How come some books are ageless, meaning their content is valid for seemingly decades? A simple book generated over one summer, Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, is such a gem. Written in 1955, it holds truths, wisdom and relevance to this present time. Initially she was just writing down her own musings, gaining clarity for herself during a few contemplative weeks on her own, separate from her busy life as wife and mother. Getting away on one’s own in 1955 seems a progressive notion for all involved to make that happen. Out of her contemplative time came Gift from the Sea, where Anne compares her daily beach treasures such as moon shells, sunrises and oyster beds to human life and the challenges which are universal and still valid more than 65 years later. Few people take the time, or have the contemplative nature to see patterns, articulate them and then share them in ways that can be illuminating for others.
Here’s such a Gift from the Sea, page 37-38
…For it is not physical solitude that actually separates one from other (people), not physical isolation, but spiritual isolation. It is not the desert island nor the stony wilderness that cuts you from the people you love. It is the wilderness in the mind, the desert wastes in the heart through which one wanders lost and a stranger. When one is a stranger to oneself then 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 refound through solitude.
Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 18, 1856 – November 14, 1915) was an American educator, author, orator, and adviser to multiple presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, Washington was the dominant leader in the African American community and of the contemporary black elite. Washington was from the last generation of black American leaders born into slavery and became the leading voice of the former slaves and their descendants. They were newly oppressed in the South by disenfranchisement and the Jim Crow discriminatory laws enacted in the post-Reconstruction Southern states in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Finding the inspired words these days from within oneself can be challenging. Thankfully there are books to peruse for inspiration, discussion groups, and thoughtful friends.
Here’s an excerpt to share from Deepak Chopra’s Book, The 7 Spiritual Laws of Superheroes.
Authenticity is one of the most important aspects of real power. When it comes to their language, integrity, actions, and even thoughts and intentions, superheroes emphasize authenticity above all else. They are honest and genuine, saying what they mean clearly, without duplicity, and align their actions with their highest intentions.
“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no results.”
Being broken is what makes us human. Sometimes we’re fractured by the choices we make; sometimes we’re shattered by things we would never have chosen. But our brokenness is also the source of our common humanity, the basis of our shared search for comfort, meaning and healing. Our shared vulnerability and imperfection nurtures and sustains our capacity for compassion.
“Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson
This speaks to a form of courage that seems hard for us to display, feel or reveal to one another these days. Yet to be vulnerable, and share, seems one of the greatest sources of strength and courage humans have. By being vulnerable, which speaks to trusting, and inner strength, is a strong way to connect to ourselves and one another.
Being curious about one another, curious rather than afraid about how we might be different; can lead to an inspired energy to come together and solve what seems insurmountable. When we feel divided that energy isn’t there. We have choices in each moment and in each day to nurture and grow our common humanity.
In these covid times, looking to the writing of others as reminders and soothers seems the choice for Aging Deliciously right now.
Mindfulness provides a simple but powerful route for getting ourselves unstuck, back into touch with our own wisdom and vitality. It is a way to take charge of our own lives, including our relationships within the family, our relationship to work and to the larger world and planet, and most fundamentally, our relationship with oneself as a person.
From Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book ” Wherever You Go There You Are”.
In all times, and especially in crazy times, we look for aspects of life that remain constant, true and grounding. Absolutes.
In Elle Harris’s words from BellaGracemagazine.com August 2020:
Love is always the point. It is the beginning and the end. Love is the epicenter of life and nothing, nothing, overrides its importance. When you are kind, when you care, when you show people that their thoughts, opinions, and voices matter, that is love in action, and “love” the noun depends on “love” the verb to be felt. Though the world can be full of pain and doubt, havoc and hate, love is the light that eradicates the shadows and knits our souls back together. Whatever passions you pursue, they are noble when done with love.
Are you familiar with Michael A. Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul? In rereading books for their calming reminders during unsettling times in our lives, books can act like mentors. Mentors who are wise, non-judgmental and remind us of truths or practices we may need again, or may have forgotten. This passage struck a helpful chord.
At the end of Chapter 1 Singer writes:
True personal growth is about transcending the part of you that is not okay and needs protection. This is done by constantly remembering that you are the one inside that notices the voice talking. That is the way out. The one inside who is aware that you are always talking to yourself about yourself is always silent. It is a doorway to the depths of your being. To be aware that you are watching the voice talk is to stand on the threshold of a fantastic inner journey. If used properly, the same mental voice that has been a source of worry distraction, and general neurosis can become the launching ground for true spiritual awakening. Come to know the one who watches the voice, and you will come to know one of the great mysteries of creation.