The Shift Catalyst — Thanksgiving and Indigenous Wisdom
By Stephen Dinan, founder and CEO of The Shift Network
I hope you and your loved ones have a beautiful Thanksgiving, and that you take the opportunity to experience gratitude for the many blessings in your life.
It’s so easy to focus on what’s missing in our lives or to get overwhelmed by all the tragedies and political chaos in the news and to take for granted the little everyday miracles — from safe drinking water to being able to communicate across the world with email or simply holding the hand of a loved one.
May we take the time to feel gratitude for blessings such as the basic needs of food, water, and shelter that hundreds of millions of people around the world are lacking. With our own abundance comes the responsibility to create a world that works for all by extending these blessings to more people.
On Thanksgiving, I also believe it’s important that we take some time to address the painful history of a holiday that celebrates pilgrims while we too often forget the past (and current) atrocities committed against Indigenous Peoples.
The Shift Network is deeply committed to our Indigenous brothers and sisters and sees their upliftment as essential for the larger healing of our world. That’s why we dedicated this issue to hearing more of their voices of wisdom, which carry important medicine for our time.
Our dear friend, Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr., has written a poignant and powerful article for this issue entitled “Understanding 500 Years of Colonization, With Thanksgiving.” We truly appreciate Brother Phil’s open and transparent personal reflections on a painful part of human history.
And Grandmother Sasa shares a beautiful audio message about healing the past and preparing the future for seven generations in part by recommending that every day be Thanksgiving. We are grateful to Brother Phil and Grandmother Sasa for their friendship and sharing of their wisdom and hearts with us.
We invite you to visit the free Indigenous Wisdom Library, 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.
And be sure to check out all the session videos from our recent Global Indigenous Wisdom Summit 2018 on our Facebook video library page. These free resources were produced in partnership with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, who offer profound insights via hours of authentic interviews.
We also want to hear your ideas about a new initiative we’re exploring: creating in-person events where Shift community members can study transformative education materials together. Please take a moment to click here to watch this one-minute video, complete the survey, and receive your free gifts. We’ve heard from many community members that you’d like to meet each other in person — this is an opportunity for us to develop this vision together. Your input is greatly appreciated!
Finally, we want to remind you that November 20 is the United Nations Universal Children’s Day, a time to recommit ourselves to creating a better world for generations to come. (See Movement News to learn more, including how to access a free ebook, The Divine Child, by Emma Farr Rawlings.)
And before you delve into the illuminating articles, videos, and other content below, we’d love to hear your answer to the question, How has Indigenous wisdom deepened and enriched your life? To share your thoughts in our Facebook Page community, click here.
The Great Spirit is in all things: he is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our Father, but the Earth is our Mother. She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us.
— Big Thunder (Bedagi) Wabanaki, Algonquin
In June 2001, I drove from Malibu to San Diego for a dentist appointment. On the way back, I started feeling a terrible pain in my eyes when I looked to either side. It even hurt to look in the rearview mirror. When I arrived home, I told my wife my eyes hurt and that I was going to lie down. When I woke up, the pain was still in my eyes and I couldn’t see.
We are seeking unique and talented individuals for two important positions at The Shift Network: Director of Production and Product Manager.
If you are inspired and passionate about joining our team, please click here for more information about these positions. The Shift Network is committed to creating a diverse environment and is an equal opportunity employer.
Do you yearn for more intimacy in your relationship, more vulnerability from your partner, and deeper levels of transformation? Renowned Enneagram teacher Russ Hudson will be leading a special Facebook Live Q&A call on Tuesday, November 20, at Noon Pacific about how to identify and transform imbalances that are keeping you stuck... through your Enneagram subtype and your instincts. Click here to get a Facebook Messenger reminder when the event goes live.
Would you like to learn an easy-to-use practice that can help you immediately neutralize stress, increase energy, prevent illness, and reduce the influence of trauma? Dr. Roger Jahnke, master of Qigong and Tai Chi, will be leading a special Facebook Live Q&A call on Wednesday, November 21, at Noon Pacific about using Qigong methods to create a daily self-care practice you can use for a lifetime to revitalize, energize, and heal your body, mind, and spirit. Click here to get a Facebook Messenger reminder when the event goes live.
