Unleashing My Potential in Life

Compiled by Nick Chen (陳鼎棋)
                        Syharn Shen (沈思含)

Unleashing My Potential in Life

Compiled by Nick Chen (陳鼎棋)
                        Syharn Shen (沈思含)

Cai Xue-fen's life began to change after she became involved with Tzu Chi. Over the years, her beliefs and perceptions evolved, transforming her life into a calmer, more open, and brighter journey. (Photo by Da Ai TV)

Born in a rural area and raised in a large family, Cai Xue-fen (蔡雪芬) faced adversity early on when her father passed away. To help support the family and share the burden with her mother, who was left to raise four children alone, Cai started working right after middle school. With limited education, she felt inferior and became accustomed to working quietly, avoiding social interactions, which deepened her lack of confidence and introversion.

One day, she received a Tzu Chi Monthly magazine from a volunteer. One particular phrase caught her eye: "Everyone has unlimited potential; never underestimate yourself." These words struck a chord deep within her, igniting a desire for personal growth and breakthrough.

Cai Xue-fen cares for an elderly man in a nursing home. Reminded of her late father, she often finds herself deeply moved by the connections she forms with the elderly, cherishing the chance to provide the care and comfort she once wished to give her own father. (Photo by Yan Qi-shi)

After joining Tzu Chi, Cai took on various roles within the volunteer-based organization, including administrative tasks and leadership positions. These responsibilities pushed her out of her comfort zone, requiring her to interact with others, learn to use computers, manage emails, organize meetings, and even speak publicly. "The first time I went on stage and held a microphone, I was shaking so much that people thought I was cold and offered me a coat," she recalled with a laugh.

A significant moment in Cai's journey occurred in 2011 while she was caring for her ailing mother-in-law. As she offered water to her mother-in-law, it was painfully rejected; her mother-in-law's belly was already swollen, and she couldn't swallow a single drop. Seeing her mother-in-law in such pain, Cai burst into tears and resolved to make the most of her life and the opportunities before her.

Cai Xue-fen assists fellow volunteers in navigating electronic devices. (Photo by Yan Qi-shi)

Cai's dedication and hard work paid off as she gained confidence and skills through her volunteer work. She learned to handle the unexpected with grace, often reflecting on the teachings she had embraced. Whenever she faced challenges, she'd read "The Journey of Compassion" composed by Dharma Master Cheng Yen (證嚴上人), which encouraged compassion, patience, determination, and gratitude amidst great challenges. Reading those verses, Cai's troubles and worries would soon dissipate.

By 2023, Cai had become an integral part of the Tzu Chi community, mentoring new volunteers and contributing significantly to major events. Her experiences transformed her from a quiet housewife into a capable and confident leader, and her journey taught her that with willingness and effort, people truly have unlimited potential.

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