What would your perfect work day be like?
Kat writes: Whatever scenario that you have conjured, how does it make you feel when you picture yourself in it?
I’ve imagined the perfect day (work or otherwise) so many times that I suspect my head is a cloud itself at this point. I feel free and happy. I feel relaxed and nourished. I feel nurtured and nurturing at the same time. I feel inspired and inquisitive. I feel at peace. This prompt brings me back to a task to created a “painted picture” of my life — similar to conjuring this scenario of the perfect day. At first I felt compelled to respond to this prompt by attempting to create that painted picture. Then I realized it would defeat the purpose of feeling those feelings while imagining what that perfect day would be like. It also brings me back to The Desire Map and its CDFs (core desired feelings). Everything is tying together right now, and I feel that this is my sign to get back to cultivating the life worth loving so I can enjoy feeling free, happy, relaxed, nourished, nurturing, inspired, and peaceful.
I’m batching yesterday and today’s prompts since I missed yesterday.
What do you love?
Kat writes: Say someone found all of this evidence many years after you’d gone: what conclusions would they draw about the things/ideas/people you loved?
I think whoever found all this evidence would be kind of confused. I’ve never been one to get pigeon-holed into one category or another. I think the biggest conclusion they’d draw about me would be that I had a varied taste, a love for life, and cared deeply about people who touched my heart. I wasn’t biased. I also wasn’t afraid of different — or of unpopular. They’d see the artwork on my walls, put their by my children, and realize that I certain was no Martha Stewart, either. I wasn’t fond of scrubbing crayon and markers off the walls.
What’s hiding in your closet?
Kat writes:What, in your wardrobe, feels most like you?
First off: my work clothes aren’t fair game here, so we’re going to ignore most of the clothing I wear 5 days a week. When left to my own devices, I seem to select feminine pinks and purples or earthy greens, oranges, and browns. I’ve got a ton of clothes that fit into that “someday” category — pants from before I had my babies, dresses that were worn for singular occasions. When it comes time to relax and settle in for the night, I prefer loose fitting pajama tops and bottoms. I love fleece pants and socks during the winter months. I’ve got a favorite jacket that’s older than my daughter, and I really don’t care that I’ve worn a huge whole into the right elbow of it. I’ve got a love for scarves and added several to my collection last year. Overall, the persona I wear says bright, fun, and flirty. It says I’m a bit of a hippy — and that’s okay.
What is it that you do now?
Kat writes: What sorts of themes are emerging from your list? What is missing?
I’m not up to sharing the whole list — really, there’s a boundary that I’m not willing to cross here. However, the overbearing theme emerging from even a quick mental inventory is that I’m not focusing on that which matters most. I’m spending too much time on auto-pilot, too much time on other people’s dreams, and not enough time cultivating a life worth loving. I’m missing that sparkle I once felt. I’m missing the feeling of connectedness within my soul. I don’t write nearly as much as I used to — or as much as I need to, for that matter. Writing is a form of self-care for me. I’ve neglected myself in that regard. I don’t spend enough time cultivating relationships to grow my business. Without these bonds, I’m floating aimlessly in a sea of binary code. I don’t spend enough time enjoying the present. My family needs me to stop, take a deep breath, and cherish every moment. I don’t need to dwell on our troubles. I don’t give myself enough positive reinforcement or spend enough time soaking up positive vibes from positive people. (Seeing a pattern here?)
A couple years back, I called it Operation Summer Vacation. Maybe it’s time once again to revisit this mindset so I can get back to myself.
Set an intention.
Kat writes: On this first day together, in the light of the beautiful full moon, I invite you to share what is it that you want to explore over the next two weeks. In particular, I invite you to consider the crossroads at which you find yourself, in any aspect of your life.
The word “crosswords” has been floating around me for over a year now. I’m at a fork in the road — and I’m not talking about a two or even three pronged fork here — and have been standing still in confusion for quite some time. I used to have a very clear vision of who I was, what I wanted, where I was going, and how I was going to get there. And then one day, my life came crashing down. Although I had the best of intentions to persevere and prove my strength, I’ve been beaten down to the point of near destruction. I’m at rock bottom trying to crawl out of the hole and heal my shattered soul while nursing my traumatized family.
I have several options going forward, but I still feel a small piece of me yearning for that life I had begun to cultivate before January 16th, 2013 derailed my dreams. I think the very best intention to set now would be to explore that yearning — dip my toes in once again to get a feel for that dream. I intend to take time to explore my options while remaining fully present. I intend to start over with my Cultivate project. I intend to draw inspiration from Kat to host my prompt series once again.
Set your intention(s) for 2014. It can be something as simple as setting an intention to choose happiness to something as grandiose as a list of major accomplishments. Use your best judgment, and keep in mind that you want to cultivate a life worth loving.
I intend to finish the second half of 2014 cultivating happiness by simply choosing to be happy.