Your body is infinitely wise… wiser than your mind or any spiritual teacher or self-help book. If you’d like to know how to access your body wisdom to obtain the exact answers to whatever may be blocking you, be sure to join Conscious Awareness Instructor Suzanne Scurlock in a special Facebook Live Q&A call on Tuesday, November 27, at Noon Pacific. Suzanne will share advanced core embodiment practices for dissolving stress, transforming overwhelm, and accessing more joy. Click here to get a Facebook Messenger reminder when the event goes live.
We want to know:
How has Indigenous wisdom deepened and enriched your life?
To share your thoughts in our Facebook Page community, click here.
As a result of empires and kingdoms rising, colonizing, and falling over the last 4,000 years and even earlier, there are still deep sources of unresolved, intergenerational grief, trauma, internalized oppression, and lateral violence that continues to impact our human family even today. Therefore, to understand and heal the colonization of the past 500 years, it’s crucial to address the impacts of all the various forms of colonization, that we ourselves, as a human family, have inflicted on our own human family, due to what was inflicted on us in the process of colonization.
Thinking about ancestors is not the same as relating. Just as money still owed to us doesn’t pay the bills and imagining food doesn’t fill our bellies, thinking about our ancestors is not the same as directly relating. We know this when it comes to connecting with other humans; if we don’t spend quality time, the relationship gradually dies out. It’s no different with the souls or spirits of the dead.
Canada’s Lax Kw’alaams show us how we can be saved: by loving the natural world and local living economies more than mere money and profit
Everything has a price. Everyone can be bought. We assume this principle is endemic to modern life — and that accepting it is most obvious to the impoverished. Except all over the world, people are defying it for a greater cause. That courage may be even more contagious.
Last year, following our modern principle, Petronas offered the First Nation an offer they imagined couldn’t be refused: in exchange for their support, a whopping $1.15 billion in cash. But put to a vote, the Lax Kw’alaams resoundingly said “no” — every single community member.
Happiness is not happiness that collapses at the first clue of darkness or pain. And the gratitude that we feel only when things are going hunky-dory isn’t the indestructible gratitude that we’re going to be talking about when considering the question of what it means to have enough, to be enough, and to be satisfied — deeply satisfied — with our own existence.
This definition of gratitude can be hard to take in sometimes, and part of the reason for that is that we live in a culture of insufficiency. It’s an addictive, acquisitive society where more is very often seen as better, and where striving and struggling and craving and reaching are the bywords of everyday life.
To listen to Mark’s talk, and to read the transcript, click here.
Grandmother Sasa shares beautiful insights on the importance of making every day Thanksgiving in these turbulent times. She also shares poignant reflections on healing the past traumas caused to Native Americans, and how to prepare a more harmonious world for seven generations to come.
To listen to this 24-minute interview, click here.
This beautiful 2-minute video offers a simple yet profound practice to start or end your day. Practice the Lotus of Gratitude daily and you will find that your life will be overflowing with blessings. Click here to watch.
The Art of Healing is a 24-minute portrait video that highlights key moments of my journey as a determined artist living with a chronic illness, and finding strength and purpose creating arts and music to heal myself and inspire others. Part one paints a picture of my life as me, Lisa Sniderman, and as my artist persona Aoede, the Muse of Song in Greek mythology, battling a rare progressive muscle weakness disease: dermatomyositis. Part two shows how as Aoede, I started creating full-length fantasy musicals melding mythology, magic, and music to counter the darkness I was experiencing and living with daily. I discovered music and art are my lifelines, and I cannot stop creating! Click here to watch this video and others that chronicle Lisa’s healing journey.
Join Subtle Activists and life partners David T. Nicol and Kate Naga the first Saturday of each month for their Web of Light Subtle Activism Series, in which they tap into a different quality of our shared essential presence as a strand of light in the global Web. This month’s presentation, “Weaving Strands of Joy,” was designed to help absorb and transmute excess despair and depression in the collective psychosphere. Click here to listen.
United Nations Universal Children’s Day was established in 1954 and is celebrated on November 20 each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare. November 20, 1959 is the day that the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Universal Children's Day offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children's rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for Children. To learn more, click here.
