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Entries in cultivate (3)

Wednesday
Aug152012

Gameplan

Affirmations on the High Line in NYC this summerExcuse the radio silence.

It's just that when I chose cultivate as my word for the year I imagined turning the soil and planting things and weeding and tending and seeing things grow before my very eyes.  I thought I would have lots of inspired or insipiring things to report here.

I forgot about all the waiting.

There seems to be a state of suspended animation involved in cultivation - or at least I'm trying to have faith that that's the case, because it would be worse to believe that nothing is happening at all.  I'm not even sure what I'm waiting for, to be frank, which is where the faith comes in.  And you probably know by now that faith is not precisely my native space.

What is more comfortable for me is practice, and sharing, and connection and just the right amount of too-much-to-do to push me forward.  Plus the downhill slide of summer, some upcoming adventures, and the urgent pull to dust myself off and start again, exactly where I am, right now.

Wednesday
Jan112012

Gardening by Moonlight

The Farmer's Almanac (and my favorite gardeners) say to plant seeds while the moon is waxing.  Planting them at night is optional.  The thinking is that just as the moon controls the tides, it shifts the way the water moves through the soil.  Seeds are thought to absorb more water as the moon grows full, and to grow into healthier plants.

My mom is one of those gardeners, the keeper of the greenest thumb I know and an expert in nurture.  It occurs to me that she has become highly attuned to fertile ground.  For Christmas, my mom gave me the audio book of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way.  She knew I was feeling overwhelmed, so she assured me that it's a very affirmative listen even if you're not actually doing the 12-week program Cameron lays out in the book.  She also knows that I'm a sucker for a good idea, especially when it is presented at the right time.  So it probably came as no surprise to her when I called home saying I want to do those morning pages.  That's in the category of cultivate, for sure.

The practice is to write three pages of stream-of-consciousness each morning.  It can be dull, fragmented, repetitive, but the idea seems to be to get the gunk out of your system and onto paper first thing each day. You're not even really supposed to go back and read the writing, at least for the first couple of months.  (For those keeping count, this would bring my list of morning practices to morning pages, meditate, run.  I'm not clear on what order those things should happen or how early I would need to get up in order to make them happen before Ezra wakes.  I'm trying not to think about that, or to acknowledge how much the running part of the balance has fallen off the program.)

Funnily, my mom gave me The Artist's Way about 15 years ago, and I remember reading it and thinking You have to write THREE PAGES? EVERY SINGLE DAY?  There is NO WAY I would ever do that.  That's just crazy.  I was young and dumb enthusiastic and drunk free, and too busy creating a reasonable facsimile of adulthood to consider whether I had anything else to create.

So here is a seed I planted in the dark as the moon grew fuller last week: a notebook, a good pen, and all the petty and banal thoughts and feelings that live inside me but don't deserve to see the light of day.  I never thought that would feel like a luxury, but this week it does.  I don't know quite what I'm cultivating with this, but it feels a little bit like throwing down a handful of mixed wildflower seeds.  It'll be interesting, as the seasons change, to see just what takes root.  Maybe something will even bloom.

Sunday
Jan012012

One Little Word

A small gift from Etsy's Angel Funk, which immediately seemed like the totem I need this year. How did she know?Is it true that one little word can change my life in the coming year?  I was introduced to the practice of choosing one word for the year through the creative community I found in 2011.  One word to point myself toward.  One word to meditate on, bounce off, spin around.  One word to be my Polaris, the intention around and through which I navigate 2012.  People I know or read have chosen words like inspire, create, witness, surrender, thrive.  I thought about what I want the theme of my next year to be, what feels vital, positive, and active.  I chose

cultivate

(by which I mean)

nurture the conditions for the emergence of transformative growth

I think my work for the year is about learning to value the practice and the process more than the product.  About nurturing relationships, carving out both physical and emotional space to be inspired and to work.  About preparing the soil and trusting that there will be a satisfying harvest in the correct season.

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I look forward to sharing this journey here this year and hearing about yours. Did you choose a word?  What is it?  Why?

I send the dear community that gathers here my best wishes for an inspired 2012, full of delight.  Happy New Year!