Cultivate. Be Intentional with What You are Planting.

March 26, 2021

“From the Vault” — From time to time I will share past Friday Food For Thought blogs, with some updating to the content.  For some of you, you may be reading this a second time, and for other, it is brand new.  I think even reading a revised version can offer new insights and perspectives.

I really like the word cultivate.  I have found myself using it frequently in my teaching and consulting work.  Even in my personal life I find the term useful. Living in this part of our country, in the farm belt, the term is a familiar one.  In our gardens, we cultivate the soil, we prepare the ground to support what we intend to plant and hope to see grow and flourish.  When I was in the third grade, my dad retired from the Navy and we settled in a small town in Oklahoma. My parents were glad to put down roots and were especially excited to plant a garden.

Notebook page

I remember spending hours helping my parents in our giant garden – roto-tilling, picking out rocks, raking, hoeing, planting, weeding, and watering.  I was most excited about the chance to harvest, to pick the cherry tomatoes, the cucumbers, the various melons.  As an adolescent I was by far most interested in eating fresh items right from the back yard!  Well, my father passed away when I was just 12 and the family garden soon became a memory.  Fast forward 40 years. A couple of years ago when we moved our mom to an Alzheimer’s facility – we packed up and sorted out 50 years of memories.  I found in her kitchen drawer an old, faded spiral notebook.  Inside it contained my parent’s hand drawn garden layouts, the rotation of crops from one summer to the next, detailed descriptions of how much was planted and how much was picked, canned, and/or frozen.  The notebook also contained descriptions of the specific plant varieties and seeds they used.  My mom and dad were quite intentional about what they cultivated.  Both in our acreage garden as well as the 5 children they raised.

Can the same be said about our organizations and our relationships?  Are we establishing the groundwork for change to emerge?  For our relationships to have a sound foundation?  Cultivation is the beginning of transformation and growth.

The important factor for me then is how much are we really conscious of what we are cultivating?  So often it seems we are on autopilot, not fully aware of our decisions, our choices, or even our actions.  Even more deeply is the intentions behind our behaviors.  Cultivation and intentionality go hand-in-hand. 

Map of garden plot

So, as we move into spring, consider what are you cultivating.  Consider what preparing to harvest in your life.  What do you plan to grow and nurture?  Because the old adage is true, we do reap what we sow.  What will be in your garden notebook when other’s look back on your life?  So be intentional with what you are planting.   Cultivate mindfully. Cultivate your life. Cultivate your organizations.

Have a great weekend!

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