Category Archives: Attention Restorative Theory

Tranquility

Standard

Bill and I had our monthly get together today, just a day later

than usual “First Friday.” We both had other commitments, he

with his Heather and  me, with my new guy, Lenny. I suppose

some would wonder why two old friends would insist on the

routine of meeting, sharing and analyzing life, love and our

families.

Why would we still need to be this close, continue forging on

into our older age? We have known each other’s children for

years, got to know each other again, through my youngest

daughter (first story about Bill was “The Man Who Knew My

Daughter First”). This shared history is important and two old

girlfriends would need no explanation of “why” we need to get

together. But there are no words to explain how we feel when

we are together. We attempt from time to time to explain to

whomever we are talking to, Bill calls me “my rock.” I call him

“my peace of mind.”

I can go farther on the subject. Bill “gets me” and I can be myself,

flaws, problems and “pimples.” I guess that can happen to friends

but there are times that I have heard that two people who dated

and spent as many miles on the road in four years “have to” be

more than friends. “Have to” be sexually attracted and drawn

together.

We may have had that fling or feeling, but we chose friendship to

be the mainstay of our relationship; the foundation we built this

on cannot be knocked down by jealousy.

So, to accomodate others, we are not eating dinner during evening

hours. We are not going to go out, with me wearing a dress or he

with his nicer clothes to Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday or Applebee’s.

We stopped and got a coffee, discussing where we would be going

to have a good talk and possible walk.

We chose to go to Monnett Gardens and the Blue Limestone Park

bench. We have found that to be a special calming place for us to

gaze at the water, the fishermen, the children playing across at the

playground and to reminisce, unwind and sort out our thoughts.

I would like to refer to a poem that is written by a person named

Wind Walker, who is from the “Glamorum Clan.”

“A Spiritual Journey

Across the mountains

A little house sits in the trees

I’m lost in tranquility

As my soul tries to breathe…”

(several more stanzas and here is the close)

“Alone in the sunset

I watch it go down,

When I finally realize

what peace I have found.”

No one can be more zen-like than Bill. His philosophical discussions

have been the best I have ever had, outdoors in freezing cold

weather, with a fire blazing, the deer leaning behind the woodpile

maybe listening in, snorting with steam coming out of their noses.

We have seen many a sunrise, the quiet skies lightening, the chirps

of birds beginning and then the chorus and cacophony of their

voices raised in unison to greet the day. We have wondered at their

enthusiasm and wondered if there were a God?

All of this means to me, that I cannot nor could Bill, give up our deep

and close bond. It is more than love, it is brother and sisterhood. It

is not a base emotion, it is spiritual.

We were not meant to be as lovers nor as boyfriend or girlfriend. We

are meant to be sharers of the meaning of Life.

This is something that two researchers discovered and wrote a paper

about, calling this “Attention Restorative Theory” or A R T. (Not to be

misconstrued or mistaken for art, which is also very therapeutic!)

In this theory:

“Being in a tranquil or ‘restorative’ environment allows individuals to

take respite from the periods of sustained direct attention that

characterize modern living.” (Kaplan and Kaplan)

“The Experience of Nature,” New York: Cambridge University Press.

Tranquility benefits our soul.