Richmond Hill

How you spend your time and attention matters. A New York Times article noted that our “time and attention are valuable resources, and we are in control of how–and on whom–we spend them.” (Melissa Kirsch, May 7, 2022)

Friendships and socializing in a meaningful way on a consistent basis promotes good health. Conversely, spending time in situations that are less meaningful and even toxic can be a detriment to our health. That seems to be a common sense statement; however, research has been able to connect loneliness and toxic relationships to health concerns.

Certainly there are times in which we are moved or obligated to social situations. Lately, I’m working on intentionality around time and attention. I am creating space.

I recently attended a session of personal reflection at Richmond Hill. I took books, computer, paper, markers, and note cards. I was ready to work, work, work. God said rest, rest, rest. I physically could not pick up a marker or open my computer. The only writing accomplished were names written on a piece of paper with one word prayers for them. As I walked in the beauty of the gardens, read prayers with the community, and listened to our spiritual guide, I was creating space, time, and attention to the nourishment of my soul.

The getting there was the act of worship. As I read the article from The New York Times, I laughed. We have become a society that is uncomfortable–“a diminishing tolerance for uncomfortable or unfulfilling social interactions.” For me, it has become increasingly difficult to shift, change, or transition. Then, once you get there, you have to practice flexibility. As I drove to my space of time and attention, the thoughts of where I should or could be, the things neglected, and anxiety around giving myself permission to say no to others and yes to myself were building up inside my mind. I took the thoughts as practice to shift and become something different. It’s purposeful and hard work. One of the books I took with me painted a picture of my experience. The pink blooms, the gardeners, and the rain. I also took my blanket from a dear friend and my anniversary pillow. I would pray, rest, and open my eyes to a new perspective.

“Pink blooms in spring,

a cardinal’s red wings,

the fresh grass after the rain.

You have endured pain,

but have courage to see color.

You have wrestled with questions

that no one else seems to understand.

Weathering storms that were never

to make it to your land.

You have wondered why

these troubles did not stay at sea.

Heavy gray skies press down upon you,

but you choose to delight

in life

one breath at a time,

pursuing peace,

holding on to truth,

so rest

and let healing

find you.”

Morgan Harper Nichols

As I go through my pictures again there are a thousand blog posts in my soul work. From the smells, the grass, the sun, the beauty of it all and the moments the Spirit gently spoke to me. A true day of rest that lingers on.

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