sorta like farmville, but not

I was cruising around Twitter this morning, drinking my hot apple cider and eating my oatmeal (like a good Almacita) when I came across this thing called Cultivate.  I’m quite late to the party, but it seemed like a good thing to do as I’m still feeling kinda ill.  I had planned on passing out since I’ve been awake since two (damn you, tummy) and then catching up with the latest Dexter/Homeland episodes, but I think I’ll write.

Apparently, Cultivate is sorta like Reverb (which I did a while ago, on the other blog).  You can find more about it here: http://blog.sailorscorpio.com/?p=1810.  For now, I’m going to catch up as much as I can in this here post and then revert back to the original pass out plan.  Hope your Monday is decidedly more exciting, friends.

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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!

Well, as you can tell, this one is long overdue.  I remember having an intention for 2012 way back then, but I can’t remember it right now.  SO…I’m going to answer this for 2013.

In 2013, I hope to wrap up some unfinished business and start on some major steps forward.  The biggest one is probably school.  I should be finishing up my Master’s in Nonprofit Mgmt in a few months.  After that, I’m planning on pursuing another Master’s–either in Counseling or Social Work.  So, I need to finish my applications and tackle that dreaded GRE since the Miller’s test isn’t acceptable to my top schools.  (Why can’t they all just be consistent?).

I also hope to really work on my side consulting business.  I’m taking a course on that this coming semester (yay), so I’m hoping to get more ideas and whatnot in terms of that.  I haven’t been as motivated to work on this during my break as I intended.  My goal is to really develop something that I can rely on when I’m knee deep in internships–as I probably won’t be able to work full-time then.  At least not the way I have been.  Which is good because I’m finding that–while I do like the work I do and am really good at it–my values don’t always coincide with clients.  I’d like to have more control over who I work for.

I’m also planning on radically changing how I eat by figuring out what’s causing me to feel like crap all the time.  Just getting healthier and trying to be truer to myself.  I guess those are the nutshell goals.

What do I need to cultivate these things?

Some courage.  More energy.  Belief in myself.  My plan is to sleep more.  Eat better (I have guidance).  Create mini-goals for myself.  Do some me work over the holiday, while roomie’s back East.  Swim more.  Create systems and routines to help support myself.  Find great mentors.  Be fearless.  And set aside time to do all of the above.  All of which is hard, right?  Well, kinda.  I think I’m at the point of being so fed up with status quo that I won’t have any issues getting motivated.

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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?

Life is always worth living, though I do get frustrated from time to time.  In recent years, I’ve really focused on being true to myself–even when I didn’t quite know what the heck I was doing.  Oftentimes, that meant I had to break the patterns and fight for what I wanted.  A lot of the time, I didn’t know what I wanted.  Which meant I had to listen to what my heart and brain were telling me I didn’t want.  I saw some definite patterns.  Certain things I had committed myself to weren’t working anymore, and while it was really hard (and so not me) to purge these things from my life, I did it.  I did it in ways that meant bridges weren’t burned.  But, in hindsight, I learned that maybe my past burning exit was necessary (despite what I told myself).  Maybe, I don’t have to burn bridges, but maybe I need to be more direct and clear about what’s happening and why.  Needless to say, there were some messes to clean up.  And I was much harsher than I intended to be–because I didn’t know how else to change it.

I’ve been working more on being content with me and this life…not looking 10 years ahead so much or trying to contort to some vision I have of ideal whatever.  It’s hard for me to keep myself grounded because I am such an idealist.  But I’ve learned it just frustrates me when things don’t go as quickly as I wish it would.  I’m trying to stay true to myself more and to not change who I am to fit other people’s hopes for me.  Sometimes, I’m just a grumpy person.  If someone doesn’t like it–oh, well.  I’ll be who I need to be–no apologies, unless I’m really sorry.

