#Cultivate2012 End of January Review

Can you believe we’re already one month into 2012? January has flown by so quickly. It brought with it the fresh slate of a new beginning, the promise of big changes, and lessons in patience. Before beginning February, I thought it would be wise to review January to prepare ourselves for the next month of cultivating our lives. My prompt for you, should you choose to accept it:

What lessons did January 2012 teach you? Did January go as planned?

My January blended frustrations of 2011 with hopes for 2012. My irritation was tempered by reassurance that this chapter is drawing nearer to its end, and I need only to cultivate my patience to endure the last month (or two or three) of this situation. I expected to be purging and packing, but I’ve been searching within and outside of myself instead. While that wasn’t exactly my plan, it followed my intentions to cultivate myself and a life worth living. Searching for — and finding answers — within ourselves and in our surroundings can bring us peace of mind necessary to see the brighter things in life. I missed a few days of writing, but I know the missed days were needed absences to maintain myself.

This month I discovered a couple of similar projects, suffered from a few illnesses, and promoted my own project. I spent a good amount of free time brainstorming a conference, and next month I know I’ll finalize the details. It’s been a very productive and exciting month, and I’m even learning to be thankful for the downs because they make the ups that much sweeter. See you on the other side of the week tomorrow!


#MondayMeditations Manifestival Style

I’m so glad that Kirsten clued me into her collaborative project with Kathy because it’s been so deliciously perfect to pair with my Cultivate 2012 project. “Weeding and tilling of soil necessary to build from the foundations” — see what I mean? But whereas my project has been an open-ended check in sort of project, they have taken to running a full-on Manifestival over there. So many prompts and questions provoke my thoughts and begin spinning thousands of threads that all tie together. Last year I created another list of 101 goals for 1001 days, and these women have inspired me to sit down with those goals and mold them into a manifesto. Because I took a day to plan ahead and schedule publishings, I’ve got a whole week to be with myself and focus on goals, intentions, self-care, and cultivation. It’s time to take a big leap instead of tip-toeing around my ideas. (Look for the keyword “leap” later this week.)

It would seem I don’t have the space or resources to create a physical manifestation board, so I’m going to finally make us of my Pinterest account to pin together inspiration and motivation. I’ll need to sit down with my planner and my cell phone to schedule bed time, writing time, exercise time, and quiet time. On the days in which I squeeze those actions in, I feel refreshed and peaceful. Bed time is especially important. It may sound silly, but a well-rested body is a more functional body. I’m not ready to sacrifice my body to a sedentary retirement, and I don’t believe a sedentary retire is the dream for me, either. It’s also time to learn to love myself — no more negative self-talk. Look at what I’ve accomplished this month alone: I’ve started the Cultivate 2012 project and have grown a following. Instead of locking away my genius, telling myself it doesn’t exist, I’m embracing it and sharing it with the world. I’m inviting others to embark upon a journey to live our lives to the fullest, to care for ourselves in a loving and nurturing way, and to make time to cultivate those lives we want to live. Instead of living by my saying “some times stupid comes out of my mouth,” I’m choosing to to live by a new saying: “Some times I speak brilliance.” It’s not meant to be egotistical either — it’s meant as a confidence booster. We should all focus on boosting our self-confidence in order to cultivate ourselves and those lives we want to live, and I especially know that a good confidence boost makes life a lot brighter and happier. When I feel good about myself, I smile more. I share more. I love more. And that’s the kind of life I want to live — a life of love, laughter, and happiness.


#365Altars Chilly Writing Conditions

The mood to write finally struck me. I prepared an extensive list of topics and idea, hungrily anticipating the moment when I’d get to tap my fingers upon the keys, releasing my thoughts and ideas into binary (im)permanence. Slowly but surely the afternoon wore on, and each passing moment made me more aware of the fact that I was the only one who planned on my writing time today. Being in a fairly stubborn mood — and too good of a mood to throw myself across the bed in a defeated slump — I set to work exploring my options outside. Only one electrical outlet afforded me this luxury, but I’m resourceful. An extension cord! Yes, an extension cord would length my tether, providing a comfortable, quiet, and serene location for my laptop to absorb precious energy (the battery no longer functions, and more pressing matters require funds at the moment). Untangling, unwrapping, and stretching out, the cord reached with room to spare. Gloves, a scarf, a blanket, and some shoes made the 52 degree weather bearable. Water bottle, laptop, and gear in tow, I found the defunct futon in dry, squishy, comfortable shape. The wind brushes through my hair and against my face, carrying the songs of birds chirping happily above the flowing creek. If only the sun were on this side of the house right now. I shiver slightly, but I stay diligent with my gloved fingers, typing and expressing myself in a creative manner similar to the days before I had an audience outside of myself. A strong breeze roars through the tree tops before finally making it’s way through the woods and in between the fibers of my blanket. Can I really manage through several more posts? Yes, yes I can. I’m determined. I’m ambition. I’m filled with the promise of a week with 3 days of ending and 4 days of beginning. It’s a magical sort of week when ends fuse with beginnings. Cautiously, I remove my right glove to better access my touch pad. It’s cold, but I must mouse over to other fields if I’d like to see my words enter cyber-space.


