CFS turned 2 in Sept 2021!

A photo of a Terrarium supplied by a workshop participant.

The! first Harmony Day was launched in 1999 by the then NSW MP Dr. Peter Wong. This was an initiative in respond to Pauline Hanson’s 1996 maiden speech at Parliament describing how Australia being ‘swamped’ by Asians.  According to the 2016 Census, nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was. Mandarin came first as the most spoken language other than English.  Eighty-five per cent of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia (check out the Australian Bureau of Statistics website for more details).

CFS turned 2 in Sept 2021!

I had been thinking of a 2nd birthday party for CFS well before Greater Sydney Lockdown 2.0. When I first paid for the website registration, I promised myself to give it a go for 2 years. I have renewed the registration for another 2 years. Once a date was set for the AGM (Sun 5th Dec), I sat down to reflect on what CFS has managed to achieve despite the interruptions caused by COVID-19 Pandemic.  I drafted the president’s report. President’s 2021 Annual Report – Community Flower Studio

It is in my Chinese blood to reflect frequently. In the teaching of Confucius:

吾日三省吾身 (Wú rì sān xǐngwú shēn)  which is translated  as “I examine myself three times every day.” Everyone is encouraged to ask these 3 questions:

1.     Have I been true to other people’s interests when acting on their behalf?

2.   Have I been sincere in my interactions with friends?

3.    Have I practiced what I have been taught?”

Westerners also have a tradition of making New Year Resolutions. Before one sets new goals, perhaps an earlier step is to review the past successes and failures,. Then one can find out the areas for improvement or new areas to venture into.    Across cultures, there are ‘rituals’ to help individuals reflect on how we want to lead our lives.  

I recently came across a YouTube video clip which is part of a “Do Lectures 2014” by a Bulgarian-American Maria Popova – “7 Ideas in 7 Years of sharing Reflections Upon Lives with 7 Friends’  

Maria Popova started sharing her thoughts and reflection with seven of her close friends from all walks of life. These 7 friends then forwarded her emails to their circle of friends. Seven years later, this became a website ‘Brain Pickings’ with 7 million readers (the new name is The Marginalian – Marginalia on our search for meaning).  Maria described this as a ‘Cross-disciplinary exchange of indiscriminate curiosity’!

Her writings cover subjects like Arts, Science, Psychology, philosophy, History & design. She showed her readers how “ideas from different fields and sensibility relate to each other, and enriched each other in a relational way that helps distract meanings and information”.  Her website cuts across boundary lines of background or age and occupation or anything. To her, the website is her Lego bricks of the mind and records of personal learning!

I was fascinated by her ideas. I reflected on how COVID-19 Lockdown 1.0 was the trigger for the CFS e-Newsletter. We have now published 20 issues. I hope you will help make this e-Newsletter a place to record your reflections too. Please consider sending in your ideas and thoughts to be published on the ‘Member’s Corner’  

Here are the Maria Popova’s 7 ideas in 7 years:

1.     Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind

Don’t be forced to assert opinions under the pressure of social expectation. Be brave to change your mind!  

2.     Do nothing out of guilt, or for prestige or status or money or approval alone  

Don’t let any of these distract you from doing what you are really passionate about.

3.     Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and especially with your words.

4.     Build pockets of stillness into your life 

Meditate, go for a walk, day-dreaming. Best ideas come when not trying to force them. Let those mental Lego bricks flow and do their things and click together. Best ideas come in the shower when you are not expected to produce anything.

5.     When people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them. “We are the only custodians of our own integrity. Those assumptions reviewed a lot more of those who made them and absolutely nothing about us.

6.     Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity. The world focuses too much on money, status, productivity etc which could rob us of the joy and pleasure of the present moment.

7.     Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time. Carelessly overlooked! Instant gratification! Overnight success is a myth! Take the Garden Metaphor – Flower doesn’t go from bud to blooming in one day!      

I found it fascinating to watch her presentations, to feel her passion for life and the conviction on what she does! It is interesting to see the garden metaphor she used to illustrate the last idea:  Flower doesn’t go from bud to blooming in one day!

I wish to use this metaphor to remind myself that CFS is like this bud, it will take a little while to reach full bloom. In the meantime, let’s water it, fertilise it and prune it! Please ‘Help Me Grow’ –  the name given to the CFS Pre-Apprentice Project.

  May I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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