I write this article about the importance of living in the spirit of loving-kindness, in memory of my former student Alina Tarbhai, her mom Afina, and the passengers on flight PS752.
Our lives are interwoven. Our destinies are intertwined. This is an irrefutable truth.
Like many, I have gone through the dark night of the Soul, trying to make sense of horrors that media brings to our doorsteps and into our homes carrying messages of fear and hate. Instead of coming out of devastating experiences with bitter, angry hearts seeking revenge, we can choose to nurture reconciliation and restitution. What if we combined energies towards bringing more Light and Love into our lives and into those of others who are still here trying to find their way on this planet?
The reality of human tragedy hit home really hard when one of my former students from 2002-2005 at Pierre Elliott Trudeau High School, Alina Tarbhai, was on a plane with her mom on a sacred pilgrimage, as a passenger on Ukrainian International Airlines plane flight PS752 which crashed only minutes after takeoff from Tehran’s main airport on Wednesday, January 8, 2020.
Around the world, we suffer terrible losses of life in many forms and on many levels, to tragedy, both manmade and natural. Fires consume areas in Australia now larger than England. There are all kinds of strife caused by earthquakes, tectonic shifts, volcanoes, tidal waves, droughts, floods, famine, disease, war and all kinds of pollution expanding above, below and within the earth. Our lives are interwoven. Our destinies are intertwined. We are not alone.
Instead of being devastated, shutting down in the face of catastrophe regardless of source or intent behind it, what if we turned our own realities around to give life more meaning? What if we became better custodians for the world and more compassionate caretakers for each other? To those of us who are still here learning our spiritual lessons, I ask: “When life goes sideways, instead of wallowing in self-pity, misery, and depression, what if we focus instead on spreading Hope through missions of compassion and pilgrimage aligned with our higher purpose, like many who have gone before us?”
What if we acknowledge and accept our sacred responsibilities to nurture hope, light, community, sense of purpose and live with love in right relationship on this planet?
What if we commit to being more aware Caretakers of Mother Earth and compassionate Custodians for each other and for the life vibration she holds for us? How daunting and overwhelming would such undertakings really be if we moved forward, one step at a time, like the little boy who said “It matters to this one” has picked stranded starfish off the beach, throwing what he could back into the life-giving ocean?
What we think, do and say even on a very small scale matters. Our prayers have weight, yet feel light as a feather when we lift them together. We need to stay in a very light-hearted space to raise the love and unity vibration of Human Consciousness. I’m a retired school teacher whose extracurricular outreach activities with students gave my life meaning. Other than pray and spend time with the elderly, what do I really do now to make a difference that positively impacts lives? Many of us, when we reach this golden age wonder “Where do we go from here?” No matter how old we are, how limited we feel in our abilities, we can still contribute to making the world a better place, even if it is just listening to others’ dreams, believing in them and celebrating the good. We can all live a purposeful life.
When my maid of honour called me this afternoon, we both cried on the phone as we talked about coping with this most recent tragic loss. We agreed there is power in prayer when many people pray at the same time for good. The goodness of individuals can reach out through prayer and giving to reinforce faith in the goodness of humanity as a whole. There are many kind people on this earth who want to enhance the quality of life for all. What can we do from our own little parts of the world to be helpful? We need to stay in a very light-hearted space, no matter what winds blow our way. Mother Theresa shared many words of wisdom with the world:
There are no great things, only small things with great love. Peace begins with a smile.
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. There are no great things, only small things with great love. Happy are those. Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. If you judge people, you have no time to love them. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love. If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
Bottom line: We can each do our best, whatever that is, wherever we are, to inspire and uplift one another, rather than be bystanders. We can do this in memory of those we love, in memory of loving people like Alina Tarbhai who perished on flight PS752.
I used to encourage student leaders like Alina in elementary and high schools to get involved in community outreach. Many like Alina, continued on into their adulthood, carrying hope for humanity. That unpaid part of my vocation was the best and most meaningful part of my life when I taught in York Region.
