I started this activity for all the wrong reasons.
I don’t just embrace schedules. I am constricted and a bit smothered by them, like a hapless fly caught in spiderweb, oddly proud nonetheless. My day, and each activity in it, is carefully choreographed and timed as I punch and feint through each moment. My joy is magnified as I smugly check things off my lists—only to begin another as soon as all my checks are made.I don’t just make every moment count. I squeeze the daylights out of every second. Again and again and again. Good for me. Good for me?
And so when I found this idea—this brilliant idea— via The Art of Manliness blog I snagged it. There are minutes wasted in every single day, they noted. Time spent waiting in line, a moment or two before an appointment, downtime before dinner (at least when someone else is cooking it). Grab those moments, they implored. Make them count. What if, The Art of Manliness noted, one spent that rattling bagful of minutes reading? A bit here and a bit there? Do those moments add up? They do. Oh yes they do.
And so tentatively I began.
My work, in its various iterations over the decades, has always meant that I essentially read for a living. This makes things a bit harder because reading, which I believe with my whole heart should always been a joy, is sometimes for me a slog. And so, I determined that my special moments of reading book would never been a book I am supposed to be reading and thinking about for work. These stolen moments throughout the day, then, would not be work. They would be just for me.
It wasn’t hard to dig through the pile of night table books to find the first ones to slide into my backpack, nestled between my wallet and my phone charger. I grabbed my reading moments greedily, beginning with Northern Farm by Henry Beston
I read it in tiny gulps, a minute or two here, a few leftover seconds there. Like a hummingbird dipping into a daylily. Weeks later, I came to and end and began another, The Living Mountain by Nan Shepard, then Beston’s The Outermost House, followed by the poems of Rumi. The pile of books is unending.
The interesting things is there shouldn’t have been time to read these books. And yet, by snatching the moments, there were. Was I somehow making time itself burgeon and expand?
By lassoing lost moments, tweezering them in to my tightly stitched scheduling, I found that I was providing myself with something truly extraordinary. I was making these stolen moments not scheduled work but as Rumi said, “spacious pastures of the spirit.” Over and over, even for a few brief moments I could melt into thought.
It’s a gift that each of us can so easily give ourselves. Just find things that you love to read. Find the spare moments to read them.
The words and thoughts will set your spirit soaring!
Thanks to the always interesting The Art of Manliness Blog for the idea. Definitely worth a look for any of you have haven’t found them yet. http://www.artofmanliness.com/
3 thoughts on “Post #79: “Spacious Pastures of the Spirit””
What a terrific idea! Taking those little unscheduled (and largely unused) moments and doing something that we like with them. And reading sounds like the perfect way to spend them…who doesn’t have a stack of books they are hoping to get to someday? That someday is here!
So happy you like this too! It’s been the greatest experience to use stray moments in such a wonderful way!
I, like you, read in snippets. As I can grab them. I have three books going at once now. But progressing on all of them:). I think it is much harder to enjoy the reading b/c I sit all day for work. Most of us “desk” people love to read!