Lisa’s Top Summer Reading Pic

This is my favorite book of the summer; Gift from the Sea from Anne        Morrow Lindbergh. It’s an inspirational story written in the early 1950’s about a woman who went on a retreat-style vacation to Florida’s Captiva Island where she reflected on lessons of love, marriage, youth, age, peace, solitude, and contentment. Lindbergh used seashells for inspiration and as metaphors for all stages of life.

This compelling book is a must read for women of all ages and its simple, essay-style meditations make time stand still. I found myself not wanting to put it down and yet each chapter called me to reflect on its message for me. Lindbergh starts with the notion that “every person, especially women, should be alone sometime during the year, some part of each week, and each day“. I’ve heard this practice referred to it as taking “mental health days”, but the idea of a solitary vacation is a stretch I’ve never considered. Not many Americans take annual family vacations, let alone solitary retreats. We live in a fast-paced culture that demands constant activity. Everyone seems to be on a roller-coaster schedule; children included. Stress related illnesses are prevalent. Yet where has this landed us? Divorce is at an all-time high, depression and addiction plague our youth and poverty is on the rise. For all of our frantic activities, most of us aren’t any happier or better off. Gift from the Sea offers a time-out of one’s busy schedule for personal reflection and inspiration.

Lindbergh talks about the importance of finding an “inner stillness” that is devoid of all outward activities. Lingbergh quotes Charles Morgan who describes it as “stilling the soul within the activities of mind and body so that it might be still as the axis of a revolving wheel is still“. For me, I find this stillness in the quiet of meditation; however it is available in a myriad of repetitive activities such as jogging, distance walking, or even yoga. From this stillness comes understanding, inspiration, creativity and a refueling of the Soul that is priceless. Inner stillness is also paramount to dissolving fear, problem solving, and finding the meaning to one’s life.

As for the rest of the lessons, you’ll have to read the book. Pick up a copy at Amazon.com or your favorite bookseller today. At just 132 pages, you will be able to read it in an afternoon at the beach and re-read all summer long.

Enjoy!

 

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