Even after retirement, it is hard for teachers to put encouragement to rest. It is healthiest and best to rekindle our own spirits to be revitalized rather than just allow ourselves to fade away dreamlessly ‘sick and tired’ in nursing homes. We can ‘listen’ and talk story to help young eagles spread their wings and fly again. Bearing this in mind, I will use my talents to help keep others’ dreams alive. I am currently encouraging an Elder whose vision is helping heal war veterans and other survivors suffering from PTSD and brain trauma.
Maybe the hurt from the loss on flight PS752 can help foster more love in the world. I know Alina would like that. The elder she knew as George Charles – Midday Star certainly would.
Awesome read and great advice…more of what this country and the world needs to hear…thank you!
A great reminder of how doing what we can no matter how small can always lead to a much larger impact
Thank you for sharing these incredible words of love, hope and support Yvonne. As always your wisdom is a gift to the Universe.
One love. One family. ❤️🦋
It really is that simple. Live in love, everyday. Thank you, Yvonne, for this reminder.
LOVE is simple. In LOVE, we are free to choose all. Remembrance of this truth, connects us all.Much gratitude Yvonne, for your loving reminder that life challenges give us unique opportunities for new/better choices.
Yvonne, Through your words and energy vibrations, you truly are inspiring. Once a teacher of empathy, love, and respect, always a teacher of goodwill and compassion in mind, body, emotions, and spirit. On a billboard I recently read, “Hope embraces the unknown and then acts.” As love in action, your writing reminds me how important community outreach is, even while walking on the beach stopping to chat with a stranger about the beauty of Mother Earth, the ocean, sky, flowering trees, songbirds, and our dogs romping into the surf. Thank you so much for focusing your talents and awareness on listening, supporting, cleansing, revitalizing humanity with love.
Now, more than ever we ALL need to band together in unconditional love and kindness. They say for every crisis there is a gift. Right now our world is experiencing a major shakeup, our foundations are crumbling as the ‘old systems’ are weakening , making way for the new. Not only are we feeling it but so is our planet. The Schumann resonance is spiking and natural disasters are occurring – As above so below. We are witnessing it first hand.
The gift of awakening our consciousness (awareness) is there for all. Can you imagine a world where our frequency has expanded so much that all lower ego falls away? No more fear, anger, hatred. People stop segregating and instead join as one. The strongest force we know is love 💗. We are all already connected. We live in a UNIfied world within this UNIverse.
Bring on the domino effect of love, joy and happiness. It begins with each individual. Light your inner fire allow others to gather around to assist in lighting their fires within and illuminate their mind, body and soul.
You are an inspiration Yvonne Duffault. Thanks for sharing this heart-warming article. I’ll try my best to always treat others with kindness and be more tolerant. Please keep writing and continue to spread love.
This is written so thoughtfully! Thank you for taking the time to say all that you did! !Yes, every small act of loving in fact, serves as a hologram in our world and Universe to ENCOURAGE it.
I am sorry for your loss of a former student! What a tragic end in that plane crash.
The message of a teacher having a capacity to encourage and give past retirement is a powerful one! This resonates with me on many levels. However, I will focus on my invaluable mentor who falls within that category! She oversaw the illustrators by high school interns, while she was still at Perpich Center For the Arts High School. These young people worked to illustrate my first book Jelly Beans the Cheetah and Hope. There would be no book without her, nor musical play, songs, book 2 and so on!! The work I began with her as mentor/visual collaborator that launched me as a children’s Author- continued. She was a constant in my life ever since that!
