Please Note: Linda's blog has moved to her new website:
From now on, please visit her new website to enjoy all her upcoming blogs

Gathering for Gratitude
Global Mentorship Canada 2015

October 30, 2015

When Betsy Lydle Smith heard that Dan and I were coming to North America for three months, she had an idea. She wondered, could a Mentorship Conference be pulled together and was there a venue available at short notice? Not finding one near her home in Washington State, she called on the Board of Virtues Project International Association, and within days, the indomitable Donna Wheatcroft had secured the perfect spot on the Bow River - FCJ, a beautiful island of quiet on the outskirts of Calgary, Alberta - a modest, affordable, nurturing place, ideal for the conference.

Facilitators quickly made plans, coming from the US, Canada, Honduras, Argentina, Singapore, Finland, and Japan.

The Sacred Opening Friday morning began perfectly with First Nations first - a prayer by SuzA Tsetso from Yellowknife. The sacred opening to honor the spirit continued with a reverent, contemplative walk, some of us with bare feet, through a grass labyrinth by the river. Moving in silence, at a graceful pace, each approached the centre, chose a Virtues Reflection Card from a basket, reflected on how it spoke to us, and replaced it, moving outward holding a seed of possibility.

The diligent team who put the conference program together so quickly included Betsy Lydle Smith of Bainbridge Island Washington, Betty Doherty of Victoria BC, Donna Wheatcroft of Calgary, Alberta, Christine Ayling of Grand Prairie, Alberta, Val Hilliker of Rimbey, Alberta, John Howden of Canmore, Alberta, and Cathy Burns, of St. Petersburg, Florida

An inclusive approach was used, giving every person an opportunity to share how they are applying virtues in life and in work, and large paper hearts were spread around the room for teams to fill with ideas for presentations. We were blessed by the services of our treasured techie and webmaster, Steve Snyder of Montana and John Howden of Alberta, who recorded and photographed the entire conference, and will make sessions available for viewing.

Virtues in the arts were among the highlights of the conference. Musicians sang original virtues compositions, we heard a gorgeous operatic aria offered by a young woman from Japan, virtues action songs for all ages, and simple chants such as Donna Nobis Pacem, calling us back to the circle. I was touched by a graceful traditional Japanese fan dance performed  to a song deeply meaningful to me - Disney's "When You Wish Upon a Star", my special song with brother John Kavelin, a Disney Imagineer before he became a founder of The Virtues Project. We watched a stirring one woman drama with masks on the fragile journey of self-esteem. We learned about virtues sharing circles with youth, how virtues are transforming school culture, and the creation of a virtues daycare in Finland which multiplied there and is now underway in China. VPIA Board Member, Val Hilliker was masterful as always with her virtues puppets, bringing us to laughter and tears.

We heard a scientist, as hilarious as a stand-up comedian, and a powerful, courageously revealing presentation by a young woman on the Cassandra Syndrome and how The Virtues Project brought her transformation and health recovery after severe abuse. One of the Japanese facilitators showed us how she works with corporations in improving communication, radiating love to them and using their "show and grow virtues". We watched a video of children so steeped in a school culture of virtues in Singapore that they had developed deep discernment about the strength and growth virtues in themselves and their classes. We all fell in love with a sweaty seven year old boy just off the playground, with no preparation, who said he needed to "strengthen integrity so I won't talk when the teacher is talking."

We did Virtues exercises and learned of healing tools. Malcolm Fast, a chartered accountant from Edmonton, Alberta, told two powerful stories of his use of companioning to diffuse angry reactions in a corporate setting. Several members of the Board of VPIA led by Chair Valerie Hess presented their vision for the next generation of growth for The Virtues Project, with humility as well as idealism.

Dan spoke on the power of intention in service, and I spoke on the 5 sister Virtues of Thankfulness, Gratitude, Appreciation, Contentment and Grace as they relate to the Five Strategies, and later led a workshop component in virtues-based Healing Circles.

A highlight of the conference was the chanting together of a prayer introduced by Kimiko Schwerin of Japan for her beloved 12 year old granddaughter, Hana (Flower) Perle, who died a few weeks ago in a tragic accident.

The creativity and diversity of the presentations revealing such devotion to the virtues and the Project itself was stunning. Everyone went home with an envelope full virtues acknowledgments, a heart full of gratitude and a mind full of fresh ideas. SuzA led us in a First Nations traditional dance and chant, and then, in the final gratitude circle, Dan said, "We built the foundation. You are building the palace of virtues." Dan and I left with our hearts overflowing -- with trust in this generation of virtues enthusiasts and advocates to help The Virtues Project go viral!


