Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cultivating a good life

"Cultivating a good life"

I ran across this phrase recently and it really resonated with me.  I love the idea that having a good life takes forethought and planning as well as tender daily care, just like cultivating a garden.  I like to think that we are each given "seeds", and we don't know what most of them will grow into, but the way we care for them determines how bountiful our lives will be.  We only have so much control - we can't grow a watermelon from a tomato seed.  Seldom can we rush things along without sacrificing something in the process.  Some people may be dealt a very bad "hand" of seeds, while others are very lucky to get a good "hand."  Some people may only be interested in the "crop yield", but they miss out on the best part - watching the growth and development that comes from all their hard work and attention.  Sometimes we work really hard and forces beyond our control may thwart our efforts, but we can't let the droughts and locusts of life prevent us from carrying on continually trying to make our lives and ourselves better.  Okay, so maybe I got a little carried away with this analogy . . . but anywho . . .

So, how does one cultivate a good life, exactly?  Well, that is obviously going to be different for everyone, but I think at the core is defining your purpose in life and working each day to fulfill that purpose.  And I believe one's purpose can and does change.  Each of us may feel we have several purposes in life at any given time, or maybe the same few throughout life, but different ones move to the forefront at different times, or maybe there is just one big one - each of us must define this for ourselves.

Right now in my life, being a mother is my purpose.  I have other roles, certainly, but raising my sons and taking care of my family is central.  Everything else hinges upon that.  So, for me cultivating a good life means making decisions every day with the whole family in mind - myself, my children, and my husband.

This is not about being selfless or self-sacrificing.  I must be as dedicating to taking care of myself, physically and emotionally, as I am to them.  I must be calm and happy to help cultivate calm and happiness in them, and I must value my own happiness as much as I value theirs.  And, caring for them is actually part of what makes me happy, so it is all like a big circle really.
When I think about cultivating a good life, I feel a sense of peace and a sense of excitement.  There is so much to be done and so many surprises in store for us!

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