What does it mean to “cultivate”? Well, it could mean to prepare the soil for planting, or to acquire or develop something such as a skill or quality. Whatever it is you are cultivating, that’s the first step– then once you’ve cultivated, you’re ready to plant and tend, and eventually reap the harvest of the effort. To effectively cultivate and nourish, the most sustainable way forward is with intention and consistency. When I water the garden in the summer, the plants do much better (after being planted where growing conditions will be favorable) when I give them a steady, small stream of water over time rather than just dumping a whole bucket on at once. With too much, they flounder. With just enough, they thrive.
Similarly, when I meditate I get a lot more out of five minutes than I do out of an hour. Because when I try to do an hour, I often simply don’t do it. But I can handle five minutes, and I can do five minutes consistently. With too much effort, I stop. With just enough, I move forward. When it comes to cultivation and nourishing the seedlings that get planted, finding the balance of “enough, but not too much” is key.
Tiny doesn’t have to mean insignificant. When it comes to cultivating and nourishing small intentional practices, tiny can mean commitment and impact, if we let small things be enough. When small things compound, we find that we have a strong root system. A foundation that won’t crumble. A sustainable way of operating in the world. Less overwhelm in a culture that often feels out of control. And when we take the time to cultivate, we’re setting ourselves up for long lasting nourishment.
Our culture tells us that bigger is better; more is always desirable; it’s all or nothing. But when we go deep into the roots, and when we take the time to figure out what drives our actions and cultivate the quality of being that is necessary to keep going, we find that tiny things can make all the difference. Tiny things (like taking a deep breath or stepping outside first thing in the morning or figuring out what we really want to drink in the morning) when practiced with intention, have the power to give life like nothing else can. When we cultivate our life’s soil, we are setting ourselves up to thrive.
In 2020, we cultivate.
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