a prominent Birmingham family, weaves together police and FBI records, archival documents, interviews with black activists and Klansmen, and personal memories into an extraordinary narrative of the personalities and events that brought about America’s second emancipation. Click here to order your copy.

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom
By Diane McWhorter

In this “cinematic and deeply engaging” (The New York Times Book Review) biography, David Blight has drawn on new information held in a private collection that few other historians have consulted, as well as recently discovered issues of Douglass’snewspapers. Blight’s biography tells the fascinating story of Frederick Douglass’ two marriages and his complex extended family. “David Blight has written the definitive biography of Frederick Douglass… a powerful portrait of one of the most important American voices of the nineteenth century” (The Boston Globe). Click here to order your copy.

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. For more information and to order your copy, click here. To request a free sample chapter from the author, email Phil at

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.


2020 Issue 4 • Feb 23

The Shift Catalyst is a bi-weekly ezine for conscious change, powered by The Shift Network.

If you received this Catalyst from a friend, click here to subscribe.

• Shift Network Update
• Featured Media
• Featured Articles
• Profiles
• The Nicest Thing
• Movement News
• Action of the Week
• Shift Spotlight
• Shift Impact
• Partner Spotlight
• Featured Artist
• Allies of the Shift
• Back Issues

Like Us. Collaborate!

Read the article by Mutima Imani, reflect on the questions she asked, and challenge yourself to be more aware and empathetic about the day-to-day experiences of people who don’t look like you.

Find True Fulfillment & Stop Chasing After ‘More’ — A free video event with spiritual teacher Miranda Macpherson. Discover how to befriend vulnerability — and move beyond the tendency to sabotage your own fulfillment. Wednesday, February 26, at 5:30pm Pacific

Reconnect to Your Inner Brilliance With Chinese Reflexology — A free video event with Chinese reflexologist and author Holly Tse. Discover how negative self-talk affects your physical body — leading to the energy imbalances that lie at the root of women’s health issues — and begin your healing process. Saturday, February 29, at 10:00am Pacific

Become a Healing Light in the World — A free video event with Peruvian curandero, psychologist, and author don Oscar Miro-Quesada. Discover Peruvian shamanic teachings to receive the Light of Creation — and cultivate a feeling of hope for yourself and the world. Wednesday, March 4, at 5:30pm Pacific

Energy Medicine Yoga for Healing with author Lauren Walker, the founder of Energy Medicine Yoga. Learn simple, conscious, body-wise movements — to use in the moment and throughout your life — for remedying everyday stress and underlying trauma.
New 7-Week Live Video Training Starts Monday, February 24

Becoming Music with author, speaker, drummer, and music therapist Christine Stevens. Experience sonic alchemy as you receive and create healing vibrations to harmonize your emotions, liberate your spirit, and accelerate your journey to wholeness.
New 7-Week Live Video Training Starts Tuesday, March 3

Becoming Shakti with spiritual teacher, speaker, and filmmaker Raja Choudhury. Discover the secret path to awakening the mystical and sacred energy within you called Shakti.
New 9-Week Live Video Training Starts Tuesday, March 3

Grand-mother's Healing Circle with Grandmother Flordemayo, universal healer and member of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. Receive potent insights to guide your life — powered by prayer and blessings, and infused with grace — as you open yourself to the Mystery that leads to miracles. 
New 13-Week Live Video Training Starts Thursday, March 5

Upcoming Events (all subject to change):

Evolved Empath Summit
Enneagram 18-week course
• Miranda Macpherson 7-week course
• Holly Tse 7-week course
• Oscar Miro-Quesada 7-week course
• Tirzah Firestone 7-week course
Breathwork Summit
• Deborah King 5-week course
• Daisy Lee 7-week course

• Robert Moss 7-week course
• Mona Delfino 7-week course
• Mirabai Starr 12-week course
• Shabda Kahn 7-week course

Birthright AFRICA

Only 2% of US managers, leaders, and entrepreneurs are of African descent. To address this gap in diversity and talent in collaboration with our partners, Birthright AFRICA is creating the next generation of global leaders and entrepreneurs that are proud of their African heritage, confident in their innovative aspirations and connected to the African continent. After completing the program, 98% of our Birthright Alumni confirm they have more resources, clarity, and belief in themselves to pursue their career and life goals. We are committed to ensuring the Birthright AFRICA experience is a part of our culture. Together we can transform the future of the diaspora for generations to come. 

Click here to visit the Birthright AFRICA website and watch a 6-minute video.
Click here to donate.

Detroit Achievement Academy

Detroit Achievement Academy is a free public charter school currently serving kindergarten through seventh grade students. We have a grand vision for what education can look like and are excited to be creating it in the great city of Detroit. We are using the best educational model in the country, Expeditionary Learning, and are committed to our students, their families, and to our neighborhood. We believe that all students can achieve at high levels and that it is our responsibility to support them in an intense and holistic way.

Click here for more information and to make a donation.

WASH Alliance International is a multi-national consortium of over 100 partners worldwide, working together with local NGOs, governments and businesses to make sure everybody on this planet has sustainable access to water and sanitation. In Africa they run programs in Ghana, Mali, Benin, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. In Asia, they work in Nepal and Bangladesh. In those countries, they set up local alliances that enable them to optimally make use of local knowledge and networks and tap into existing WASH structures. To discover more, click here.

Radical Monarchs
An Activism Organization for Girls of Color

The Radical Monarchs create opportunities for young girls of color to form fierce sisterhood, celebrate their identities, and contribute radically to their communities. The Radical Monarchs empower young girls of color so that they stay rooted in their collective power, brilliance, and leadership in order to make the world a more radical place. Each Radical Badge Unit involves learning about social justice and self-empowerment-focused topics through experiential field trips and workshops. Radical Badges girls can earn include Black Lives Matter, Radical Pride, Pachamama Justice, Radical Coding.

Click here for more information. Click here to watch a 4-minute video and to make a donation.

Sudan Archives

Violinist and vocalist Sudan Archives writes, plays, and produces her own music. Drawing inspiration from Sudanese fiddlers, she is self-taught on the violin, and her unique songs also fold in elements of R&B and experimental electronic music. 

Sudan Archives grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she "messed around with instruments in the house" and took up violin in the fourth grade, eventually teaching herself how to play the instrument by ear. When she discovered the violin playing style of Northeast Africa, her eyes opened to the possibilities of the instrument. 

"The way they played it was different from classical music. I resonated with the style, and I was like, 'Maybe I can use this style with electronic music,'" she says. This fusing of folk music and electronic production was the turning point for Sudan. "I started mixing my violin into beats,” she says, “It wasn't complicated — I'd just sing straight into the iPad." 

At the very start of her musical career, she's already won plaudits from the likes of the New York Times and Pitchfork, and played live at experimental festival Moogfest. Her EP Sudan Archives is an extraordinary debut statement from a singular artist. Over six tracks, Sudan Archives layers harmonies, violin figures, and ethereal vocals, grounding them all with he hip-hop beats.

Click here to visit Sudan Archives’ website and to order her music.
Click here to watch and listen to Sudan Archives singing “Did You Know.”