Cultivate: 1. Prepare and use land for crops and gardening. 2. To acquire or develop (a sentiment, quality or skill).

My husband and I have become avid amateur gardeners. He loves roses and flowers while I, (the cook), love vegetables and herbs. I love planting,  fertilizing,  watering and even weeding. I love the fact that when the growing season is over I can hold the fruits or veggies in my hand that will nourish and strengthen my body. garden12

But I am also intrigued by definition #2. I understand how a person can go about developing a skill– you either go to school or or practice it repeatedly until you have mastered it. But developing a sentiment or quality sounds like a much tougher proposition. At this point in my life, (about the halfway point), I’m more interested in developing these inner qualities than I am adding more skills to my resume, though, I have to admit, knowing HTML would save me a bit o money.

But how does one go about developing a sentiment or quality? I would love to be more patient with other people, especially in a caregiver roll. I would love to be more thoughtful, more deliberate, more encouraging, more supportive, but how? I do it for my garden, my plants… I encourage them with a nutrient rich soil, weeding away the suckers who would steal their food, and water. How do I do that for myself? How does one go about encouraging creativity and empathy? I think the secret lies in books. I have been so busy that my reading has suffered, but I am prioritizing my reading habit again and being very careful about choosing what I read, making sure that it is nurturing to my spirit or mind.

Action: Read one non-fiction and one fiction book monthly. Make copious notes.