This next blog in the alphabet series is for the letter C. I chose cultivation, but another close choice was consistency. After writing this blog it became clear to me they are closely related. In order for anything we care for to grow, be it a child, animal, plant, artistic creation or personal development/characteristic, we need to tend to the environment in a way that supports that consistent growth.
The word “cultivation” often conjures thoughts or images of farming or growing plants. That form of cultivation involves tending to and caring for the land so that the crops will grow. Lots of joy comes from producing food and nutrition for people and animals.
Cultivation also refers to the process of trying to acquire or develop a quality or skill. I like to take this notion a step further and consider it to mean to grow and improve by tending to with care and intention. We can apply the concept of cultivation to any idea, change, activity, or personal development we are working to improve.
In essence, this concept is the whole point of this Joy Cultivator blog; to identify what we are trying to improve or grow in order to bring more joy into our lives. However, a problematic issue often becomes the environmental and situational conditions, road blocks or other challenges as we work to grow the joy in our lives with care. When cultivating a particular crop a farmer must take into account the weather patterns, soil and sun conditions, as well as the diseases, pests and pesticides that may negatively impact the growth and harvest of the desired crop. (My first major in college was Landscape Architecture, and this pretty much summarizes my takeaway before I changed to a Psych major.)
For example, let’s say that writing brings me joy and I want to have more of it in my life. In order to grow my writing I must provide it space in my day to grow consistently. I need to understand the conditions necessary to support writing (a sacred block of time, support and understanding of my family to allow me to take that time, organization and shuffling of other responsibilities to make room for writing, and a plan to adapt to the other unanticipated life demands that may get in the way of my writing). I also need the tools to grow my writing (my laptop, idea folder, journals, upkeep of my website and author social media pages and, perhaps most importantly, my confidence and determination to remain consistent.)
This process can be applied to any personal joy. No matter what it is in our lives that we love and want to grow more of, we will need to make some adjustments in our current lives and routines. When we have a life passion we spend time thinking about or working on it. By making it a priority we find ways to cultivate and harvest that “crop” so that it can grow.
When growing a plant, we often have to prune it so that we can remove the parts that aren’t growing well in order to make room for or redirect energy or food source to the areas we want to see grow further. It’s the same with cultivating joy. Once we identify the areas we love and want more of in our lives, we have to work to create the space, support and fertilizer, tools and pruning that are necessary to grow that joy in the direction, height or size that we wish to harvest. No matter what life passion and joy you want to grow in your life, you will need to care for it. Take stock of your current situational conditions and identify the changes or adjustments that are needed to cultivate more of that joy in your life. Then make them.
Create space for your passion. Cultivate its growth with love, care and intention. Spread the joy.