“There is no secret, everything in life worth having requires hard work and dedication… you have to work at it” those were the words of a very wise lady I had the pleasure of meeting as I once asked her the secret of her long lasting marriage. She was in her late eighties and her husband almost ninety… they met in Brooklyn when she was fourteen, later on they got married, had a child, moved to the suburbs…built a life together. Decades later, during the time we met they faced some life altering moments… she was battling cancer and he had developed signs of Alzheimer’s. It was a difficult situation, yet she always managed to encourage others, look at the bright side of things and make the best of every situation. Although she is no longer with us, the advice she gave me will always remain in me, that simple yet forgotten principle; everything worth having requires hard work, you have to work at it.
The concept of working hard and being dedicated reminds me of the process of cultivating. Cultivating involves hard work, you have to work the land, dedicate time and effort in order to see the crops grow. Like with everything we value, our business, our careers, our dreams, but most importantly; our relationships. We are living in an era of technology and instant gratification, which affects the way we live, especially the way we relate to people. We rather text than call, we prefer to send an E-card than to pick a card and actually use our handwriting to deliver a personal message. We are so used to following our personal agenda, focusing more on personal goals, achievements and material possessions while neglecting our relationships. Ironically, most of these things would have little to no value if there were nobody to share them with. Relationships are one of the most important things we are given in life.
You can cultivate relationships by providing simple acts of kindness at a needed time. When your friend is going through a hard time, encourage him… when your employer needs you to stay a few minutes late and you are able to, do it. If your neighbor just got home from the hospital, take some time and go visit. Cultivation it’s important for developing strong healthy relationships based on mutual trust and respect. Especially when it comes to romantic relationships… I remember my grandmother telling me how courting was done in her generation; it involved love letters, flowers and chocolates. Holding hands was special; a kiss was an intimate act. Couples got to actually know each other while allowing their union to grow gradually. Call me a hopeless romantic but I think one of the most beautiful things to watch is a mature love that organically grew and only got stronger through the tests of time.
There are things in life that are very simple. If you want to see something grow, invest in it. Cultivating relationships requires your time, endurance and patience. The harvest comes at its due season; your labor will not go in vain. Do your part, let things grow organically and most importantly let love be the motivating force for everything… At its season, you shall see the fruits of your relationships.