The Format

How the Format of Harvest Supports Your Inner Work

Rather than a body of text to passively read and then shelve or give away, Harvest is intended to be a deeply engaging, growing, and spiraling process. The more actively you experience the material, the more intentional your process will be. Even casual reading, however, is likely to stimulate spontaneous inner processing.

The tone of each chapter is evoked by the initial full-color art plate. Each symbolic representation was inspired by the text and embodies the concepts and words. The rich hues and profound images in combination with the stirring quotes that follow stimulate the reader’s creative and contemplative modes.

The theme of each chapter is addressed both metaphorically and botanically. A guided imaginative experience invites the reader to join the author’s contemplation. The remaining text is divided into two questions. Posed on an exhale, the first question supports closure within the current life stage. The second question, posed on an exhale, supports transition to a next stage of life or work.  The repeated inhales and exhales throughout the book create a rhythm for the inner work.

Each chapter includes many questions throughout the text to engage your own inner process as you read. Each chapter also concludes with a set of  “acorn” questions that will prompt you to distill the essence of the chapter and integrate what nourishes you. Your cumulative answers to the Acorn questions will position you to fully reap your harvest. Your responses then are the seeds from which future growth emerges.

Additional exercises, activities, and experiences in each chapter are stepping stones, that is, positioning markers that will direct and ease your path to a next season and stage.  Each chapter includes a variety of Stepping Stones from which you can select those with which you most resonate.  It is not necessary to complete all or even most of the options, and even if you don’t complete any of the exercises, just reading them may stimulate insights. The Stepping Stones for each chapter include more traditional narrative journaling activities as well as guided visual journaling activities to unleash creative thinking. Interpersonal experiences suggest ways to interact with others. Workplace applications are activities, such as report writing or formal mentoring, that are appropriate in the workplace.

After the three introductory chapters, and chapters devoted to Roots, Branches, Fruits, and Seeds, “Your Harvest” integrates all of the preceding experiences and “surpasses even the sum of the parts….considered…. The true bounty is the quality of your life force NOW—that which animates you, enlivens you, and makes you radiate.” The main chapter questions are reiterated: those posed on an exhale to bring culmination, and those posed on an inhale to bring initiation. The final set of Stepping Stones is about completing your preparations and stepping into your future.

Harvest includes a chapter on The Four-Part Harmony of a Woman’s Life Stages: Maiden, Maker, Maven, Muse because an in-depth review of life work is likely to stimulate an entire life review. In this new model, a woman’s life cycle is explored as four stages corresponding to the seasons of a year.

In our springtime (the March, April, and May of our life), we are indeed the fresh young Maiden, whose focus is on growing.  From 0-10 we experience the inhale, or ascent, of beginning, like an arising bud; and from 11-20 we experience a deepening descent, or exhale, into blossoming.  These are the decades of establishing roots.

In our summer (the June, July, and August of our life), we are the Maker, whose focus is on promising.  From 21-49, we experience many series of inhales and exhales, ascents and descents as we engage in tending (our jobs or careers, our home and family) and befriending (ourselves and others, building our support systems). These are the decades of growing branches.

In our autumn (the September, October, and November of our life), we are the Maven, whose focus is on fulfilling. We experience the decades of our 50s as a rising ascent or inhale, followed by a satisfying exhale or descent in our 60s to reigning.  These are the decades of ripening and reaping fruit.

In our winter (the December, January, and February of life), we are the Muse, whose focus is on inspiring.  The inhale or ascent of the 70s is for distilling our knowledge, life, essence in order to exhale or descend into empowering ourselves and others through wisdom.  These are the decades of becoming the essence of the seed, and, ideally, the cold and dark of the bared and pristine winter allow us to prepare for restoring ourselves to our original source and humanity to greater good.

A brief chapter of Musings on Cycling and Recycling Through Time is about how each season and stage of life is “an arc of your life’s spiral,” and “how each arc includes a beginning, middle and end; builds on and includes the past as well as the future; [and] creates movement from, to, and within….”

Experience Harvesting in a Group Setting provides detailed guidelines for setting up a one-day “retreat” or a series of one or two hour harvesting gatherings.

A bibliography is included for further reading and updated on this website under Support for Your Harvesting > More Resources.

Enjoy the book’s special features intended to inspire and deepen your harvesting. The 7”x8” size, soft cover with flaps and lay-flat binding make the volume easy to hold, browse, read, and refer to. There’s even a perforated, tear-off bookmark featuring additional art on the back flap to keep your place.