#Cultivate2012 End of February Review and Prompt

When February began, I said we’d be taking leaps. Here’s your prompt for today: What leaps did you take in February to cultivate yourself?

I began February with high hopes, but I seemingly missed my opportunities. Instead of throwing in the towel and abandoning my project, I’m choosing to turn the page on February and welcome March with a renewed sense of hope. We might not get do overs, but we do have the power to leave the past where it belongs. I may, however, abandon plans to hold a conference. I haven’t seen enough interest in the Cultivate 2012 project to warrant a conference this year, so I’m going to put those energies into other efforts. That’s not to say there couldn’t be a Cultivate 2013 conference.

The Cultivate 2012 project started as a means to help me help myself, with a tiny bit of hope that I could touch someone else’s life in the process. I’d be content at the end of the year if the only life I touch with this project is my own. If you’re content with your life as it is, by all means keep relishing it. But if you, like me, see room for improvement, take the time to be proactive and cultivate those improvements.


#Cultivate2012 Self-Love

Happy Valentine’s Day, cultivators! Regardless of your opinions of the holiday, today is a great day to spend some time with yourself to take care of yourself — to cultivate that life you want to live. We’re mid-way through February, so it’s time to check in with ourselves to see how we’re progressing in our plans to cultivate ourselves. Here’s the mid-February Cultivate 2012 prompt:

Take some time today — a few minutes, an hour, whatever you can manage — to write a love note to yourself. Tell yourself what you love about you, and make a promise to yourself to take better care of yourself.

You don’t have to share what you come up with, but you do need to discipline that negative self-talk. Whatever negative thoughts come to mind need to be chastised with words of love and encouragement.

Edgewater Drive


#Cultivate2012 February Prompt

Welcome to February 2012! This month is very exciting because we’ve got 29 whole days to work on cultivating ourselves, thanks to 2012 being a leap year. This month I want to take that word — leap — and absolutely leap with it. We’re going to take leaps to cultivate ourselves and our lives, and I’m very excited to share February 29th, 2012 with all of you. Here’s the February Cultivate 2012 prompt:

What leaps can you take this month to cultivate a life worth living? They say it takes baby steps, but let’s vigorously leap at the chance to life our lives to the fullest and make the most of our extra day this year.

This month I’m going to take a leap to finalize my plans for the Cultivate 2012 conference. I’m going to take a leap to invite some stellar people who I think will make this conference shine. I’m going to take a leap to take better care of myself — no more planning baby steps that I forget to take. I’m going to take a leap for myself and my family to finally make our financial situation one that can afford us the luxury of our very own place. I’m going to take a leap for myself and my business by getting the word out there and putting offerings, services, and products out there. I’m going to take a leap with my designs and my writing, and I’m going to wow all of you with dazzling words. My outlook for February calls for blue skies, puffy cumulus clouds, sunny days, and pleasant temperatures. My February calls for throwing up the sash, letting that fresh air breeze in, and further cultivating a life worth living.


#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 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.


#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.


#365Altars by Wholly Jeanne

Let me premise this by saying that if you’re not following @whollyjeanne, you should. She’s brilliant and packed full of Southern charm. This year she’s created 365 Altars, meant to “honor our deepest sumptuous selves.” Honoring myself daily also ties into cultivating myself. In order to cultivate a life worth living, I need to honor myself. So I’m participating in this project — on and offline. Even if you don’t see a post, I’m practicing offline mostly. That’s really the point, I think. So far I’ve been honoring myself with writing time, coloring time, exercise time, plenty of water, and as much nourishing food as I can squeeze out each day. I’d like to increase my sunshine quotient, too, but the weather needs to cooperate on a certain level.

So if you haven’t yet noticed, I’m following along with three other projects that feed into my Cultivate project. Each project incorporates ideas to better ourselves and our lives. This year I’m cultivating a life worth living by honoring my deepest sumptuous self, attending the Manifestival, and living the list!


