How suffering can bring hope

by Tara Agacayak on July 1, 2016

How do you respond to suffering?Istanbul

On Tuesday, there was a violent terrorist attack at the airport in Istanbul.

Dozens of people died and over a hundred were injured.

This is not the first terrorist attack in Turkey.

(see the talk I gave after the blasts in Ankara last fall)

This is not the first time we have experienced a traumatic event.

In your own experience —

What do you do in the aftermath?

Do you ignore it?

Do you condemn it?

Do you avenge it?

Do you run away?


Look for the helpers

One of the most beautiful things I heard, was from Fred Rogers, creator and host of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. In this tv interview he says:

“My mother used to say, whenever there was any catastrophe in the movies or on the air, she would say, ‘Always look for the helpers. There will always be helpers…If you look for the helpers, you will know that there’s hope.”


And I have heard some beautiful stories of generous helpers after this attack donating blood, offering stranded travelers a place to stay, free Uber rides, and mobile carriers in the US offering free calls to Turkey.

And I have received over a hundred messages of concern, love, and prayers.

I have hope.

Suffering can educate and transform


When disaster strikes, it can trigger lots of reactions and set off a chain of emotions.

When it is something violent like an attack, I go to my faith that the arc of the universe is toward justice and return to these principles of nonviolence:

  1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
  2. Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
  3. Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people.
  4. Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform.
  5. Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.
  6. Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.

The fire that ignites action


Just a week earlier, so many of my friends and colleagues from the UK were sharing their own feelings of disappointment about the results of the Brexit vote.

And one of my friends was so upset about it, that it actually brought a fire in her voice when she started speaking about how leaving the EU was not her idea of the world she desired to live in.

That fire is essential to ignite change, and it can be funneled into the momentum of co-creating the world you desire to live in.

Where you are today is a result of choices, thoughts and actions you made yesterday.

So the world you live in tomorrow will be a result of the choices, thoughts and actions you make today.

Personally, I am grateful for anything that gets me riled up enough to get up and take action.

I said action, not reaction.

But conscious, divinely-sought and inspired action.

Action that comes as a result of awareness, introspection, prayer and conviction.

Action that comes from, “I am sick and tired of being _____ (fill in with):

  • unhealthy
  • sick
  • fat
  • single
  • poor
  • run down
  • unsafe
  • unhappy
  • depressed
  • angry
  • lonely

When you get sick and tired of being sick and tired of whatever your complaint is, that is when you get in to action.

Who do you need to be?Tara Lutman Agacayak photo credit Julia Forsman IMG_1880 original

My Reiki teacher told me that when we heal ourselves, we heal the world.

I ask myself, who do I need to be to live in a peaceful world?

I need peace of mind. I need peace in my heart. I need peace in my marriage. I need peace in my home.

And that is peace that I take responsibility for fostering.

Because I only have control over myself – my thoughts and behaviors.

The solution will not come from “out there”.

It will come from my very own heart. From your very own heart.

The power of women in business to create change in the world


I have been working with creative entrepreneurs since 2006, and the terrorist attack on Monday reinforced for me that this is not the world I desire to live in.

And then it got me to think about why the work I do is important to me – because women building businesses and being serious about it have to show up in the world.

And when they show up in the world, serious about being successful in their business, other things also start to happen:
• They become more confident
• They make their voices heard
• They strengthen their leadership skills
• They create money for themselves and their employees and their families
• They create something meaningful and useful in the world
• They help others
• They recognize their value
• They lift up and light up others
• They improve their own lives, their families, their communities and the world they live in
• They become positive and optimistic
• They see their worth
• They grow
• They heal
• They see how they were uniquely designed
• The set an example for others
• They become problem-solvers and come up with solutions

(click here to download the success mindset for creative women in business)

I feel so lucky to get to work with the women I get to work with.

They inspire me every day.

They make me feel like the world we live in is a good one and destined for great things.

They are showing up and taking responsibility for their dreams.

They are doing what it takes to succeed.

They are becoming role models for other women and for younger generations.

They are not making excuses. They trust themselves. They are feeling their fears and moving forward.

What is your experience of overcoming a traumatic event?

How did you experience suffering, and then how did you learn and grow from it?

How did it light a fire for you to change your life and/or the world around you?

Be one of the helpers who give hope in the aftermath of catastrophe, and share your experience in this thread in our community of creative women in business.


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