Tuesday, September 14, 2010

K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Silly



"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."  - Anne Morrow LindberghGift from the Sea


There are many different publishings of this book - This is my favorite cover
Little gift books have never interested me. You know, those books that people buy  you for your birthday when they can't think of anything else to get you. That's why when I saw my first copy of "Gift From the Sea" I passed it by.  It just looked cheesy to me. 


Sometime later  I was reading an article about The Lindbergh's - Charles & his wife Anne. Charles is the famous one you always hear about. Mention was made of Anne's amazing accomplishments for a woman living in a time long before the equality of woman was popular and that intrigued me.


 Anne was college graduate, an aviator, a writer, and married to the most famous man on the planet and all before 1930. The kidnapping and murder of their 20 month old son in 1932 blasted her into the public eye. During WWII her husband's popularity took a nose-dive for some not so popular opinions on the war.  This woman needs a vacation!
One of the original ‘Tween Waters Inn cottages on Captiva Island in the early 1900s.


 Anne Lindbergh wrote "Gift From the Sea" on Captiva Island in 1955. She took a month long vacation in a little house on the beach - no electricity, running water, or (yee gads) a/c.  She was actually journaling but it turned into her most famous book.   Each chapter uses a shell as a metaphor for each stage of her life. Reading this book changed my life in so many ways. The biggest was deciding to simplify my life  like the hermit crab she talks about in Chapter 2 - The Channeled Whelk. As a woman who was spinning many plates - the job plate, the marriage plate, the taking-care-of-my- parents plate, the what-about-me-plate, ect... This little book spoke to me deeply.


I still find this  book in thrift stores and garage sales all the time. I have given so many away to friends and family because it's little story has impacted me so deeply. The used ones I find almost always have a loving (to - from)inscription on the title page. 


If you've never read it - you must. If it's been a while since you have read it - read it again.  I re-read it every summer. It's my little tradition.
Anne Lindbergh was the first woman to be certified a celestial navigator
"But I want first of all – in fact, as an end to these other desires – to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact – to borrow from the languages of the saints – to live "in grace" as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, "May the outward and inward man be at one." I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God."  (from Chapter 2 - The Channeled Whelk)
The inscription on the inside page of my personal copy reads "To Me, On my 40th birthday because I deserve beauty in my life."

From Chapter One - The Beach - "But it must not be sought for or – heaven forbid! – dug for. No, no dredging of the sea-bottom here. That would defeat one’s purpose. The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea."


Here is some information on the Lindbergh's Captiva visits