I've been thinking about maps and landscapes lately and this section caught my attention:
Fall surrounds us, reminding me of all the transitions happening within me. Just as I’ve come to appreciate how seasons transform the land, I’ve also become aware of my internal landscape. The two seem bound together in many ways.
When I see those bare limbs, I think of the times when my work turns inward. We all have periods of fruitfulness and other months when we can hardly create. My father died a few months ago, and I noticed a lot of those empty days in the wake of his passing. I looked back on the hours, wondering what I actually accomplished.
But driving through Pennsylvania, I’m reminded that I should have appreciated the internal work. In our culture, we relentlessly measure productivity, but we don’t allow space for those seasons when hidden roots grow deeper. We don’t always trust those times when the limbs remain desolate. I didn’t honor the days of beautiful stillness enough.
This line, especially, sticks with me: "In our culture, we relentlessly measure productivity, but we don't allow space for those seasons when hidden roots grow deeper."
I've been thinking about this in terms of "expansive time," time when there is no pressing issue, no huge "to do lists," no calls to return, no things to produce. I long for more "expansive time," flow time, time to let my heart and spirit settle, time to hear the whisper of the Holy, time to just be in the world, time for roots to grow deep...time to process, integrate and make sense of grief and loss and change.
My spiritual director (as well as another good colleague), invited me to take five minutes out of every hour in the day (or at least some of those hours!), to step into "expansive time," to settle into my internal landscape, to take some deep breaths. And in that time, to reflect on where the Holy, or joy, or meaning, have shown up in the past hour. To take note of those things, to hold them intentionally. And to be honest if the Holy, or joy, or meaning haven't showed up...and how I might invite them to show up in the next hour.
It's a hard practice to engage in - I like to be productive, after all! - but it's beginning to change the landscape of my day and of my heart. It slows me down and invites me to consider a whole other world, right there in front of me, inside of me.