#Cultivate2012 Intention for 2013

Intention for 2013: Set your intention(s) for 2013.

I sat with this all month. I hoped that some grandiose notion would come to me during my prompt responses. I finally sat to brainstorm ideas — and decided a list of 13 intentions for 2013 would be a great idea. So here are my intentions for 2013:

  1. Eat healthy.
  2. Exercise regularly.
  3. Cull wardrobe.
  4. Cull crap. (Clutter, junk — whatever you call it. I call it crap.)
  5. Maintain schedules and routines with family, friends, and cleaning.
  6. Be active within the community.
  7. Pursue my career aspirations.
  8. Transform my life.
  9. Transform my health.
  10. Transform my relationships.
  11. Transform my community.
  12. Be happy.
  13. Follow my heart daily.

#Cultivate2012 Affirmation

Affirmation: The strongest way to empower yourself is to affirm yourself and your goals. Write 10 affirmations to encourage you on your journey to cultivate your dreams.

1. I’m intelligent both from education and from my own self-directed studies.
2. I have the mental capacity to achieve my dreams.
3. I have all the resources I need within myself — I needn’t look any further than within.
4. I have a wonderful support network who are all behind me.
5. I offer a unique set of services with a unique personality and teaching style.
6. I dig deep to stay happy and make others feel happy.
7. I make the most of my life’s circumstances.
8. I have brilliant ideas.
9. I’m a rock star.
10. I can achieve my dreams and fulfill my intentions.


#Cultivate2012 Achieve

Achieve: Let’s get even deeper into planning our next steps and ways around barriers. Identify how you’d like to feel and live when you succeed with your intentions. Review your map, actions, and barriers. What other things can you do to reach your goals?

I’d like to feel relieved, free, and effortlessly happy when I reach the clearing in the woods — when I find my way across the canyon. I need a good spot to get a running start before I leap towards my desired prize.

Besides identifying my options, choosing wisely, and working within the boundaries of reason, I have to study and research. I need to know what I’m doing with such confidence and knowledge that I cannot possibly fail. I must prepare myself to succeed. I must build my health, strength, and confidence. My body and mind aren’t properly prepared for the changes I must make in order to thrive and cultivate a life of happiness. I must feed myself good food, give myself time to move, and take time to release my thoughts and emotions through a medium that suits me best.


#Cultivate2012 Barriers

Barriers: Roadblocks always seem to pop up. How can you plan for these barriers that will inevitably thwart your plans?

My path is obstructed by income limits, the need to feed and provide healthcare for my family, and the isolation of my location. To make more money, I need to make under a certain amount to continue my children’s medical care. (Currently, I’ve hit that ceiling.) Alternatively, I need to make enough to be able to afford the benefits that negate the need to limit myself. I’m within a community that won’t easily allow me to cross that gap. Traveling to nearby Chattanooga increases the budget for gas and decreases the effectiveness of a higher income. My distance makes me less desirable as a candidate for one of those jobs, too. I’m also blocked by my late decision to pursue a potential career as a teacher. I don’t have the same credentials as my peers, and it will take a great effort on my part to compete for a teaching position.

I know that I really desire to make the home my base. I really want to make my workshops, eCourses, products, and services negate the need to entertain alternative plans. However, my roadblocks seem far too great to simply leap over. I feel that I must carefully side-step them in order to sprint towards that dream. I don’t know how to get to a safe point with that, and no one I know has walked that path before. I cannot find wise counsel in that regard. I also need my down time to rest and recover so long as I’m on this current path. I need to find a away to make my life more comfortable sooner. Unfortunately, Uncle Same doesn’t encourage free-form thinkers. He encourages the worker bees who are willing to follow pre-set paths. He penalizes the ones who want to cater to a niche based on our own expertise. It’s easier to bear your teeth and show him your nails when you don’t have babies to worry about. To protect my family, I must be logical and rational. I can’t be too big of a dreamer right now because I must ensure their health.

[Please note: if you disagree with my last few sentences, do not simply state your disagreement. Offer me examples of why I’m wrong and ways in which to make my dreams come true. You’ll do me much better to offer words of construction and encouragement than to berate me for saying something you disagree with.]


#Cultivate2012 Action

Action: You’ve envisioned your map — now what’s the next step? What actions must you take to cultivate your dreams?

Now that I’ve envisioned my map — my dreams — I’m ready to plan my next steps. First and foremost, I must identify ways in which to change everything. I must identify what decisions I must make in order to embark upon this new chapter. I’m writing a story of a life, and I want that life to be one worth loving. I want to look back fondly — I want to marvel over my ambitious spirit and prevailing nature.