What do you need to let go of to cultivate your best life in 2014?
I find myself coming back time and time again saying that I need to let go of my expectations, but I never truly focus on doing just that. I really and truly need to let go of my expectations because those pesky little buggers disappoint me all the time. And I mean all. the. time! I’m also really needing to let go of this need to keep stuff “just in case.” It’s time to let go and bless someone else with something they need and lack. I’ve been too quick to revert inside my shell, hiding away, and avoiding all these things that need to be done so I can cultivate my life worth loving. I’m not thriving, and I’m tired of feeling like a big fraud — coming here and preaching thriving instead of surviving. It’s time to let go and start living.
What are the tiny ways you can cultivate courage in 2014?
It’s funny in a way. Kat quoted Mary Ann Radmacher as saying “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’.” For much of the last 16 months, that has been my courage — telling myself that I’ll try again the next day. I’d go to bed and tell myself that the day was over, I had made it through another day, and the next day was a fresh sheet of paper to write on. That was probably how I cultivated strength during the most difficult trials of my life. That was how I cultivated courage for 16 months. Now that I’ve reached the climax of the situation, knowing that next month will bring an end to this harassment, I know that I can continue to treat each day as a fresh canvas. Even if today isn’t perfect, I can pursue my dreams again tomorrow. Even if I fall short of my goals today, I can always try again tomorrow. As long as I keep trying, working, and doing, I can face each day with strength and courage. In the end, that’s what matters most.
How can you add more time with Mother Nature to your life this year?
Ugh. I seriously don’t get to enjoy myself enough — and that’s what this prompt pretty much nailed home for me. There are a few days here and there where I’ll take advantage of the beautiful deck I have behind my house. Of course, these days I feel like I’m not allowed to enjoy anything because of my life’s circumstances. This is ridiculous. I shouldn’t have to feel this way. I shouldn’t keep hitting this wall where I feel like I’m not living a life worth loving. I really couldn’t tell you how I could add more time with Mother Nature to my life, but I can tell you that I need to act quickly and accordingly. I think I would benefit greatly from approaching my Cultivate project as an outsider — returning to the origination of the project and responding according to how life’s working now. I’ve lost touch with my reasons for starting the project, and it’s time to get back to cultivating that life worth loving. Maybe while I review this project, I can sit outside in the fresh air and sunshine to soak in some of Mother Nature’s goodness while reevaluating myself and my life.
What do you do to welcome the new year? Do you have any special rituals? What are your plans to clear your space for this new year?
When I was growing up, my mom bought sparkling apple cider for my sister and me to toast to the new year. I’ve passed that ritual along to my children — and upgraded to real bubbly for myself. I also like to participate in year end writing series to process the year and plan for the next. While it’s already mid-May, it’s never too late to set some goals for the rest of the year. I plan to clear space literally by decluttering my belongings. We have items that are truly trash, items that could be donated, and some items that could be sold. The trash-worthy items will provide some bonfire fun for us. I also plan on figuratively clearing space by treating my body with more respect and setting aside more time to simply be — instead of constantly doing.
It’s kind of funny in a way. I haven’t been very active on my blog. I fell off the radar on Twitter for a while. I kind of started to just keep my social media to updating friends and family on Facebook. My posts mainly focus on my life’s circumstances. I tried to maintain my social presence last year, but a person can only last so long before the crushing weight of an enormous boulder forces you to focus more on less. To be quite honest, I realize that losing my presence was likely career suicide. I have a feeling that I basically need to rebuild from scratch in order to even continue dreaming of working from my laptop whenever and wherever I feel like it. I don’t even have the gumption to “lifestyle design” at this point — I just want to survive the times between leaving my bed and getting back into it. If I didn’t have all these responsibilities nagging me to be productive and functional, I’d likely not leave my bed at all. It’s really sick and twisted that an agency that’s purported to “help” can do so much emotional damage to a person’s psyche.
I’ve been a broken record with this, too — which is a big reason I’ve neglected my social media outlets. I don’t like being a whiner. I’m not here to whine and complain. I’m here to dream big, show gratitude, and share my journey of cultivating a thriving life worth loving. Only now, the person I want to be and the person I am are two completely different entities. Who’s got time to tweet about happiness and gratitude when they’re busy putting out proverbial fires and playing damage control? Who’s got the time to think about blogging when they’re too busy worrying about which bills need to be paid next and if the kids will notice the lack of meat in their dinner.
I guess I’m just afraid of letting this become my new “livejournal.” That was my place to gripe. Then we started moving along to Facebook and Twitter, and things changed. I guess if I were to set an intention for changing my social media habits, I would say that I need to treat social media the way I treat my gratitude journal. I need to process privately in my journal and rebuild my readership with the content I want to see here. But I also don’t want to waste this opportunity to raise awareness of a very real problem in our society. I don’t want to lose the opportunity to advocate for changing the system and giving more support to those who need it most.