In celebration of the United Nations Universal Children’s Day on November 20, Dr. Farr Rawlings is giving away a free e-copy of her new book, The Divine Child. Readers are resonating with the message in these troubled times that we all are born with an innate wisdom. The Divine Child draws on Dr. Farr Rawlings’ decades-long research into, and interviews with, children from cultures around the globe and over time. Interwoven with her research, she draws on her own childhood experiences — some traumatic, some magical, some unexplainable. In this book you’ll see children’s spiritual connection and psychic awareness; what kids from different cultures think about God, death, life, and angels; and children as intelligent beings. To download a free e-copy, click here and enter the password “freebook.” The Divine Child is also available free on Kindle Unlimited here.
Join us for the world-famous annual International Yoga Festival on the banks of the holy Ganges river, nestled in the lap of the sacred Himalayas, the birthplace of yoga, at Parmarth Niketan Ashram. Receive the darshan and inspiring, uplifting wisdom of revered saints, and the teaching and touch of renowned yoga teachers from across the world from a wide variety of lineages — plus, ecstatic kirtan, divine Ganga Aarti, and much, much more. The International Yoga Festival is a truly globally unique event, bringing together so many masters from so many traditions, cultures, and countries in one sacred, beautiful place! Click here to register online.
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.
After authoring more than 30 books, Andrew Harvey, Rumi scholar, mystic teacher, founder of Sacred Activism, and one of The Shift Network’s most popular faculty, has released what may be his consummate work, Turn Me to Gold: 108 Poems of Kabir, which is embellished with extraordinary photographs of India by Brett Hurd. Unlike Rumi, writes Andrew, Kabir is the tough, no-nonsense peasant... the master of laser-like clarity, simplicity, directness, passion, and strength... exactly what spiritual seekers need amid our devastating global crisis. Click here to order your copy.
A practical guide to connecting with your ancestors for personal, family, and cultural healing. Everyone has loving and wise ancestors they can learn to invoke for support and healing. Coming into relationship with your ancestors empowers you to transform negative family patterns into blessings, and encourages good health, self-esteem, clarity of purpose, and better relationships with your living relatives. Daniel’s work is furthered by the nearly 60 practitioners of diverse ancestries he’s personally trained who are offering this wisdom in eight languages.
Provides over 20 exercises and rituals to help you initiate contact with your ancestors, find ancestral guides, and assist the dead who are not yet at peace
Explains how to safely engage in lineage repair work by connecting strongly more ancient ancestors before relating with the recently deceased
Explores how your ancestors can help you transform intergenerational legacies of pain and abuse and reclaim the positive spirit of the family
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.
Practice the Lotus of Gratitude for seven days. If inspired to do so, share this 3-minute video with others and let them know how it’s affected your day-to-day life.
Becoming a Visionseeker — A Free Video Event with Shamanism Teacher and Anthropologist Hank Wesselman. Discover healing possibilities for yourself and others by journeying to ancestral grounds. Wednesday, November 28, at 5:30pm Pacific
Stop Trying to Fix Yourself — A Free Video Event with Zen Buddhist Meditation Teacher and Author Deborah Eden Tull. Experience a fresh, embodied approach to meditation and mindfulness designed to organically transform your life. Saturday, December 1, at 10:00am Pacific
Qi Medicine: Traditional Chinese Techniques to Activate the Healer Within You — With Author, Acupuncturist, and Master of Qigong and Tai Chi, Dr. Roger Jahnke. Discover Qigong methods that awaken Qi Medicine within you and create a daily self-care practice you can use for the rest of your life — to revitalize, energize, and heal your body, mind, and spirit. New 7-week Video Training Starts Wednesday, November 28
IEN is an alliance of Indigenous peoples whose mission is to protect the sacredness of Earth Mother from contamination and exploitation while maintaining and respecting Indigenous teachings and natural laws. Click here for more information. Click here to make a donation.
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.
Hereditary Chief Phil Lane, Jr. co-founded, with elders from across North America, the Four Worlds International Institute (FWII) in 1982. With the guidance of the Four Worlds Elders Council and Brother Phil’s leadership and applied experience, FWII has become an internationally recognized leader in human, community, and organizational development because of the institute’s unique focus on the importance of culture and spirituality in all dimensions of development. To find out more about Chief Phil Lane, Jr. and the Four Worlds International Institute, click here.
Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonialist structures, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her cultural heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance.
An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty, and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.