The 365 Commitment

Law of Significant Enclosure

My new source of inspiration - my backyard.

This week I decided to see if I could “manufacture” inspiration. Could I figure out how to create inspiration in my life, where other sources have been tapped out. While running a few days ago, I started thinking about gardening. The reason is that my normal run passes through an area that is heavily landscaped. It always looks the same as you drive by, but when you run by, you see the subtle changes brought on through seasons and time.

A Jasmine plant has little red buds sprouting all over it, just right before it explodes in thousands of white blossoms. The evergreen shrubs have a fine furry light green texture to the top of them, signifying the season of new growth. This year is going to be especially vibrant as Southern California has been drenched in rain. So gardening is what I am going to use as my source of inspiration. I spent the day in my yard, pulling weeds, fertilizing plants, pruning bushes and carefully trimming tree branches.

This inspired me to start to think of ways that I could improve my yard. There is one particular area that just feels, “wrong.” I could not figure out why? Do I need more plants? Do I need to put a tree there? Then it struck me, the space feels to restricted. I looked this up and sure enough, there is a rule in gardening called, the law of significant enclosure. Effectively it means that when you have a ratio of 3:1 between distance and height of a wall, fence, or other type of object then people feel safe, protected, free. There is something going on in the human mind. That primal hunter instinct or something. If you have a 15 foot area, then have a 5 foot high wall and it will “feel” right. Have a wall too high or too low and the human mind will just, “not like it.”

This led me to thinking about my life. I feel uncomfortable right now because I have a lot of runway, lot of freedom, but with little to no enclosure. I need to have freedom and openness, but not too much. I need some restraint. There is probably a ration there that is similar to this 3:1 rule. 2/3 of my week needs to be doing things that are creative, open, and where I can explore and do exciting things. 1/3 of my week needs to be routine, confined, deliberate and necessary. If I have too much of one or too little of the other, I feel weird. That is interesting. A thought for me to noodle on for a while!

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