Your Life in Bloom! New Summer Guide Magazine now Published

We are excited to launch our Community Center Shanghai(CCS) 2021 Summer Guide Magazine. Please pick up your printed Guide at the Pudong and Minhang Centers, as well as, CCS partner schools and organizations. Click to read the pdf version.

If you are anything like me then you will have spent quite a bit of time trying to understand how best to navigate the daily challenges that life brings you – especially the challenges we still face as we navigate life in a pandemic. It’s been over a year since it all started, and I assure you that I have looked to a LOT of places for inspiration.

  • I have googled enough combinations of “how to balance work and online schooling,” “how to quieten the anxiety of the unknown,” “keto diet and the corona weight gain” … it is quite the list.  
  • I have tried to find inspiration in books that show the courageous spirit of people who have navigated huge challenges in their lives (I highly recommend Edith Eger’s The Gift if you need a bit of a jolt from the “woe is me” that sneaks into our lives).
  • I have made a commitment to invest in my tribe to show up, be present in the process, and live as courageously as I can, and to do this with the fellowship of the women in my life. I thank Brené Brown and her ability to speak to me directly and authentically.

As I reflected on the theme of this issue, a huge part of my inspiration came from the recognition that for the first time in a long time I have been forced to stop and smell the roses – literally and figuratively. I had to stop and deal with the absence of things that I had taken for granted and learn to adjust my prism in life. I realized that life lessons can be found in the simplest of places such as the nature around me. What two things did I learn from observing the flowers?

  1. Embrace the Sun (focus on the good)

Flowers grow towards the sun – they depend on it for life. As human beings, we too must focus on the light – the light that comes with virtues of goodness, generosity, happiness, moral integrity, and good will. Life is difficult and certainly, at many times and in many instances, dark and depressing. But without the darkness there could never be light. Without this focus on all that is good and positive in life, our own happiness fades and we cannot be a source of light for others; for those who suffer in darkness and long to grow toward the sun.

  1. Open Up (no matter what is inside)

Flowers bloom regardless of what they look like, no matter their true colors. We owe it to ourselves to open up and fully embrace our uniqueness – to accept, appreciate, and maximize who we are on the inside. We owe it to ourselves to fully explore who we are: our interests, our passions, our fears, our strengths, and our weaknesses.

As you read through this issue “A Life in Bloom” I hope you will be inspired by the stories shared by our community members. Read Nicki Leaper’s article on harnessing the potential of spring and how she chooses to live actively within her values (page 15). Tanja Smit’s article highlights that growing into the best versions of ourselves requires us to fearlessly look inward (page 14). Corinne Hua reminds us that, despite the restrictions we live in, there is an opportunity to explore and grow (page 11). As a budding self-taught restorer, Louise Roy shares with us a lighthearted article on the process of learning new skills and the joy of restoring furniture to unveil its hidden treasure (page 13). In her wit-laden article Heather Kaye reminds us that grass is greener where you water it (page 12). Lidel Freeman reminds us to enjoy the moment and not lose hope of great things to come (page 10). Arie and Milena Schreier’s article shares an amazing testament of how a family can create something beautiful out of a traumatic experience (page 16). 

We hope these stories inspire you to embrace life and bloom into your fullest and most vibrant selves!

Senait Petros Tekeste

Executive Director, CCS

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