My challenges so far?  I’m a people pleaser, so I still care too much about what other people think.  I still put their feelings ahead of my own–which only leads to me resenting them and hating myself for being so compliant.  I’m learning to have more of a backbone (not that I didn’t have one before–it’s just I would accept things without thinking about it).

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What lessons did January 2012 teach you? Did January go as planned?

I’m answering this for all of 2012.  2012 taught me a lot, actually.

  • I have a choice.  Just because I feel obligated to do something doesn’t mean I have to do it.  Just because something has been a particular way in the past doesn’t mean I have to give into it.
  • I’d rather be alone than with someone who doesn’t fit.  Sometimes, people seem to fit, but there’s something that keeps poking you.  If you’re like me, you try to focus on what’s right to the exclusion of what causes you discomfort–usually because it makes someone else happy.
  • Time will bear out the truth.  If you’ve compromised yourself for someone else.  If someone’s lied to you.  If you’ve lied to yourself…  Eventually, it all comes out.
  • With all the wisdom I’ve accumulated over the years, I often run into realizations that 6 year old me actually knew some things.  And, often, those things contradict my hard won new wisdom.  The truth can contort itself sometimes.  What’s true can be untrue, depending on what’s happening.
  • While it’s good to have closure, it’s also good to revisit the past sometimes…if nothing else, to own your part of the shit, see it in a new light, and change what it meant to you.
  • When you find those old things that caused you pain or upset, coming back to them gives you greater insights into who you are and why you became the person you became.  It also illuminates the idea that your choices created those situations just as much as the actions of those people who changed you.
  • I need to take care of myself, and I am terrible at doing that.
  • I can be really mean sometimes.  I don’t intend it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t harm people.
  • While I like my life, I want something else.

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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.

What I love about me:

  • I’m not a superficial person.  I have things to say.  I have thoughts that mean something.  I’m working toward something that matters.  I am an interesting, multi-layered person.
  • I have great musical tastes.
  • I am actually pretty courageous.  Even if does mean overanalyzing things and freaking out.
  • I’m funny, and I’m very connected to who I was as a child.  There is an innocence to me sometimes, and while I am often really world-weary, I am still a hopeful person who believes in other people.
  • I don’t take myself too seriously, and I forgive easily–even if I do rant a whole helluva lot before granting that forgiveness.
  • I’m a sensitive person who has a big heart.  Sometimes, I’m too sensitive, but I would never trade that part of me for more stoicism.
  • I am very much my parents’ daughter.  I have a strong sense of history and value my friends/family.  Which is probably why I get so frustrated with people.
  • I’m passionate about absolutely everything and have big dreams that make people shake their heads.
  • I’m unapologetically me.  Well, mostly.

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What would you like to weed out of your life? How can you till the soil of your life? What seeds would you like to plant this month?

  • Sadness.  I’ve been really good about this, but there’s always work to be done here.  I think most of my sadness is hiding within frustration and anger.  I need to find ways to channel it.  I think physical activity and creative things will really help here.
  • Negativity.  Part of it is just my sense of humor.  I have a dark side to me, and part of the ways I cope with my frustration is by making fun of it or complaining.  Which can be hard on others because I get so passionate about it.  I think I’m starting to unravel the more difficult grief I’ve had, and it’s coming out in these ways.  So, I need to cultivate patience and compassion for myself in allowing myself outlets to let these things go.  And realizing that whatever I’m complaining about is probably not what’s actually bothering me.
  • Disconnection.  While I have many great friends, I don’t get to see or talk to them as often as I want.  Just a few minutes with them can energize me for the rest of the day.  But I get busy or they get busy or things happen that make us not be close anymore.  I also have some asshole friends who really just infuriate me.  I need to spend less time with these jerks–even though I used to like them or there are some good things about them.  If the net effect of their lives on my life is negative or hurtful, then they’re probably best kept at a distance.  I used to spend a lot of time trying to expand my circles, but maybe I just need to feel more connected to the people I’m already connected to.

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Path: Sometimes the best path chooses you. — Patrick Rhone What path chose you this year?