#ThankfulThursday Another List

Let’s chase away the crummy mood with a list of things to be grateful for!

  • A simmering pot of ground turkey chili, bubbling away in all its beauty
  • A day off — meaning time to make a fresh hot batch of cornbread to accompany said chili
  • Making peace with the rainy weather and calling it a pajama day
  • A page filled with pink-inked ideas for a conference close to home
  • Warm tea to soothe tight, inflamed airways
  • The knowledge that I do not, in fact, need to hurry up about dinner — it’s my day off!

Even when a bad day comes to call, a nice little list always helps brighten my perspective.



#MondayMeditations Cultivating Yourself While Sick

I’ve been suffering from my first infection of 2012 for the past six days. Working outside the home makes it fairly difficult to get the proper rest and self-care that I need, but overall I’ve made it a point to drink as much fluids (preferably warm) to flush my system. While at home, I’ve made sure to sit down and rest when I can — of course, having children makes that a bit difficult, as well. However, I’ve done incredibly well. I discovered that I love gingerbread spice tea (and unless I get a paid for endorsing the brand, I leave it to my readers to figure out the brand name). Yesterday I took a wee bit of my energy to clean up the bath tub and treat myself to a relaxing soak. Some times when I’m sick, a good soak in a tub filled with warm water calms me down and sucks out the illness. It may only provide temporary relief, but it certainly is nice to just relax in the water.



Upon the physical manifestation of my altar sits a pair of candles, flickering away with the scent of apples and cinnamon, filling the air with their sweet scent. Hints of lemon steeped through my herbal infusion tickle my taste buds, or what little remain after scorching them in hopes of that first sip of freshly brewed tea. Weak, I ponder the concept of soaking. Energy must be summoned to clean the tub, making it acceptable for a good, relaxing bath. I contemplate the ingredients to dump in the running water — salt, tea tree oil, scented soaps — to soothe my condition. I don’t like being congested, and I don’t like the sound of my scratchy, wheezy voice. Above all else, I hate feeling weak and tired, dizzy and faint. A pot of freshly made soup could help, but today I’ve relinquished dinner duties to a man who’s sole purpose for the day seems to be making me smile. A small smile spreads across my face as I realize he’s been most successful in his attempts. Who am I to complain if someone else wishes to wash the laundry? Busy work, that’s what it is. It’s busy work that prevents me from sitting here, being creative, attempting to show instead of telling. Attempting to bring forth that which is typically stifled in a sea of to-do’s and requests. I stare up at the candles, wondering if I’m up to the task of wiping down that tub. After a deep breath, I go forth to soak — to let my mind wander and daydream about healthier days.


#Manifestival2012 Intentions

Yesterday I set aside time for me — time to hang out at my favorite little cafe, sipping tea, savoring chocolate, writing, and being with myself. (And hooray! Someone else paid my tab for me! How sweet was that! I wish I could have thanked those wonderful women!) I’ve been craving alone time to just sit and hear myself think, listen to the thoughts that arise, and let the words flow from my finger tips. Admittedly, weeks 2 and 3 of 2012 haven’t been as cultivating as they should have been. In fact, this past week has been downright ridiculous. It was like a page straight out of 2011, and I wanted to shake that right off. I needed this therapeutic time to allow myself permission to give myself my undivided attention.

I brought along my laptop, a lovely new spiral notebook I got for Christmas, my little journal, and my planner. I’ve already scheduled another visit for the next payday, which also happens to be a day off. Of course, I may bring along my husband for some couple time, but as it stands this place is like a therapist’s office to me. I come here, they treat me like a valued guest, and I enjoy delicious food and drink in a peaceful, lovely environment. Today’s particularly overcast, but the low lighting works just fine. It’s not like an uncomfortably bright room in which you feel blinded by fluorescent noise. It’s like… home. It’s my sanctuary, where I’m free to writing happily and sip something warm and comforting. I’m free to be me.