Author photo
Linda Kavelin-Popov

More Posts:
    (July 23, 2016)

  • Time Management for Spiritual Efficiency
    (July 13, 2016)

  • Virtues are the Keys to Success
    (June 29, 2016)

  • The Gifts of Family
    (June 9, 2016)

  • Family Reunions: Blues or Blessings?
    (June 1, 2016)

  • Mothering
    (May 17, 2016)

  • Learning to Die
    (April 29, 2016)

  • The Power of Presence
    (April 15, 2016)

  • Set Your House in Order
    (March 30, 2016)

  • An Easter Journey
    (March 21, 2016)

  • Living Whole Heartedly
    (March 17, 2016)

  • Determination – the Dream Keeper
    (February 24, 2016)

  • Educating the Whole Child
    (February 3, 2016)

  • Virtues in Paradise
    (January 22, 2016)

  • New Year Hopes for 2016
    (January 12, 2016)

  • Reflections on a Year of Humility
    (December 31, 2015)

  • Home is where the heart is
    (December 15, 2015)

  • Coming Full Circle
    (November 24, 2015)

    (November 14, 2015)

  • Raising the Virtuous
    (October 6, 2015)

  • Too Blessed to be Stressed
    (September 21, 2015)

  • Balance Your Virtues
    (September 8, 2015)

  • Whatever You Do
    (August 30, 2015)

  • Recognising Teachable Moments
    (August 7, 2015)

  • Celebrate Life
    (July 27, 2015)

  • Tap the Power of Thought
    (July 2, 2015)

  • Hope
    (June 17, 2015)

  • Call on your A Team
    (June 6, 2015)

  • From Violence to Virtues
    (May 24, 2015)

  • Banking on Virtues
    (May 18, 2015)

  • A Mother’s Virtues
    (May 9, 2015)

  • Virtues Shine
    – in a South Pacific College

    (April 28, 2015)

  • Being a Good Spiritual Accountant
    (April 23, 2015)

  • Bullying in the Workplace
    (April 13, 2015)

  • Easter
    (April 2, 2015)

  • The Best Present
    (March 13, 2015)

  • A Virtues Valentine
    (February 14, 2015)

  • Cleaning Up Our Act
    (February 10, 2015)

  • A Pace of Grace for 2015
    (January 18, 2015)

  • Choosing Your Best Life in 2015
    (January 2, 2015)

  • Gifts from the Heart
    (December 22, 2014)

  • Transform Holiday Stressing to Holy Day Blessing
    (December 6, 2014)

  • An Attitude of Gratitude
    (November 27, 2014)

  • Simple Ways to Bring Joy to Children
    (October 25, 2014)

  • A Perfect Day
    (October 8, 2014)

  • Let Peace Begin with Me
    (September 18, 2014)

  • Islands of Love
    (September 4, 2014)

  • Keeping Love Alive
    (August 16, 2014)

  • Integrity: Taking the High Road
    (July 27, 2014)

  • Parenting in Paradise
    (July 18, 2014)

    (July 6, 2014)

  • Help Strikes Again
    (June 24, 2014)

  • Help for Troubled Souls
    (June 13, 2014)

  • Tapping the Power of Wisdom
    (June 1, 2014)

  • Path Finder
    (May 9, 2014)

  • Discover Your Joy Quotient
    (April 17, 2014)

  • Trustworthiness: Lemon with a Twist
    (April 3, 2014)

  • Spring Forward
    (March 20, 2014)

  • Appreciation
    (March 7, 2014)

    (January 22, 2014)

  • Virtues Path for a New Year
    (December 31, 2013)

    (December 17, 2013)

  • Thanksgiving is Conducive to Bounty
    (November 28, 2013)

  • Flow
    (November 11, 2013)

  • SUCCESS-ion Planning
    (October 23, 2013)

  • In the Moment
    (September 22, 2013)

  • Be Here Now
    (September 17, 2013)

  • Grace in Our Tests
    (August 19, 2013)

  • A Pace of Grace Revisited
    (August 5, 2013)

  • Only Us
    (May 29, 2013)

  • Barbecues and Blessings
    (May 8, 2013)

  • Decisions in Paradise
    (April 23, 2013)

  • Daffodil Memorial
    (April 14, 2013)

  • How Full is Your Fruit Bowl?
    (March 20, 2013)

  • Rediscovering Joy
    (March 12, 2013)

  • Planning Your One Wild and Precious Life
    (January 30, 2013)

  • The Power of Intention
    (January 4, 2013)

  • From Violence to Virtues
    (December 21, 2012)

  • What can we do – before and after a tragedy?
    (December 15, 2012)

  • The Presence of Light
    (November 30, 2012)

  • Circles of Compassion
    (November 21, 2012)

  • Dare to Stop Postponing Joy
    (November 5, 2012)

  • The Rain of Grief
    (October 27, 2012)

  • Opening to Gratitude
    (October 18, 2012)

  • The Power of Gratitude
    (October 8, 2012)

  • Time to Celebrate
    (September 22, 2012)

  • The Gifts of Waiting
    (September 13, 2012)

  • Linda’s First Post
    (September 1, 2012)