If you have been listening to The Midlife Podcast, you know I introduced Kimby to one of my favorite sayings: “my ten acres”. In fact, we dedicated an entire episode to this incredible mindset tool. You can listen to Episode 123 below. But here’s a full explanation of this handy saying I hope you’ll find yourself adopting.
Many moons ago, a very good girlfriend, senior to me in age and personal development curiosity, said this line to me, “your ten acres”. It was shared light-heartedly and kindly as if handing me an heirloom that some may have thought was an old piece of junk, but to me was an ageless, priceless gem. I accepted the gift with my full heart and for years I polished and admired this gem from every angle. I tried the saying over and over to myself in every situation in my life I could. After years of nurturing and caring for this gift I revealed the bright shiny precious gem it was to me and has been for so many others.
In a nutshell, I am in control of and responsible only for what happens only on MY TEN ACRES.
I’m a visual person so this tool works really well for me when I can imagine ten acres – all ten, mine. I can make them look any way I want them to. I can be as creative as I want to with what I put on my ten acres.
The key to remember is, no one else can make you do anything to your ten acres.
This is your place. You are the gardener, the artist, the architect.
Mine started with nothing but dirt, but has grown to feel lush and exquisite. I am forever weed-ing, watering, planting, nourishing, and dreaming about my ten acres. I pull things out that died or didn’t grow or that I just don’t like anymore. I re-evaluate my ten acres often and check in on how my ten acres feel to me constantly.
They say good fences make good neighbors, so here are some guidelines (fences) for the Ten Acres tool.
Everyone has their own ten acres.
The first idea to wrap your head around is that everyone, including you, your spouse, your children, your siblings, your parents, your friends, your dog groomer, and EVERYONE has their own ten acres.
It seems like a silly and simple idea, but don’t be fooled. Our minds are sneaky.
When you listen to Episode 123 of The Midlife Podcast, you’ll hear Kimby has her own struggle with this part. It’s really helpful to hear how our minds trick us into thinking we believe this, but the truth is we aren’t really practicing it. We found this when Kimby was brave enough to be vulnerable with all of us by sharing her creation of her ten acres. This is the fun of this work we do together.
The more we chat and share, the more we are able to feel safe to dig in and see where our hearts and our minds are not connected. This is the chatting that heals us, empowers us and makes us whole.
So again, we must allow everyone to have their own ten acres and remember their ten acres is not ours.
Sounds pretty easy right?
I promise it will be easy once you practice it and really own the idea.
Everyone gets to decide how they will take care of (or not take care of) their ten acres. Nothing you can say or do that will change someone else’s ten acres. I can live my life on my ten acres and share how I do it, but ultimately, I can not make anything happen on your ten acres. You, and only you, are the one responsible and in control of anything that happens or doesn’t happen on and to your ten acres.
I once learned this lesson in a pretty easy eye opening way. Me, my big smiley me saw this beautiful glowing person and I said, “You are so beautiful”. It was met by an immediate, “F@#k you”.
After I got over the shock at her disproportionate response, I got really curious about what she must have been thinking or feeling. I chewed on this exchange for a long time. What became clear to me was that no matter how I felt about this person or what I said, it did not make the other person feel anything.
She showed me that no matter how I felt or saw things, it did not mean a damn thing to how she felt or saw things. It was finally clear to me that whatever was going on inside of her was the story she was telling herself at that moment. However she felt, would not be altered. I could have been nice or mean, it didn’t matter, she was going to see it and feel however she chose.
I share this story over and over again. It helps me remember that what is happening on someone else’s ten acres is completely up to them, and it refocuses me back to my ten acres with the reminder that this is where it is completely up to me. This is where I am responsible for what it looks like, feels like and how I am thinking.
Let go of any responsibility of anyone else’s ten acres, and get back to tending yours.
You do not get to decide, judge, or control anyone else’s ten acres. What I have found in myself, and see in so many others, is that out of true good natured “love”, we hate to see someone we care for suffer or in pain. We want our loved ones to feel as loved as we feel for them in our hearts. We want to make it “better” for them.
You can’t. Your job is to stay on YOUR ten acres and stay off of other people’s ten acres.
Maybe you love someone who has dry dirt on their ten acres and has no interest in planting a damn thing (or in truth, that is what it looks like to you).
You partner differently.
You bring up your kids differently.
You deal with money differently.
You love differently.
You would do it differently.
You wish for better for.
You hate to see it this way.
Please feel free to make your endless list on paper.
Get it all out.
All of the thoughts.
All of the frustrations.
All of the judgements.
Write them down so you can get them out of your body and off of your mind.Make the list on paper so you can burn it after.
Now come close. I’m going to whisper something to you….
“You are on someone else’s ten acres.”
Your job is to stay on your ten acres and stay off of other people’s ten acres.
The trick to staying on your ten acres if you are struggling with getting off of another’s ten acres is to get back on yours, take a good look around, take some deep breaths, and remind yourself of what is important and true for you.
I find the judgey part of ourselves is the part who sees it differently and who wants to make it better. But better for whom? Isn’t even deciding that it could or should be better judgey?
Underneath the judgment is care. I really believe that. And under the care is discomfort. I find the discomfort we feel within ourselves is the thing we are trying to avoid. It doesn’t feel good to watch someone you love having what you consider a hard time or be in pain. It produces all sorts of feelings such as sadness, fear, anger, frustration, helplessness and so many more.
In order to be successful at your job of staying on your ten acres, you must learn to allow yourself to feel your feelings about the situation. Let yourself uncover all of the thoughts you are having and how they are making you feel. This is how you get back on your ten acres, take care of you, and then show up for another as your best whole you.
When you find yourself judging or blaming or talking about anyone else, take note, you are on their ten acres.
Remember too, when you are on someone else’s ten acres, no one is taking care of yours. Weeds grow quickly, plants and seeds need watering. Your ten acres is a full time job. No need to take on side gigs!
Ten acres hack: Feel free to talk about your ten acres out loud. I find this a very helpful piece of learning and putting this tool into practice. It can be empowering and even fun.
If you find yourself having a difficult conversation, try saying:
“Hey I am practicing staying on my own ten acres and over here it looks like (how you see it) which makes me feel (insert the feeling you have uncovered, ex. Painful, frustrating, etc.) because I care about you. Can we talk about it so I can know how you are feeling and how best I can show up for you?”
“I realize I am on your ten acres and I apologize. I am learning that I am not in charge of your ten acres, only you are.”
A giggle and a quiet self reflection, “Oops, back to my ten acres and what I want them to look and feel like. That is where I am in control and can make things happen.”
I am sure you will come up with your own go-to reminders that work for you.
Please share so we can support and inspire each other!