For she encouraged me after her retirement. In fact 6 years of her mentorship and invaluable encouragement occurred after her retirement. Karen Monson has been instrumental in supporting me through EVERYTHING–professionally and personally. Had I not had her ear and encouragement, I don’t know that I would have made it through my doctoral studies in fact. I began as a PhD Human Development student in 2016. It was Karen who very thoughtfully recognized and communicated–you are not in alignment with your work in this program. She and I weighed the pros and cons of switching to EdD in Education early on. As a result of her encouragement in this I changed to Education. As a practioner degree it gave me more time for developing my writing and other education outreach. It was the best decision for me and my professional life in education. I could actually write a dissertation length response about the VALUE and ENCOURAGEMENT of Karen Monson! This would be the only way I could share all the details and times her mentoring made a crucial impact on my life during a multitude of crossroads academically and personally! Due to this form I hope you get the point! The encouragement of others has the most incredible impacts on others and our WORLD! I suppose in so doing this it impacts ourselves and those we are giving too! In remaining in a place of love and SERVICE feels like the only way to be and for a peaceful world, to me too!
Wonderful reminders we are all in this world together. We all have sacred responsibilities and resources to acknowledge and share with and for each other. Beautiful message, Yvonne.
Thank you for sharing this very heart warming piece. How true, if we can all join in prayer, help one another, put our egos and differences aside and focus on all the beauty life offers. How can we make this place a better place? Let’s shift to self awareness and love. Love, may it be in abundance.
I agree with the beautiful sentiment in this article. Let’s not let today’s loss impact our future negatively. Instead, let’s remember and look ahead at how we can build a stronger tomorrow.
Beautifully written and expressed! Thank you for always sharing positive messages of hope, love, community building, and resilience especially in times of hardship and trials.
A very well written article by Yvonne Dufault. If we could all be a little more loving, and more respectful of one another, the world would truly be a better place.
Thanks for sharing these beautiful words of love and encouragement and for being such a great role model. This topic of spreading kindness and love to others and leading by example is something I believe is very important for the world. And during this pandemic I have gotten more involved in personal development work as I felt unhappy because my life was not turning out as I expected or wanted.
From reading all these self help books, I have come to the conclusion that the best way to help and love others is to first help and love yourself. It is important to take care of (mentally and physically) and love yourself so that your glass is full enough to over flow onto others. In a society that unfortunately, for the most part, values materialist things, status, social media, fame, and entertainment, distracting us all from what truely matters and distorting our values.
Without love, patience, and compassion for yourself, and healing from past traumas, one can experience self doubt, lack of confidence, depression, and physical and mental health issues. And if one has these issues to deal with, it can hinder their abilities to love, help and care for others (and even the environment), and may actually cause more harm onto others than good (perpetuating generational traumas and issues). Once one learns to heal from past traumas and love oneself, the light within them will shine bright and this light will be able to reach others around them. And what I have learned is that learning to heal and love ourselves is not a destination (no finish line), but rather a life journey, as one will experience hardships throughout life. Nevertheless, someone filled with selflove will embody love – it all starts within. <3
Thank you for sharing this important message, which rings so true to me.
Very important message! In school we are encouraged to ‘change the world’ and always celebrate the big accomplishments, so we neglect to do the small things. I love this reorientation of focus.
I know Yvonne from past 4 years, she is very caring and very kind human being who encouraged my daughter when she was studying 9th grade in Markville high school in Markham Ontario. She motivated my daughter to attend the French club, French speaking events like Lions club which we don’t know. My daughter attended and got the prizes. This was giving boost to my daughter now she is very good in French and she got topper in the school in her 12th grade in LDH Ottawa. We feel very blessed that God introduced Yvonne in our lives.
A wonderful and truly uplifting article written by someone who understands that our passion must be spoken and worked each day of our lives so long as we draw breath and have one more day. Each of those new days is an opportunity to touch at least one life and inspire that life to inspire others. The author not only knows this as an intellectual premise, she has as a practical matter, done it all her life and for my part, I am and remain, inspired.
I really enjoyed reading the article on how to channel pain and sorrow to do something good to spread love instead of hate. This is a very important message in today’s world and I hope that we will all have more compassion when dealing with one another.
“Small things with great love” is the enduring takeaway from this article that inspires me. I will think long and deeply on this and embed it in my daily life.
Thanks for sharing this article on the strength of love and positive action; that we can always try to be the best version of ourselves to help build a better future.