I’ve been implored by this week’s manifestival prompt to reflect on 2011 and the themes each month had. So, I literally opened a new tab to review my posts for each month, jotted notes in my spiral, and meditated a bit on what each month’s theme was. Here’s what I came up with, no explanations given:

  1. January: Processing
  2. February: A New Hope
  3. March: Quiet Reverberance
  4. April: Critical Mass/ Meltdown
  5. May: Health Crisis
  6. June: Letting Go of Guilt
  7. July: Financial Crisis/ Social Withdrawal
  8. August: Settling for Less
  9. September: Attempting to Balance
  10. October: Swallowing a Tough Pill
  11. November: Focusing
  12. December: Preparation (for 2012)

Last year was filled with more than its fair share of downs and not enough ups. I struggled financially, mentally, and physically. My hopes and dreams were shattering around me, faster than I could piece them back together. This year I’d like to take those shattered remains, plant them, nurture them, and watch them grow into something even bigger than I could have hoped for. What finally went well for me was to embrace those who embraced me — no more flailing and chasing after someone would didn’t even bat an eyelash before casting me aside. The wonderful people who come here and read, comment, and express their contentment with my work are the ones who deserve my time and attention. And in fact, I learned a good lesson last year — the lesson that I must remain firmly grounded throughout my life, no matter how successful or unsuccessful I become. While it wasn’t an enjoyable year, it was a year of teachable moments, guiding me to a clearer understanding of myself, my flaws, and my talents.

It is my intention this year to become successful. I must focus. I must have discipline. I must balance. I must be patient. And above all else, I must learn all that I can. I have the resources to do so, lying dormant in my files. I cannot allow 2012 to be a repeat of 2011. I must cultivate myself — cultivate a life worth living. If it’s worthwhile, it’s worth the effort to cultivate it. And in case you hadn’t noticed, that’s my theme for 2012: cultivation.


#Cultivate2012 Mid-Month Review

Let’s review our month so far. What have you been doing to cultivate a life worth living? What challenges have you faced so far? What solutions can you brainstorm to overcome those challenges? I’ll go first…

I’m facing the very real probability that moving day has become an indefinite again. I anticipated a higher monthly income, but the nature of my circumstances is such that I’m still incapable of getting that shiny new place. I found a place that seemed almost too good to be true, even — and it was. The pet deposit was obscene. You cannot claim to be pet friendly if you charge a per-pet pet deposit — it’s the same carpeting that would be replaced once. Asides from the carpeting, I can’t imagine what else they’d need money for. I paid a $100 pet deposit once for any and all pets I’d ever have when I lived in my last apartment complex. But I digress. I’m faced with the probability that even March 1st may not be reasonable unless I take aggressive actions in order to remove myself from this situation. The ugly D-monster has been rearing its angry head, pinning me to the ground with a vengeance, telling me I’m not good enough to make it.

Those are my challenges. Now, I do have some ideas brainstormed to overcome these challenges, but I do need to maintain a certain level of ambiguity with regards to those ideas. Those actions are easier planned than completed, though. To some extent, I also have to rely on others to complete those actions, too. However, there are a great number of things I can do to cultivate a life worth living for the interim. It’s going to require allowing myself to feel anxious, angry, frustrated, and depressed when those emotions arise. When those emotions arise, it’s best not to try talking myself out of it. Instead, I need to care for myself. I need to step away from what I’m doing and whatever’s upsetting me, and I need to drink some water or tea and rest. It takes a lot more energy to be unhappy than it does to be happy, I’ve found. If I give myself some time to rest and recoup my energy, I can better face the challenges ahead of me. Admittedly, I haven’t been cultivating good sleeping habits anyway. I also haven’t enjoyed enough tea (or infusions, for that matter). A little simple self-care and solitude can make a huge difference in my outlook, and I need to stop approaching life as though these simple steps are unreasonable. They’re not. I’m human, and my energy reserves and limits are finite. I must accept that in order to cultivate a life worth living.

The dates may have changed, but situations and circumstances don’t change over night. It’s our responsibility to change our perspectives and our situations — which also can’t happen. That’s why the Cultivate project exists. It will take some time to cultivate ourselves and our lives, but it’s going to be a worthwhile journey.