To cultivate my life worth loving, I must explore my options. I’m considering two or three career choices that can help me find my way out of the woods. I run the risk of running off a cliff and falling into a deep ravine. I need to remember that my “forest” includes a canyon. I have to keep that vision of a canyon on my map. I need to tread carefully and intentionally. There is no longer room for error. I’ve become too old to continue making the same mistakes. I must think and act cautiously. And so I must identify my options and decide wisely. My next step could land me on jagged rocks and thorny brush.


#Cultivate2012 Map

Map: Imagine a map existed, guiding you towards your dreams. Try to envision the route. How are you going to map out your dreams for 2013?

The current path has me following a map that leads a circle. I’m lost in the woods. I’m passing the same landmarks over and over again. The weather and time may change these same old landmarks, but they mock me just the same. I need to find my way out of the woods. I need to stop returning to the worn, circular path that traps me in anxiety and frustration. I feel so hopelessly lost, and I can’t live this way anymore. It’s time to veer off this hellish path. It’s time for a compass and a plan.

The dark road ahead won’t give me any clues as to what lies in wait. I simply know where I’d like to arrive. I’d like to find the clearing by December 2013. I’d like to find my way out of the poverty trap by then. My means to this end may not be a known yet, but I’m tired of living this life of debt and poverty. I’m envisioning a higher income and benefits by the end of 2013. I’m envisioning a background that paves the way to home-ownership. I’m dreaming of a map that gives me directions to my desires. I’m dreaming of finding a better way to live. I’m dreaming of entering my 30s as a more capable adult who doesn’t even need to rely on programs that could cease to exist at any point.

So I’m drawing a map. I’m trying to think rationally about following the course. I’m packing my resources and provisions for the treacherous journey that could await me. I’m rounding up a group of companions to help me fight my way through the dark forest of uncertainty. I plan to find my way out triumphantly. Failure is no longer an option. Finding happiness is a circle is no longer an option. There is no happiness in a rut. I must find my way — I must strive to fight my way to victory.


#Cultivate2012 Follow Your Heart

Follow Your Heart: Did you follow your heart this year? Where will you follow your heart to in 2013?

I tried my very best to follow my heart this year. I may not have always listened to it, but as the year draws to a close I feel that I’m living with intention and following my heart’s yearnings to live on purpose — to live a life worth loving, a life in which I’m thriving.

With 2013 approaching quickly, I’m planning to “listen to the whispers of [my] heart” more often. I temper it with my mind’s rationale, but I know that my heart’s desires are pure and logical. It’s alright to want a thriving life, and it’s alright to want to follow a path less trodden. I’m going to continue following my heart and living with intention.


#Cultivate2012 Gift

Gift: We cannot deny that December seems to hold a great many gift-giving holidays. What’s the best gift you gave to someone else this year?

The best gift I gave was a small, motorized car for my youngest son. He showed an interest in our neighbor’s daughter’s car, and he’s been so happy to go outside. and “drive” along the road. He sits in it with such a content smile.

The best gift I received was the money to pay off one of my smaller student loans and fix our van. My grandmother really saved the day for us by doing so, and it’s freed up funding to pay down other debts. I can’t express enough how happy I am to have two important things handled. We only have our van, and it means the difference between managing our lives and being stranded in a rural community.

The best gift I gave myself was this Cultivate project. I’ve explored so much within my psyche, and I’ve opened lots of doorways for myself to heal my wounds. I wouldn’t have achieved this state of peace if I hadn’t taken the initiative to change my life.


#Cultivate2012 Service

Service: Community service sounds terrifying to some people, but it’s necessary for a prosperous community. Was there something you contributed to your community this year? What can you do to help your community in 2013?

I didn’t do any service to my community, but at the time I was too busy cleaning up that which matters most. Now that I’ve gotten life in a stabilized state, I feel that I need to contribute something more to my community. I see so many projects that need at least one person to care enough to start.

I’d like to start an initiative to revive businesses at a few major intersections near my home. I also want to see businesses along a main route to Chattanooga revived and reopened. Our county needs more local jobs to support our local economy. We need  more than big box chains in a centralized section of a single town. Our county needs at least a little growth and change to boost our economy. I see too many dilapidated homes, too. Our residents deserve so much more than closed down businesses and run down homes. We deserve a beautiful community full of thriving families and businesses. Our children deserve better than this, too.


#Cultivate2012 Support and Connect

Support and Connect: We need to connect with a support group in our community in case one of us falls on hard times. How strongly connected are you and your support group? How can you cultivate support and connections next year?

I’ve got a loose connection to my support network. It feels mostly tethered by the bonds of Facebook, but I feel the connections strengthen as time passes. Next year I need to identify ways to cultivate these connections more — to offer more support to those who have supported me. I’d like to actually interact more often with my support network — outside of the workplace, as is the case for most of my friends in my support network. I’d like to share more. I’d like to give more. I’d like to do more. Perhaps as life continues to stabilize, I’ll have the ability to do so. Until then, I’m going to keep dreaming up ways to be a supportive connection for those I care about.