a. the planting, tending, improving, or harvesting of crops or plants
b. the preparation of ground to promote their growth
2. development, esp through education, training, etc.
There are days and weeks in my life that pass in a blur. Life can be jam-packed between the day job, running to daycare to pick-up my son, then home to feed him, bathe him, and put him to bed (on the nights my wife is out). By the time I turn his light off and recount his favourite story about a little choo-choo train on the Island of Sophia (or whoever from his class he wants to name his imaginary island after), my eyes are closed and I’m fighting off waves of exhaustion. And I still have my freelance work to get done!
Something can get lost in all that rushing — and that’s the cultivation of the things that matter to me. Don’t get me wrong, even on my busiest days there are always moments when I fully appreciate the time I am spending with Sevan, whether he is leaning against me as I read him a story or I’m tucking him in and giving him a big kiss goodnight. After all, it’s not just about being in the same physical space with him – or my wife, friends, or family. It’s about feeling connected and present.
I like the idea of cultivation as a daily mantra, because it implies slowing down, focusing, and consciously developing something – be it friendships, a profession/passion, or even fitness. Mindfulness is the key to peace, and when I’m not mindful – like I haven’t been lately – I’ve paid the price, feeling like Pig Pen with that dust cloud of negative feelings hovering over me.
A few weeks back, I began to address this lack of mindfulness by writing a list of the things I want to spend more time developing — from relationships to wellness. Even the cultivation of appreciation and gratitude for the things in my life (always wanting is exhausting). The reality is there is only 24 hours in the day, so I can’t cultivate every aspect of my life equally, but by listing and prioritizing the things that I truly value, I can focus on living and appreciating life to the fullest every day.
PS: A few days ago, I was lying on the living room floor, relaxing when my son plopped down on my chest. For countless minutes, we hung out there quietly. Then wordlessly we began playing games with each other’s hands. The sense of connection was profound, and I realized I would need to add silence to my list of things I wanted to develop in my life. Now I’ll shut up.