Angelica Grace Designs Blog

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

SAVORING GIFT FROM THE SEA

I couldn't let the night go by without jumping back on here and emphasizing what a phenomenal book "Gift from the SEA" is by Anne Lindberg. Between waiting in the waiting area during Kenidi's therapy appointment last night, waiting in the car during Brennen's guitar lesson after that, and my neurologist appointment regarding my new friend, Mr. Migraine, this morning...I had plenty of time to be reading. During those few hours, I was able to start and finish the 130 page book that literally (both mentally and emotionally) swept me off my feet. This book was originally published in 1955 but has now gone on to have a 50th anniversary reprint edition which is what I purchased. Unfortunately, the author died at the age of 94 back in 2001. If she was still living, she'd definitely be receiving a letter of gratitude from me. Her words and her writing ability is so impressive. Anne depicts and describes life in stages, via different types of beach shells, while enjoying her alone time on Captiva Island. The way in which she relates to the multiple stages in life in comparison to specific beach shells and their appearance, purpose, and beauty is nothing short of amazing. My heart welled up many times during my first reading of this book. And you can bet that I'll be reading it again and again.

Although Anne lived in a different era than the rest of us now days, her perspective and her outlook on a woman's (and a man's) life is dead on. Even all these years later, her life lessons fit the world as we know it today- just - well...perfectly.
In chapter two, Anne writes a very poignant set of words that hit me like a ton of bricks. One of just many collections of paragraphs that I underlined and scribbled graffiti out to the side of while I sat in awe of her awesomeness. That particular paragraph read this:
"I shall ask into my shell only those friends with whom I can be completely honest. I find I am shedding hypocrisy in human relationships. What a rest that will be! The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. That is why so much of social life is exhausting; one is wearing a mask. I have shed my mask."

Is that not a life confirming set of words or what? I have recently shared many conversations with Brent lately about friends, business associates who claim to be friends but yet pick my brain as though interested in my life only to cheat their way thru the process via my piggy back ride. I've shared with Brent how discouraging friendships can be at times. There have been specific moments in my life when I have vowed to swear off "friends" (I use that term loosely) all together. Brent realizes my frustrations and is attentive to my pain - always trying to encourage me to not turn my back on relationships - yet to keep "dating" as he calls it. Keep "dating" new friends - new relationships - and eventually God will reveal his plan throughout those roads traveled. He'll match you/us with the perfect couple - your perfect circle of friends who don't gossip, who really do care, and reciprocate your "give them the shirt off our back" theory. I must admit though that I struggle to see Brent's positive aspect on this topic. I'm consistently trying to explain to him why he is wrong. He then is consistently lifting me up - trying to keep pushing me along in an effort to keep me faithful. I find that in the end, most friendships have hidden agenda's or false truths. Maybe some of you will agree with me or maybe most of you won't. In my 33 years of life though, I've run across only a handful of friends who are really true and totally genuine. They know who they are and so do I. In 5 words...they are my prized possessions. They are my realization and my confirmation of how phoney relationships are most times in this world. They are my truth in a false driven world. They are my genuine friends who don't expect jobs, money, favors, the picking of my brain and theft of my hard attained work when it comes to AGD. They don't gossip about my family or the road once traveled. And if they are privey to a conversation where someone else is gossiping, they remove themselves from the equation - never waivering from the loyalty and the love they have for us. They accept my kids and their health issues just as they are. They aren't the one sided friendships where if you didn't call them, they'd never call you. They call! They make and arrange plans. They embrace my life and I theirs. They are real. Genuine. Priceless!
Anne goes on to write in her book that "instead of planting solitude with our own dream blossoms, we 'choke' the space with continuous music, chatter, and companionship to which we do not even listen. It is simply there to fill the vacuum. When the noise stops there is no inner music to take its place. We must re-learn to be alone." WOW! How true is that??? How many times have you caught yourself filling a void in your life with a "so not real" existence in an effort to not be alone with yourself. With your "center" as Anne calls it. I find it thoroughly fascinating that Anne believes you must spend time alone with yourself - finding yourself - the real you and your real relationships. One of my favorite parts to the book is where she says..."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."

In the end, I'm walking away from this book feeling more empowered than ever before. I love the beach, the sea, the shells, the wave caps, even more than I did before now that I've read her words. She connects with the ocean in a way that I can sooooooooo relate to. As I read her descriptions of what the sea does for her soul, I find myself wanting to shout Yes, Yes, Yes...me too!

Lastly, she writes "Eternally, woman spills herself away in driblets to the thirsty, seldom being allowed the time, the quiet, the peace, to let the pitcher fill up to the brim." Therefore, I found through her words that I'm ready to begin filling up my pitcher again. That involves making choices. Many of those choices are already set in motion. More are evolving as I type.

