Community and Creativity

by Reece Thomson

If there were a word that would best describe New Life Foundation, it would probably be ‘community’. We arrive as strangers and are quickly welcomed with open arms and accepted, just the way that we are. One of our community members, Shelly, recently left New Life. In this blog post, we express our gratitude to her and everything that she contributed during her stay.

community self developmentShelly joined us around six and a half months ago. She originally only planned to stay for three months, but was gaining so much from her experience here that she decided to extend her stay. She joined our community as a resident to work on personal development, receive the love she deserves (from herself as well as others), and to reconnect with herself. As a result of working in a stressful environment, Shelly suffered from burnout, something many of us experience in our lives. Eventually, she became disconnected from what she felt was her true self. She decided she needed a quiet, farm-like environment, where she could have a simple routine and could wake up with the rising sun. Thinking such a place might be difficult to find, she mentioned this to a friend, and luckily for us, her friend spoke to Shelly about New Life.

Our New Life website has a very inspiring video which shows the success stories of many of our members, past and present. During the film, two cows, Bella and Blossom, were mentioned. However, at the end of the video it was revealed that there was also a third cow. This confused Shelly and was the final thing that she needed for her to make a decision: she needed to know the mystery of this third cow! And she did (the unidentified cow was our lovely Rose).

It took Shelly a few weeks to find her footing here, get comfortable with the routine, and find her place. Once she did, she blossomed and was a great asset to the community. Her creativity was stimulated, and it inspired others, too. A few days into her stay, whilst exploring our grounds, Shelly stumbled onto a small shack near our lake. It was neglected and collecting dust, but she thought it could be something very special. Shelly did a lot of creative things within the foundation, but her idea for the Pump House Time Machine was absolutely brilliant.

The Pump House really is tiny, but with her skills and her inventive mind, Shelly imagined a miniature art gallery, tied in with the idea of a time capsule. She started the project of renovating the shack with another long-term volunteer, Dan. When it came time to involve the community members, it was impossible to say no to Shelly’s enthusiasm and smile. Many of us pulled together and created tiny pieces of art to display in the gallery. Even those who didn’t consider themselves artistic joined in on the fun.

Shelly and Dan both worked really hard to renovate the Pump House, and we’re sure you’ll all agree that it looks amazing. Shelly’s hope is that future community members will continue to add miniature pieces of art to the gallery and leave their mark. She hopes to come back to us in the near future and visit the Pump House and see all of the beautiful pieces of art that old and new members have contributed.

Not only did she come up with the idea for the Pump House, she completely reorganised and cleared out our storage room, played midwife to one of our cats when she had a litter, organised a pizza party for the opening of our new adobe recreation hall, and much more.

Another cherished member has come and gone. Her bubbly personality and her ability to light up any room she walks into will be truly missed. We thank her for her imaginative ideas and for bringing to life a tiny, overlooked hut. All of us wish Shelly all the best in her journey. It’s not goodbye, just, ‘See you soon’!

Reece is the daughter of one of our Life Coaches here at New Life and has visited us three times as a resident and also a volunteer. She contributes to the ZenMindBodyLife website.

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