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The Urge to Cultivate

I want to explore a little here about gathering, cultivating and harvesting. Having spent most of my life in cities rather than on a farm or in the country, I didn’t really learn much about gardening and the natural rhythms of life that are mirrored in the cycle of cultivation. I’m noticing in my life that I have more emphasis placed on gathering seeds than on cultivating those seeds. There is something in me that feels very ready for the cultivation and harvest phases rather than the gathering.

My traveling these days feels very much like seed gathering. I have been learning about different cultures, different ways of seeing the world, different approaches to life, and also collecting an archive of writings and of photographic images of people and places. I have also met new friends and lovers and explored the world on a more interpersonal level as well. Through my writing, largely on this blog, I have flushed out my experiences which have shaped new ways of being and of experiencing life.

All of that is actually wonderful, and I hope to be able to continue to travel and grow through that travel for the remainder of my life. As I’ve written in the past, traveling, especially when done in less sanitized regions and in unfamiliar situations has the profound ability to expose the rough edges of our personalities and fixated parts of our minds, and affords us an opportunity to see the parts of ourselves that we have so carefully structured our everyday lives so as to not have to experience.

At this point in life, rather than simply collecting more and more seeds, I want to place a greater emphasis on working those seeds into the soil, watering them, weeding around them as necessary and sharing the harvest. I don’t know all of the forms that cultivation and harvest will take, but at the moment, it feels like perhaps a few different crops. One row would be creative expression through writing and photography and perhaps sculpture, film and furniture making, etc. – all things that I naturally seem to gravitate towards. Creative expression seems to be the most natural way that my soul wishes to present itself.

The second crop is perhaps that of right livelihood. While I’m not so keen on working a normal everyday job, and I’ve been pretty good at cultivating a modicum of material abundance in my life, my soul still wants to express itself through my life’s effort and wants that direction to be valuable (in a worldly sense) and personally meaningful. Perhaps more charity works are forthcoming. I’ve often fantasized about taking on some local or international project which my heart can sink into and my talents can support. I also have an internet community/business idea or two which have some contributory value as well. Using my home as a locus for spiritual and healing retreats is also something I would very much like to further develop. If I were starting over and was in need of a career which fit me best, I’d probably either become some form of counselor, social worker, teacher, or therapist, or perhaps get involved in foundation, charitable giving or international development projects. None of those are necessarily out of reach now, but I prefer to allow for the expression of as broad a swath of my personality/skill set/love as possible.

The third crop row for me is community. While I have been very good at developing and maintaining friendships through my life, and have cultivated a sense of connectedness on a one-on-one basis, I would also like to have that grow to more of an interconnectedness with a local community. I love the place where I live now, but wherever I should end up, it is important to me to be more widely interconnected with a greater community as well, through community projects, and local efforts towards more global issues. I moved to this smaller more progressive place with that concept largely in mind. Extensive traveling breaks that interconnectedness for periods of time, although I am finding that the web regenerates much more quickly the longer I remain here.

The final crop has to do with relationship and family. I am, especially since returning from this last trip abroad, feeling more and more like settling in, allowing my roots to grow and sink more firmly into the soil. I’ve been a bit of a tumbleweed lately and while that has had it’s benefits, I also have a longing in me for family and relationship. This is really a heart thing for me, as my heart still naturally wants to express and would love to have an opportunity for that to grow on an everyday basis. Living alone has actually been fine with me, but whenever I have visitors and friends in my home, I feel clearly how much my heart thrives in relationship with others and how I would prefer to have that on a consistent basis with my own family.

All of these desires for abundant harvests doesn’t necessarily mean that my traveling life is over, as I’m certain it’s not, but I also feel these urges to plant and germinate, to sow and harvest, to root and interconnect. I’ve gathered many seeds in my life and the urge to cultivate is clearly growing more strong.

At BhaktiFest, I purchased a handmade mug for myself which has a phrase fromRumi written on it: “Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” These desires I have to cultivate and harvest are those “stronger pulls” and this exploration reflects my intent to to be silently drawn.


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