We talked, once upon a time, about emotional acres …
“Every single one of us at birth is given an emotional acre all our own,” wrote Anne Lamott in her book, Bird by Bird. “You get one, your awful Uncle Phil gets one, I get one, Tricia Nixon gets one, everyone gets one. And as long as you don’t hurt anyone, you really get to do with your acre as you please.”
I was reminded of this marvelous metaphor today when I stumbled upon a book called The Emotional Calendar: Understanding Seasonal Influences and Milestones to Become Happier, More Fulfilled, and in Control of Your Life by Harvard psychiatrist Dr. John R. Sharpe.
Are you as intrigued by the title as I was?
As it turns out, we all have an emotional calendar to go with our emotional acre (feeling pretty fancy about now, right?).
Even before clicking the button to order the book, I started thinking—well, scheduling, sort of. I mean, I love “normal” calendars, so this twist piqued my penchant for planning. The blurb I read inspired me to ask myself a pointed question …
What does the coming season hold for me in terms of emotional landmarks?
I found myself ticking off events in my own mental autobiography. Is that why I feel such a deep sense of family connection this time of year?
Dr. Sharp contends, and I agree, that the roadmaps of our lives have profound effects on us, season after season, year after year.
“Take a look at what you are experiencing now, as well as at what’s just ahead. How do you expect your fall to be?” he asks in a recent Psychology Today blog post. “Consider each of the two possibilities—that this season is in fact looking very predictable based on your past experiences, and conversely that this season is looking really quite surprisingly different. Ultimately, you will grant yourself the opportunity to make changes for the better, if you so desire. One big lesson from understanding The Emotional Calendar is that we are in fact able to make strategic changes in our outlook and adjust/regulate our involvement with the seasons in order to lead a happier, more fulfilled, and in control life.”
So, that’s what I’m up to today. As I let my mind drift backward, I’m jotting bits and pieces of winters past, remembering what has happened, how I’ve felt. It looks like I’m beginning to construct my own emotional calendar, and it’s stirring memories.
I hope you’ll carve some quiet time out of your day, today or sometime this week, and try it for yourself.