Cultivating What Matters



You can’t simultaneously do it all and do it well. But you can choose to cultivate what matters right where you are. 

Lara Casey

Cultivating what matters seems of supreme importance in these Covid-19 days. When the world was shut down in what seemed an instant, we were holed up at home, unable to travel, had to cancel important events, were separated from loved ones, and filled with questions about what just happened.

This year was supposed to be a year of travel and adventure. We’d booked trips to Europe. I was supposed to run a workshop in France for writers, then travel to see my son and his wife. We would visit the Dolomites in Italy and travel through Switzerland and Ireland.

After that, we’d planned a trip to the Pilbara region of WA, a trip to Alaska, then a trip to the North East of the US and into Canada. 

A conference in Queensland and catching up with friends was to be my last stop of the year. 

Then, Covid-19 hit.

When you stop, when you question, when you suddenly don’t have to do it all and be everywhere like you did before, what really matters? 

I found that I enjoyed the quiet. I enjoyed reflecting. I enjoyed the lack of expectation that I needed to turn up somewhere. It made me realise just how much I needed quiet.

Finding time to write, I finished two books that had been waiting for my attention. 

My husband and I had more time together to talk and be together.

We spent time walking, biking, and doing online yoga classes. We hung out with our golden retriever and this turned out to be a blessing. He sadly passed away quite suddenly and, if we’d been travelling, we wouldn’t have had these precious days with him. 

Lots of Zoom catch-ups kept us in contact with family and friends. Covid-19 seemed to draw us to spend more time actually talking to people.

When restrictions lessened here in WA, we decided to go on our Pilbara adventure with our friends. It was a wonderful two weeks of freedom from phones and social media. We lost track of the news and didn’t check to see how many cases of Covid-19 there were around the world, around our country. Instead, we gazed at the sky show of billions of stars and had honest, meaningful conversations around campfires.

We came back and were struck by the intrusion of phone calls, the relentless nature of social media scrolling to catch up, and the fear and negativity engendered by news reports. 

While I appreciated the showers and toilets of home after camping, I wished I was back in the bush where the signals didn’t reach. Where feeling cut off, felt good. 

Now that I’m back at my desk, what is it that I want to cultivate in my everyday life? 

I want to cultivate quiet. Cultivate deep work. Cultivate friendships. Cultivate brave and true conversations. Cultivate deep connection with family. Cultivate a way of life that is creative and true to my calling. 

Being forced to slow down has turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to see what’s important, to concentrate on what’s important right now, to return to the cries of my heart and mind for space to create. 

Q: 

What has Covid-19 cultivated in you? Have you changed the way you do things in the last few months? What do you want to cultivate in your life? 


About Elaine Fraser

Elaine realised she wanted to be a writer at ten years of age when the words flew off the page during a creative writing lesson. She studied English and Education at university and went on to spend many years as a high school English teacher teaching others how to write. In 2005, Elaine took the plunge and began writing full-time. Since then she has published five books and blogs at www.elainefraser.co. Elaine’s passion is to write about real issues with a spiritual edge. When she’s not travelling the world in search of quirky bookstores or attending writing retreats in exotic locations, she can be found in the Perth hills sitting in her library—writing, reading, mentoring writers and hugging her golden retriever.

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