Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Year End Review pt1: word of the year


“… you shall be cultivated and sown.” Ezekiel 36:9 NAS

When the word cultivate finally got my attention that I should choose is as my 2009 Word of the Year it felt like a lightning bolt moment. Anticipating the events that would be unfolding for the year it was so obvious that is was going to be the right word to choose.

As certain as I was a year ago that cultivate would be the right word, I am even more convinced of it now that the year is nearly over. It has been both an anchor in the storms and a motivator when it would have been easy to have curled up in a corner to hide.

But the uncanny part is that in a sense my life is very similar to the pioneers of the westward expansion. I have uprooted from my former life, cast-off the unnecessary personal effects,moved to a different place, and have staked out a claim for my new life; and this raw field is in need of cultivating if anything is to grow to a harvest.

One of the major functions cultivate has served this year has been to rein-in my impatience and expectations for progress. See, now that the technical issues are closed, I wasn’t to arrive at my life and get settled; or at least reduce the number and frequency of unknowns. At these times it has been useful to stop and reflect on the following question: Is this cultivating for the long-run or is it forcing a solution to close an issue that really isn’t ready to be closed? More often than I care to admit it has been about trying to force a solution; and forced solutions get the issue off my plate but they don’t tent to last very long and need resolving again.

I did not attempt to set firm goals this year, rather I identified several qualities to which I aspired and purposed to cultivate those:

Being happy - I’ve been working on this for a while now and it continues to create more joy in my life. For me being happy is being content but still having aspirations. The point is to not allow the achievement to control the happiness.

Being inspiring - this is awkward to discuss because there is so much risk of being misunderstood. But I do reflect on whether my choices and actions would inspire another to build a positive life and do good.

Being creative - despite my personal upheaval I have been able to keep writing, doing photography and exploring other creative outlets. These have provided personal satisfaction but I have made improvements as well. And they have been a source of positive feedback when much of my life was leaning on the negative.

Being friendly and approachable - this is an area I have been doing a lot of assessment in because while I have formerly made new friends fairly readily in later years this has been a point of frustration. And one thing that was a major casualty of the upheaval was the toll on personal relationships, but mostly it was unavoidable. I do meet people regularly and find many affable souls through my freelancing but I haven't found my “bee people” group yet. (Sorry, I don’t remember where I heard this but I loved the symbolism so I’m borrowing it. I'll update when I relocate the source.)

Becoming self-sufficient - this is definitely still in the major cultivation category and will be for some time. I have however, carved out the first season which was building a feasible and sustainable budget for now.

Being at home - this has been a real adventure since I have never had a home of my own alone to create. And while it’s just a small apartment it is beginning to look and feel like it has been my place for a long time.

The curious part about cultivate is that it’s really a “doing” word but what it has been doing is shaping who I am going to be in the second half of my life. Of course a year is not enough time for a word to finish its work. Even this year my 2008 words of the year, wealth and release, have continued to play roles in shaping ideas to be cultivated into my new life. So I anticipate that regardless of the new word I choose for 2010 that cultivate will still be at work for a while behind the scenes.

Note: for the morbidly curious I did a mid-year review as well.

Other Word of the Year posts can be found at Christine Kane's blog.

End of the year and time to review
Year End Review pt1: word of the year
Year End Review pt2: accomplishment
Year End Transition and Rituals


chelle said...

Sounds like you have had of heck of a year! Be proud and ready to walk forward!

Melissa Donovan said...

Year-end? Already? Really? My, it goes by so fast.

I don't think I've found my bee people either. By the way, I love that term, "bee people." Can I use it sometime?

You've been on an incredible journey, Deb, and I've learned a lot from your positive attitude and strength. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

Deb said...

@Melissa - I didn't coin the phrase. I either read or heard it in hte past week and can't find where so I can properly credit it. Even Googling didn't pinpoint a source of origin just lots of links using it.