My advice to you is to run, and run fast - do not walk -toward your nearest book store and purchase this book. It is a small read but yet one that is not meant to be hurried/rushed. It is meant to be savored. As one reader said, it is like an impeccable vacation - you will go back to it. Again and Again. If you are hungering for a slower pace and a depiction of life from an extremely educated woman who owns the life experience to teach it all to us ahead of time, then get this book! Just get it! You'll finish it all in one day. I promise. And when you do, you'll walk away feeling more centered with yourself, your life, your core, your world, your space. And that friends...is an awesome accomplishment. If you should read the book, be sure to post here or email me about it. I'd love to hear your comments or your opinion of Anne's writings. Enjoy!

xoxo, Angie

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16 Comments:

Blogger Missy said...

Angie,
I am going to go buy that book. Oh my gosh...I have to tell you that your words ring so true to me, too! Mike and I were Matron of Honor and Best Man to a couple just a year and a half ago only to find that entire friendship superficial. The phone rang one way, after the wedding and our dollar$$ had been spent. uggh! It leaves you so disheartened...because I would truthfully NEVER use someone or even think of what THEY can do for me. I am a social bird (Brent may remember that little factoid about me) and I am always wearing my heart on my sleeve and getting bonked back into reality in my friendships. I have a handful of people that I can say, these are my "girls" that I have had in my life for years. These women are gracious, fun loving, friends with deep character and integrity. Thank you for reminding me how much I appreciate them!

And gossip.....well that stinks. I have been guilty of participating in that garbage, too. Funny how you rationalize it when you are the "gossiper" When you suddenly find yourself on the receiving end, it feels entirely different. Very painful.

I read something very poignant this past year that hit home with me. It said that gossip is a way for someone to avoid true intimacy with the other person. I read that and repeated that over in my head. It was one of those Oprah light bulb moments...you know those? I think I had rationalized that sitting with girlfriends "catching up" on everyone else's lives and the "latest" we were nurturing a friendship when in fact, we were avoiding topics such as ourselves ~~ that would allow us to delve deeper in to EACH OTHER and not others. So that was a big epiphany for me.

So I have tried it. Boy, it's hard. I was never much of a malicious gossiper, just a chatty Cathy. (I am sure that SHOCKS you...haha)
Anyway, I found it HARD to really not yack about others. It's that uncomfortable silence Anne Lindbergh references .............silence in solitude. And boy , when I tried it with my husband.....To not talk about others in your circle of friends, your kids, your family for a night. You realize just how hard that can be!

Okay, stepping off my podium.

Great topic, Angie!

4/22/2009 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Carrie Zapfe said...

I've always wanted to read it...now I'll have to.

4/22/2009 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It truly is disheartening to make a clean sweep of "friends"! I am in the process...maybe I need some tips from you! I have trouble not looking back...hard to believe people can be so fake and back stabbing, well very sad to say the least!
Thanks for the book tip...I will read it! You should also read My Nephew, My Son...by Bridget Ross, she & I went to high school together...her story is also amazing! You can only order it on line...enjoy!

4/22/2009 11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This book reminded me so much of "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle.
He talks about gossiping, our "conditiioned past", sitting in silence and looking at objects without labeling them. Wow --that is hard too!! Something simple as looking at a beach shell but then not labeling it as a beach shell in your mind--that is deep and very hard to do.

I live in the city and grew up in the country. My favorite chapter of her book was Moonshell.

And the friendship thing, yes, I so agree. I don't call a friend a friend very often, I'll say neighbor, acquaintance etc..I have 2 friends. They are like my sisters I never had.

When I read Missy's section about being in a wedding and then never hearing from the person again, I know so many people that do that, it's so sad, I'll go over and ask about the people in their wedding picture and they end up telling me they haven't seen them since.

4/23/2009 7:59 AM  
Anonymous Nina ~ Seminole, FL said...

I have to say I totally agree with you also. I have noticed in the past few years that you truly know who your "TRUE" friends are, and who the ones are that are just using you. I have decided that at this point in my life I only want my true friends and the others I too will have to do a "clean sweep". The true friends are the ones that support and love you no matter what and will be there for you as much as you are there for them.

Love ya girl! and thanks for such a great blog post!!

4/23/2009 8:09 AM  
Anonymous Jen said...

After reading your review of the book had to go and buy it on eBay! Like others here, I too have had to clean house and accept that those people who claim to be close to me weren't. Can't wait to start reading - sounds like a trip a couple hours east is in order. Can't think of anywhere more perfect to read this than in my comfy beach chair next to the ocean! Thanks Angie!

Jen

4/23/2009 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My life is in definate transition mode right now in so many areas. Thank you for the recomendation I will be purchasing this book today. Thank you.

