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Stop the time & find yourself again - who doesn't want to do to it now and then?Life lessons from the sea

Levenslessen van de zee

At sea you often come up with the best ideas and the most beautiful thoughts. Anne Morrow Lindbergh found inspiration in shells during a beach vacation in the fifties. She described life lessons that are still current.


Stop the time and find yourself again - who does not want to do this now and then? These feelings are not new. Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the wife of aviator Charles Lindbergh, found during a holiday by the sea the peace to put her thoughts in a row in the form of a diary. From these notes came the book 'Gift from the Sea', in which she reflects on life and relationships. She formulates five important insights on the basis of shells found on the beach.


"I want to live a simple life, choose a simple shell that I can easily wear, like a whelk." Morrow's sigh is like the now-popular desire for minimalism. Family life, work, social contacts, household - it is difficult to find a balance, but necessary for our lives to function properly. Simplification of life, inspired by the naked beauty of a whelk, could be a first step.

boek gift from the sea A.M. Lindbergh

I want to live a simple life, choose a simple shell that I can easily wear.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

In 1955, during a vacation on Captiva Island on the west coast of Florida, Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906-2001) wrote Gift from the Sea. An answer to the conflicts in our lives. It immediately became a bestseller, with millions of copies sold and dozens of translations. For eighty weeks, it was on the bestseller list of The New York Times, of which 47 weeks at number one.

When we have outgrown the phase of the oyster bed, can we leave our shell and choose the freedom?

Anne Morrow Lindbergh


You can withdraw from the hustle and bustle, Morrow believes. Only then can you rediscover yourself and recharge yourself, and then again with heart and soul to participate in the joint life. "If you are not connected to yourself, you can not connect with others," says Morrow. In a shell like the periwinkle she sees an island, with ever larger circles of waves, alone, in itself, serene. It stands for her symbol for a second lesson that we have to learn: being alone sometimes only makes it possible to make real contact with others again.


The double shell, one half the perfect mirror image of the other, represents Morrow symbol for the beginning of relationships. "The first phase of each relationship is pure, whether it is a friend, lover, husband or child. Two people listening to each other, two shells meeting each other, creating one world together. "That purity, that spark, is beautiful but also perishable. After all, you are not alone in the world: ​​you also have to make room for others. But just by letting go of the spark, you can cherish it, Morrow argues. There is no 'one-and-only' forever; there are 'one-and-only' moments. And if you consciously make time for each other, for example by pulling out together, you can also relive those 'one-and-only' moments later.


Becoming homebound, forming a family together - Morrow compares that period in life with an oyster in an oysterbed. The house is messy and is expanding; family life is comfortable and familiar. But even this phase is not forever, says Morrow: "The tide of life is receding. The house begins to empty little by little. "As a result, unrest often arises: think of the notorious midlife crisis or the empty nest syndrome. According to Morrow, we should not flee the turmoil but embrace it. It is a sign that it is time to crawl out of the safe oyster and throw off the layers that you have built around you. In this way you create space to grow, in a spiritual sense. And there is freedom to discover new sides of yourself, for example by traveling or discovering new hobbies.


If you actually need a shell, Morrow finally asks himself. As an example, she gives the papiernautilus, a kind of squid, that uses the argonauta shell as a temporary home for her little ones. As soon as they have swum out, she leaves the shell behind and starts a new life. Morrow sees in the argonauta the imagination of the ultimate personal development, unlimited by social expectations and fully motivated by the heart. She philosophises: "If we have outgrown the oysterbed phase, can we leave our shell and choose the freedom?" That offers the flexibility that is needed in all times to go along in the ebb and flow of life.

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