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Xiaojie's letter | # 20 CandleX's two years now. But where am I?

Xiaojie Qin Founder and Executive Director of CandleX

To my dearest CandleXers,

The last time I wrote a personal email to CandleX’s followers and friends was about July 2016.

When I first started CandleX, I used to write a newsletter that was sent out to everyone who had ever been in contact with us.

Sometimes, it was my story,

Sometimes, it was about our new initiatives,

Other times, it was about my reflections on life.

The first friends of CandleX were an intimate group made up of my own dear friends.

Ayutthaya, Thailand 2017

Then, I paused,

Because things started to push this #20 email back,

Again and again,

For a year now!

In two years,

We have grown from a team of 1 to a team of 12,

We have progressed from working on one project at a time,

To tackling countless projects at the same time.

We went from only communicating via email,

To managing a website, WeChat, and other social platforms.

We went from working by ourselves,

To working with partners.

I haven’t ever designed a clear path for CandleX to follow,

Rather, I envision a way the world could be.

This vision has been leading me

Along a path where opportunities present themselves,

And contacts with people who share this vision are made.

It’s been a journey of excitement, fulfilment, creativity, appreciation, and life changing moments

Bankgok, Thailand 2017

Flowers and Photo credit: Wild Cherry

I’ve been constantly working, constantly.

Many nights, I work till bedtime.

Many days, I am just trying my best to cross things off my calendar.

Many times, I am busy checking in with everyone else around me on how they are feeling.

Many moments, I think about my bucket list, I feel like it’s thousands of miles away from me.

Then, one thing happened,

I took a break the other day,

I had no idea.

My body and mind seemed to have a spot of emptiness and disconnection,

It made me anxious.

How can I find myself in such discomfort,

while I am simultaneously energized, inspired, and thankful?

Pour le cube : suivez les flèches

I still don’t have a full explanation.


It reminds me of the rule of thumb I established for our team

Ayutthaya, Thailand 2017

Don’t try to carry the world on your shoulders,

There are always going to be people who need help.

Don’t drive yourself crazy

By trying to bring sanity back to people.

Don’t stray from joy,

Make work fun, for you!

Don’t get distracted from opportunities,

Ask yourself if you are taking advantages of them, or if they are taking advantage of you!

Ironically, I find it hard to live by this teaching.

Maybe the hardest part is,

if you teach,

you have to live your teaching.

–Maya Angelou

Stretched and Contorted Porcelain Face Sculptures by Johnson Tsang

Now CandleX is 2 years old, and where am I?

Where am I when I am emotionally fatigued but still receive heavy messages asking for help?

Where am I when we have so many gaps in this organization, and never enough resources?

Where am I when a passing opportunity winks and my calendar is full?

Where am I when I feel so full, but I have this piece of emptiness in my heart?

I am running back and forth on both sides of the voices,

I am excited and motivated, while being on the edge of burning out,

I am feeling confused, but also I see my life with such clarity,

I am being consumed and recharged at the same time.

So there it is, maybe.

That empty space is there

To remind me to check in with myself.

No running,

No covering it up,

No straying away.

A space that I can so very much use to bring myself back.

Life doesn't live in the future - where all your problems are solved and all your goals are met,

It’s here, when I take some time for myself.

I heard this while meditating a few days ago:

Where this is no struggle,

There is no strength.

Inner strength comes from being challenged,

from facing adversities.

The pain that makes you want to throw your hands up and shout, “I give up!”

can build your courage and determination.

We all have the ability to stand up and

Face resistance,

and walk through it.

If you feel you are walking into fear,

Know that you already have the enduring power that you are asking for.

Then say thank you,

Because you know in your truest core,

That your deepest struggle will produce your deepest strength.

Oprah Winfrey, Meditation on Hope in Uncertain Times, Day 10: The Reality of Inner Strength.

It helped me to see my struggle, confusion, and frustration in a different light.

Where am I now?

My fingertips found the new equilibrium as my thoughts settle, on Facebook!

With Compassion, Connection and Love,


PS: don’t miss out our rooftop yoga, every year from April to Oct. In the open air on the rooftop of a Beijing hutong, we nurture our bodies, and allow our minds to rest. There is where I go to balance myself. Join me?

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