Two Benches in Newport, RI

Recently, one of my daughters and I spent a weekend together in Newport, RI. It’s not often that I get to go away alone with the girls. The four of us usually spend time together as a family.

Ana and I had a great time together. We walked and hiked, shared meals, stories, and laughter, and caught up with one another.

On Saturday afternoon, after a two-hour walk on the Cliffwalk, while driving back to our hotel, I noticed two bright yellow benches sitting in two different corners of a large garden surrounding a beautiful old home.

The road in front of the house was busy. There was a lot of traffic but the garden was shady and welcoming. I couldn’t help but wonder … does anyone take the time to sit on these benches and rest, reflect, or maybe chat with a friend? I sure hope so.

There was a palpable difference between the heightened activity of where I was standing and that far corner of the garden across. There was silence and peace in that garden, and those benches beckoned.

“Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it toward others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.”

Etty Hillesum

July was an exceedingly hot and humid month. The temperatures and heavy rains made it difficult to spend time outside, and I felt motionless for most of the month. Once again, I came up against the side of me that has to keep pushing through, finding solutions, and overcoming whatever comes her way. This time, I chose to go with it and not push myself.

Sometimes, the wise choice may be to stop pushing and, instead, lean back, observe, and listen for what needs our attention.

Sometimes, inspiration and the answers to our questions arrive in silence when we stop asking.

While resting in that space of “not doing,” we come to see how far we’ve come and how much we’ve changed. We recognize that maybe our priorities have changed, but we were too busy to notice.

Sometimes, a hot and humid month will leave us motionless enough to stop moving and start listening to ourselves.

What about you?
How is your summer going, and what are you learning about yourself?
Has anything changed?
Are you hoping or planning for a change?
What do you need the most these days to feel supported?

I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or fo*********@gm***.com" title="">email me.


  • Linda Samuels

    How special you and Ana had your weekend away together. There is nothing quite as wonderful as that one-on-one time. And what a beautiful way to enjoy a hot July weekend by being by the sea. I love your image of the two yellow benches tucked in the shade of the garden. And also how you wondered if anyone ever sits there. We have a blue bench in the front of our house, right next to the front door. I don’t sit there often. I’m more likely to rest my packages on it as I bring them into our home. But every so often, I sit there- so still. I watch the leaves move slightly in the warm breeze or feel the sun on my body. I listen to the neighborhood sounds of birds singing, lawn mowers mowing, or people talking to each other. It feels so different to sit outside in front instead of being inside looking out on the back woods. I appreciate the perspective shift, which finds me as I sit in stillness.

    As things begin to cool in late August and the summer comes to a close, I can feel myself perking up – waking up from the hot and humid thick heat of July. I’m not ready to say goodbye to summer yet and have another adventure coming up. But soon I will dive deeper into the coolness of fall with all the surprises and possibilities it will bring. I do love the change of seasons. It’s a chance to rethink, check in, and adjust course if needed.

    • Yota Schneider

      Thank you, Linda 💖 Ana and I had a wonderful time by the sea.

      I love the image of you sitting on the blue bench by your front door taking it all in, in stillness, welcoming the shift in perspective as it arrives. It’s not often we are granted moments like this. That’s what makes your blue bench special.

      I am not quite ready to say goodbye to summer either, but I feel a slight “mood” shift in the cool mornings and evenings. There are plenty of hot days ahead, but something is shifting already, and it feels me with anticipation. Like you, I love the change of seasons and all they bring.

  • Claudia Larsson

    I love your latest reflection. Can totally relate to the July Syndrome 😂(just made this up) Inertia and the feeling of being water logged. Taking the path of least resistance, like water does finding space to flow thru. 💚

    • Yota Schneider

      Hi Claudia,
      I love your water metaphor … both in “feeling water logged” as well as being like “water that finds space to flow thru” instead of struggling to make its way. It’s perfect! Glad this resonated with you! I would love to hear more about the kind of paths you found yourself flowing through. Maybe next time we get together for a walk in the woods.
      Thank you for being here 💖

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