Originally Published on MomsGetReal
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. If you’re a writer, it’s one of those must-haves because it has a way of making the insanity of being a writer seem less like Sandra Bullock in Gravity and more like The Breakfast Club. We all have ways we break down that someone else can identify with – no one has it easy.
In it, Anne relays a story from a friend about an emotional acre. We all all born with an emotional acre, and it’s ours to do with as we please. There’s a gate at the middle that people will come in and out of. If someone dumps an oil spill on your acre, you can boot them. Same if they build a hideous garage – set fire to it and boot them. It’s your emotional acre.
Now, dear Anne also talks about this emotional acre in terms of character development. Just like you know what’s on your own emotional acre, you also need to know the acreage of your characters.
Which got me thinking. What’s on my acre?
Of course, the Southern-belle-wannabe in me immediately wants a plantation rather than just a paltry smidge of an acre. The peach and pecan orchard alone could be one acre all by itself. Why peaches and pecans? Sweet and nutty – just like me. But for the purposes of this Yankee exercise, I’ll limit it.
My sanctuary would be on my emotional acre – the safe place that is my meditation room (hello, Eat Pray Love, reference – how many of you can I fit in this year?) where I can travel the paths of my psyche safely without judgment. The next piece of my emotional acre is a compost pile. Why? Because that’s where I can throw all the crap to be recycled into something good. I can give all the black tar that collects in my emotional energy field and toss it out to compost and be converted into something good – like every time I criticize myself for not making more progress (Oh Wii Oh… OHHHH oh) I can compost that thought into motivation to keep going.
So what am I growing on my emotional acre? I’m growing strong trees that reach deep into the earth to ground me. I’m tending to a labyrinth of roses because roses were my grandma’s flower and they remind me of her strength, love and compassion for others. I’m planting things that I want to see grow into beautiful things because they nourish my soul, inspire me and we have a reciprocating relationship of gratitude – one cannot exist without the other. Even if it’s only in my emotional imagination.
And when others march across my emotional acre and disrespect it, I launch my boot into their ass and kick them out. Not because I don’t love them – because I may very well love them a great deal – but because I love myself more.
What’s on your acre? 🙂