Posted by: ritagone | June 1, 2016

“Gift From the Sea”

One of my favorite meditative books has been, for the last couple of decades, “Gift From the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Wife and then widow of the celebrity pilot Charles Lindbergh, I have often been amazed that, while raising five children (after losing a sixth child, a son, solitude-therapie-psychologie-sortirto a famous kidnapping in the early 1930’s) and having to play second fiddle all her married life to a man who was an icon of his time, she was able to find time in her busy world to be quiet and find solitude, something she obviously needed for her soul.

She wrote about this need for quiet and alone time in her classic work “Gift From the Sea” which is still read by millions today. I’ve copied one of her readings for you to enjoy:


“If it is our function to give, we must be replenished too. But how? Everyone should be alone sometime during the year, some part of each week, and each day. If they were convinced that a day off, or an hour of solitude, was a reasonable ambition, they would find a way of attaining it. As it is, they feel so unjustified in this demand that they rarely make an attempt.

            The world does not understand, in either man or woman, the need to be alone. How inexplicable it seems. Anything else will be accepted as a better excuse. If one sets aside time for a business appointment, a trip to the hairdresser, a social engagement, or a shopping expedition, that time is accepted as inviolable. But if one says: I cannot come because that is my hour to be alone, one is considered rude, egotistical or strange. What a commentary on our civilization, when being alone is considered suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it – like a secret vice!

            Certain springs are tapped only when we are alone. The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician to compose; the saint, to pray.

            The problem is not entirely in finding the room of one’s own, the time alone, difficult and necessary as this is. The problem is more how to still the soul in the midst of its activities. In fact the problem is how to feed the soul. I must try to be alone for part of each year, even a week or a few days; and for part of each day, even an hour or a few minutes, in order to keep my core, my centre, my island-quality. Unless I keep the island-quality intact somewhere within me, I will have little to give to my husband, my children, my friends or the world at large.”


Well said, Anne Lindbergh. Shouldn’t we all be looking for those alone times that replenish our souls, our centers, so that we can be all we’re supposed to be? And won’t the people around us who share life with us be the better for it, as we ourselves will also be?


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