gift from the sea

Anyone who has not read Gift from the Sea  by Anne Morrow Lindbergh needs to. This is my second time reading it, and as I settle into the rhythm of the ebb and flow of transition, I am comforted by the musing of a this woman (written more than 50 years ago).

I mean to lead a simple life, to choose a simple shell I can carry easily- like a hermit crab. But I do not. I find that my frame of life does not foster simplicity… What is the answer? There is no easy answer, no complete answer. I have only clues, shells from the sea. The bare beauty of the channelled whelk tells me that one answer, and perhaps a first step, is in simplification of life, in cutting out some of the distractions. But how? Total retirement is not possible. I cannot shed my responsibilities. I cannot permanently inhabit a desert island. I cannot be a nun in the midst of family life. I would not want to be. The solution for me, surely, is neither in total renunciation of the world, nor in total acceptance of it. I must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating rhythm between these two extremes; a swinging of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return. In my periods of retreat, perhaps I can learn something to carry back into my worldly life…

Exhale. Retreat. Reorganize. Shed the layers of accumulation; clothes, thoughts, ideas, old make up, unopened books. 

I am thankful to have this solid rock and support as I weave my way in to a balanced life and learn my own lessons by the sea. 


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