4/23/2009 9:13 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

http://search2.barnesandnoble.com/BookViewer/?ean=9780679406839


Got to enjoy some of that book this morning! Thought I would share the link! Also Barnes and Noble has some good Mother's Day promos!

4/23/2009 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Angie,

I actually bought this book while at the beach last year. I read it on the beach by myself. I LOVED it!! I am glad that you found it and enjoyed it also. It just gives you a great peace.. Hope you all are well..
Take care,

Kristen Ray

4/23/2009 12:10 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Angie,

Wow, your post really hit a chord with me. I turn 33 in a few months and maybe it's just that when you reach this time in your life you start to question things and search for more true and meaningful things in life.

I've wasted most of my life trying to be something I am not...trying to portray a certain image that is not really me. The last few weeks for me have been an eye-opener. We are all unique and we should each celebrate our uniqueness. How boring would life be if we were all the same? I'm done with the fakeness. I want to be "me" and surround myself with my family and my few close friends that I love and the little hobbies that I enjoy and for once, I want to breathe in life and really enjoy it. Life is just too short to waste precious time on things that are meaningless. I want to live a fuller life...starting right now.

Great post!
Jill

4/23/2009 1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Angie,

I have never read this book. But...I know how you feel. I was that person. The one who asked for nothing but friendship, and still was thrown under the bus.

As if that friendship had never meant a thing. I have never asked my friends for money or a job, I never jumped on coat tails or used my friends for advancement. It hurts for a while, but then I was reminded that if I were emotionally invested in someone who really never cared I was missing a friendship of someone who would care more then I could. I can honestly say I have never given less then I could to a friend.

Kim P.

4/23/2009 1:04 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

Hey Angie!! I totally feel ya on the friends thing. When my husband owned his 2 routes at Fedex and made a lot of money we had a ton of friends but the moment we sold them and slowed our pace down we found out who our true friends were. Very sad when people only want to be your friends when you make a lot of money. Money doesn't define who you are , You define Who you are. People are so caught up in the material things in this world and they should be caught up with faithful relationships and their relationship with the Lord. OK so now I have to go get that book since you posted about it and got me more intrigued. I Hope you are having a Fantabulous day!!!!
~Molly P

4/23/2009 1:40 PM  
Blogger Nicky said...

Hey Angie,

Wow what a book i went and bought it today and flipped through it real quick but don't have the time yet to actually sit down and enjoy it...On the friend situation nowadays I am very cautious and do not open up completely anymore I am 30 yrs old I grew up with my ex best friend since I was 3 we were very close for 27 yrs imagine ...I have been through hell and back with her through so much ...I hate using that word but thats the only way to describe it....I , my family have done anything and everything in our power to be there for her cause her family was never there for her....And last year the unthinkable happened she stabbed me in the back ..I wont go into details here....But when they say expect the unexepted I really do believe in that now....I was crushed,heartbroken words cannot describe the pain ,anguish,duscust,madness I felt towards her...SO thanks to her now I really dont think I could ever trust anyone the way I would normally do...I always wore my heart on my sleeve and I would go out of my way out of my element for anyone not sure I can do that now. I do believe I am one of the nicest people you can ever meet ( AT Least that is what I have been told plenty of times ) (LOL)....
Woo ok I am done cause as I am typing this my blood is starting to boil......lol

Hugs Nicky

4/23/2009 9:21 PM  
Blogger Nicky said...

Btw I forgot to mention the comment window wouldnt open for about an hour or so not sure why my connection is running great...Just a heads up !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4/23/2009 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Mommy said...

Wow, the publishers are probably wondering what has sparked such an interest, out of the clear blue sky. May I read your copy Angie? As far as true friends go, alot of people find themselves later, after they go through some experiences in life. They look back and think, That person was a true sincere friend and I let them down. But they can always make it right, they can ask God to forgive them and then so will the friend. We all got to figure this whole thing out for ourselves. We go through some emotional things in life sometimes. Hopefully we learn something from them, if not, you get to do it again!!!! Angie I cannot believe that these people don't love you, they do honey, they do! They just get a little envious sometimes and then sometimes they want you all to themselves. I want you all to my self, but I got to share ya with everyone else who loves ya. That's ok with me, cause nobody can ever take away the fact that God chose ME to be your Mommy! I thank Him every day for that privalige. xoxoxo

4/23/2009 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought the book yesterday. Read the entire thing in about 8 hrs. This is the type of book that you dont just read one time. It transcends time. You read it. You underline key quotes. Keep it and refer back to it many times through out different stages of life. I purposely had my coffee outside this morning by MYSELF and watched birds.And felt "different" This book reccomendation was right on time. I plan on re-reading it over the weekend. Thank you.

4/24/2009 9:26 AM  

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