This year began with me being frustrated.  I was working for a client that I wasn’t all that happy with; school was much more demanding (and less interesting); and the relationship I was in had sort of fizzled out.  Then, things kind of fell into my lap work-wise, and I was able to really show people what I was capable of.  But all of that meant giving up a lot of myself in service to work.  While I would say it’s been a good year, it’s also been pretty lonely and challenging.  I’ve spent a lot of time in my bedroom.  I’ve felt like hibernating due to constantly having to be on.  I’ve been sick.  And I’ve felt isolated.  I’ve also felt like I didn’t make the list of what was important–like I was constantly chasing something I didn’t really want or care about.

Which made me stop and make some new choices.  Which has led me to now.  I’m still figuring out the rest of the story.

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Reframing: How are you framing yourself, your relationships, your community, and your dreams? Could you reframe these as we enter 2013?

I think, for years, I framed myself as broken, alone, and a burden.  I’ve reframed myself significantly since those days.  Most days, now, I frame myself as capable, hardworking, respectable, and loveable.  I still have my days when I feel sorry for myself or feel like people pick on me unfairly, but they are mostly on the backseat.  As for my relationships, I’ve framed them as sorta tragic, doomed, negative, and dysfunctional.  Recently, I’ve been trying to see relationships as effortless, light, partnerships where I’m able to be independent and myself.  With my community, I’ve framed it as home, too comfortable, something I’ve outgrown, and stagnant.  I’m trying to reframe it to be a place still worth exploring, nurturing, and supportive.  With my dreams, I’ve framed them as ambitious and kinda crazy.  I’m trying to reframe them to be realistic, doable, and worthy of me.

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Foodie Friday — Cultivate Style: Food nourishes us. Some foods give us more enjoyment than others. Some foods leave us feeling less than ourselves. What foods nourished your soul and body this year? What food choices can you make in 2013 to cultivate more self-care?

  • Quinoa
  • Kale
  • Cheese
  • Pumpkin everything
  • Ginger
  • Sriracha
  • Yogurt

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Health: How did you treat your body this year? You only get this one vessel one time around. In what ways can you cultivate better health for your body next year?

In most ways, I was really terrible to my body this year.  I didn’t sleep well or often.  I didn’t eat for most of the day, almost every day.  I didn’t drink enough water.  I ate food that neither satisfied me or nourished me.  I stockpiled stress like it was my job.  I didn’t take breaks and made no time for myself.

The only things I did right?  I started eating better, if only in pockets.  I researched herbal supplements and tried to incorporate them.  I explored healthier alternatives.  And I went to the doctor.  I got my moles checked.  I got my eyesight checked.  I worked on problems and tried to improve.  While I probably get an F for the year, this fall/winter, I’d say I’d get a C+.

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Healing: The Cultivate project is all about healing yourself. How have you healed yourself, your relationships, and/ or your community this year? How would you like to heal these aspects next year?

I wouldn’t say I’m totally healed.  At all.  But I have become a lot more aware of my choices–the ones I used to make unconsciously and the ones I make actively all the time–and how they relate to my current reality.  I suppose I’m a lot more conscious.  I think my biggest healing has really come from making peace with my parents’ deaths.  I no longer wake up screaming.  While there is a heavy weight to December still, I am no longer as burdened by it.  I actually am looking forward to Christmas and don’t feel the sadness I used to.  That feels like a miracle.

With romantic relationships, I have found a lot more peace.  With exes, I have come to accept that they were not the right people for me.  I have come to accept that their not being right doesn’t make me a bad person.  I am not a failure.  I’m much more comfortable being single and actually don’t even feel like I want to be in a relationship anymore–at least not in any conventional way.  I don’t say that out of fear or bitterness either.  While I do have some anger toward a few exes, it’s not something that has scarred me or something I feel needs to be acted upon.  I’m alright with where I am and don’t feel the need to fix things anymore.

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