Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2009 Mid Year Review

Evaluating progress

The end of June always seems like a good time to do a mid-year review. It’s not precisely the middle of the year but it is the break-point between the sixth and seventh months. It’s also nice to do it before July Fourth since the summer seems to get busier and more hectic after that point.

In January I posted my Word of the Year as cultivate. It has been an interesting choice for a year word. One of its chief responsibilities has been to constantly remind me that this year is not about harvest. But the point of cultivating is to produce a harvest right?

Yes, my ultimate goal is to produce an abundant harvest. However, this is a newly-tilled plot and new fields are inclined to stay the way they were. So, while a starter crop has been planted the new crop is struggling against the weeds and the grasses that once staked their claim to the soil.

It can be all too easy, without constant vigilance, to become frustrated with the level of weeding and micromanagement things have required. But this is what it means to cultivate and cultivating doesn’t refer only to the ground and the plants. Cultivating encompasses everything that relates to the process including the weeding, drainage, irrigation, soil aeration, supplemental fertilizer and so forth.

Are you lost in the illustration? Let me translate. This year I have moved my life to a new location. I am newly single, in a nice but small apartment, and I am working on creating the kind of life I want to live from this point forward. This means cultivating my level of housekeeping, my finances and budget, my family connections and other relationships, my work and creative outlets, and my recreation and restorative activities.

When I developed my post on cultivate I didn’t set hardcore measurable goals. While that is typically considered the best method for producing results, when the original post was written there were too many variables in the offing to do that effectively. So, I committed to several intentions to cultivate that would create an environment for moving forward regardless of how the variables played out.

And the results

These are a few of my cultivation intentions for the year and how I think they are coming along:

Being happy – this does not mean that I can never be sad, or disappointed, or angry, or frustrated; because none of these things needs to be in an either or relationship with being happy. My emotional foundation is to cultivate being happy and content and grateful inspite of the moment-by-moment ripples; and not in opposition to them or to deny or avoid them.

This is the second year I have set an intention to be happy and while it made a big difference in my reactions and responses last year I can truly say this has really started to settle in and take up residence. One thing that has played a role in expanding my being happy came from Pat Hudson’s book You Can Get Over Divorce (1998, Prima Publishing) where she writes a lot about emotional bullies, especially injustice, which left unchallenged can contribute to the spread of being not happy.

I grew up around people whose default mode was unhappy and they fed it a steady diet of injustice on a daily basis. Those tapes are very difficult to overcome, and it is also difficult to resist feeling guilty for being happy when the general consensus is that I really have very little to be happy about nor as a divorced person should I consider myself entitled to be happy. But I am committed to cultivating happiness because I believe it benefits my general welfare and I believe unhappiness contributed to the early deaths of several of my ancestors.

Being inspiring – Okay, I’m a little embarrassed that I actually wrote and published this one. That’s not to mean I don’t have this intention because I hope my story does inspire someone that they can create the life they want using the tools available to them in creative ways. But in the context I feel it can be misunderstood and it sounds self-aggrandizing; much to my chagrin.

A sense of home, being at home – I have moved and traveled most of my life. While I have never been technically homeless in the classic sense I have never truly been at home in a deeply emotional way either. For most of my life “home” has been little more than the residence of the moment. Knowing that I would sooner or later have to back up my (our) belongs and redistribute them in another house has pre-empted any inclination to settle in and put down roots or create an environment that reflects my tastes and personality since marketability was a major consideration.

I have decided to stay put for two years in this apartment and figure out what my style, tastes and preferences are. I want to discover what it means to feel at home in surroundings that reflect my values and not just whatever fits the budget and meets the criteria. That said; I have made a start in that I feel most comfortable in cozy surroundings rather than elegant or high fashion. I don’t mind things that are secondhand or passed down if they are in reasonably good condition and fit the general feel of the room they occupy. The challenge has been in creating room arrangements that incorporate the pieces I don’t want to part with and have the room feel spacious and welcoming. I have my work cut out for me for some time to come. We’ll see how things look in December.

This not my entire list but those items I felt have been of significant influence in my year so far. So, how does your year look so far? Any successes or unexpected challenges? Please share.

More thoughts on the Word of the Year can be found at Christine Kane's post Shout Out Your Word.

1 comment:

Rositta said...

That's a good word. You've made some good changes and I'm certain your life will be better for it...ciao