#Manifestival2012: Making Space

Last week I was introduced to a complementary project called Manifestival, which essentially encourages us much like how Cultivate encourages us. Both projects aim to help us achieve our goals and dreams, and I feel that incorporating this sister project will facilitate the cultivation process. During its first week, Manifestival focused on making space in various aspects of our lives. It’s been a lot to digest and process, and they have slowed down a bit to allow participants the opportunity to fully absorb the content. Thus far we’ve been encouraged to make space for nature, our home and objects, sounds and music, movement and meditation, and food and sustenance.

Given that I’m planning a move (that may be getting pushed to March 1st instead), making space resonates deeply with me. I especially need to make space with regards to our objects as we continue planning, packing, and downsizing. Moving has a way of inspiring us to purge the unnecessary items that we seem to mindlessly accrue over time. “I’m packing this why?” I definitely need to take more time to make more space for important items and to make the new space we’ll inhibit much less cluttered. Packing and unpacking frustrates me because too much junk can prolong the process.

Making space for food, sustenance, movement, meditation, sounds, music, and nature feeds directly into my motivation to cultivate a healthier lifestyle in which I’m thriving: mindfully preparing a nourishing, healthy meal; soaking in my surroundings using all five senses while taking a walk; getting lost in my favorite songs; quieting my mind so as to bring mental relaxation and rejuvenation.

I see a lot of promise in Manifestival. I highly recommend you follow it as a supplement or complement to Cultivate, just as I recommend following the Live the List Challenge. These projects are going to help us cultivate our dreams.


Introducing #Cultivate2012

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2012, a year in which I expect to come into my own as a leader instead of just a follower. I have a positive forecast for the year ahead. From moving to thriving, I plan to make the most of the next twelve months. I’m going to cultivate a life worth living. I’m going to cultivate myself as an individual. And I’m inviting you to cultivate with me. The year 2011 ended with a rather confusing spin on the Reverb series, but it was actually a very fortunate event because we were all inspired to make the most of our own creativity. I personally spent time contemplating how to branch off and form my own creative series, and the word “cultivate” kept dancing around in my thoughts. I wanted to do something that  requires reflection: reviewing what works and what doesn’t, remembering our accomplishments, and learning from our mistakes. I also wanted a lot more manifestation: nurturing and cultivating our dreams, passions, bodies, minds, souls, families, friends, etc. Cultivate builds upon the ideas behind the Best09 series and the Reverb series. Not only does it incorporate the creativity of the Reverb series, it also incorporates the concept behind Jasmine’s Project Totus. Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines the word “cultivate:”

1: to prepare or prepare and use for the raising of crops; also : to loosen or break up the soil about (growing plants)
2 a : to foster the growth of <cultivate vegetables> b : culture 2a c : to improve by labor, care, or study : refine <cultivate the mind>
3: further, encourage <cultivate the arts>
4: to seek the society of : make friends with

Cultivate is about growing as an individual and pursuing that which brings us happiness. It’s about taking the time to care for ourselves, our loved ones, and our environment (on both a micro and macro scale). Cultivate will consist of monthly prompts that involve checking in with ourselves and our intentions, as well as planning ahead. Cultivate will culminate in a month-long evaluation and planning phase each December, incorporating prompts and suggestions. There’s no pressure to complete each prompt, and there aren’t any rules — except to have fun and be kind to ourselves.

So let’s begin with January 2012’s Cultivate prompt: What is your personal outlook for 2012? What do you hope to accomplish this year? What do you need to nurture in order to cultivate your intentions? Write, sketch, color, photograph, create a vision board — do what feels right. 2012 is yours for cultivation! Use the hashtags #cultivate, #cultivate12, and #cultivate2012 to share your responses if you choose to share them publicly.

I hope you’ll join me on my journey to cultivate a life worth living. Check back tomorrow for my response to the prompt.