January 17, 2010

Sunday Inspiration for Simple Living 2 - Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Many, many years ago a friend gave me a pretty gift-book copy of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea., At that time in my life, I was more fascinated with the author and her history as the wife of Charles Lindbergh and the mother of the baby kidnapped and killed in what still may be the most famous kidnapping case in American history.  Surely you've heard of the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping, still refered to as "the Crime of the Century"? 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh - aviatrix, author, wife of Charles Lindbergh

I looked to Anne Morrow Lindbergh as someone to admire, a role model of sorts.  Back then, perhaps I needed to find admirable, courageous people for the lessons their biographies could teach me.  I was looking for my path. 

Today, I'm older, hopefully wiser.  I've found my path and I'm walking on it.  Now, I'm more interested in the words that Anne Morrow wrote in her books than in the biographies describing her eventful life. 

Gift From the Sea is wonderful.  Physically, it's a little book which makes it all the more the masterpiece, considering the wallop that it packs.

Each chapter is named after a shell.  Each shell, selected by the author during a solitary stay at the beach, is symbolic of something bigger, something important.  The book itself is a journal gathering the lessons that Anne Morrow Lindbergh has been taught, wisdom that she's willing to share with the reader. 

It is a graceful telling, never pretentious or cavalier.  Perhaps knowing all this woman had experienced by the time that she penned Gift helps the reader to appreciate and admire that fact that this is no memoir.  Among the treasures that I find there (it's thick, you'll undoubtedly find your own) are these three quotes:

I have learned by some experience, by many examples, and by the writings of countless others before me, also occupied in the search, that certain environments, certain modes of life, certain rules of conduct are more conducive to inner and outer harmony than others. There are, in fact, certain roads that one may follow. Simplification of life is one of them.

Mechanically, we have gained, in the last generation, but spiritually we have, I think, unwittingly lost. In other times, women had in their lives more forces which centered them whether or not they realized it; sources which nourished them whether or not they consciously went to the springs.

For it is not physical solitude that actually separates one from other men, not physical isolation, but spiritual isolation.  ... When one is a stranger to oneself than one is estranged from others, too. If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others.  .... Only when one is connected to one's own core is one connected to others, I am beginning to discover.  And for me, the core, the inner spring, can best be found through solitude. 

You can read excerpts from Gift From the Sea at Google Books.  And, at Amazon there are used copies for a PENNY.  If you're looking for inspiration in changing your lifestyle, then spend that penny and get this book. 

In researching this post and finding the hyperlinks, I discovered that Barnes & Noble has an audiobook of Gift From the Sea, read by Claudette Colbert (yes, that one) for only $6.64.  Now that's fun to ponder -- listening to these words read by one of my favorite actresses.  Think I'll check the library, see if they have this ....

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