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425 of 431 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Roadmap for One's Life Journey
After watching _The Spirit of St. Louis_ one afternoon, my boyfriend (who is also a pilot) told me that Anne Morrow Lindbergh had written a book, which, as he was told, "every woman should read." The next time I went to his house, _Gift from the Sea_ was waiting for me.
What amazed me about this book was its timeliness, or should I say, timelessness. That a...
Published on February 3, 2000

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26 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A reissue
Gift From The Sea was first published in 1955 and was the best-selling nonfiction book of the year with 80 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. I'm discovering it for the first time. It's simply lovely and is deserving of this new 50th Anniversary edition of 130 pages.

It is obvious that the sea and the beach were an integral part of Ann Morrow...
Published on May 17, 2005 by Armchair Interviews


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425 of 431 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Roadmap for One's Life Journey, February 3, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Gift from the Sea (Paperback)
After watching _The Spirit of St. Louis_ one afternoon, my boyfriend (who is also a pilot) told me that Anne Morrow Lindbergh had written a book, which, as he was told, "every woman should read." The next time I went to his house, _Gift from the Sea_ was waiting for me.
What amazed me about this book was its timeliness, or should I say, timelessness. That a middle-aged Caucasian woman, writing during the 50's, could strike such a deeply-felt chord of sisterhood with me, a 30-something African-American woman living at the brink of a new millennium, is truly the mark of a gifted writer. We "enlightened, liberated" women of the year 2000 think, with a fair amount of condescension, that we have "progressed" so much from that time period. And yet, the issues Mrs. Lindbergh addressed are still very much with us today: how does a woman fulfill the roles of citizen, artist, wife/partner, mother, career person, friend, sibling/relative, and balance all of that with the time and self-commitment for spiritual/emotional nurturing?
I have a quote from this precious gift posted on the wall at my workstation; it is a state of being I seek as a humble pilgrim on life's journey:
"...I want first of all...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 language of the saints - to live "in grace" as much of the time as possible...By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony...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..."
This is a must read for women everywhere!
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136 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every page is a delicious retreat, a vacation for the soul., July 4, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Gift from the Sea (Paperback)
Not a book to race through! To be read slowly, alone, savored, re-read, meditated and mused on, with contentment. And if you can't find contentment, it will find you -- in Anne's words -- her gift from the sea.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh's thoughts are woven around her impressions gathered from her ocean-side stay away from society and civilization -- from people and things -- from noise and confusion -- from musts and don'ts.

What Anne discovers in her solitude at the beach, she offers to you the reader by way of her journal. The tiny shells she held and studied provide lessons to her and all of us.

Anne's musings about life, relationships, love, busy-ness, aging, simplicity and solitude came to me several years ago at a time I was re-assessing many things in my life. Like a grace, her words soothed me and helped me quiet my turbulent thoughts, and to gather my inmost spirit to bind the wounds, to fill myself with the good already all around me and to go forward.

I realized I could slow down my pace, choose my own path, ask for and expect some peace and quiet and harmony, because these gifts are there for all of us to enhance our lives.

Although written from a woman's perspective, Anne's gift from the sea is for all of us who hunger for the slower pace, the garden path, the sanctity in God's every creation down to the intricate sea shell in Anne's hand as she coddles it, examines its artistic swirls and ridges and colors, and listens to the lessons -- the homilies -- within its delicate curves.

A keeper of a book. You'll go back to this one, like to a favorite vacation hideaway or armchair by the fireside or corner in the garden under the stars. It'll be an old friend, a comfort and blessing.

Take a deep breath......Can you just smell the salty tang of those soft breezes off the ocean
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168 of 177 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Self-help without the jargon, May 22, 2000
This review is from: Gift from the Sea (Paperback)
This title was a recent selection for a book discussion group that I helped organize for my library. As the only male in the group, I felt somewhat compelled to offer token protest to the selection of this classic example of a "woman's book," but actually I was intrigued by it. Everything I had read about "Gift From the Sea" praised its meditative quality and I had to admit that the promise of that rather appealed to me.
I wound up reading the bulk of the book on Mothers' Day, which seemed quite appropriate, given that among the many issues Lindbergh addresses here is the need for mothers to find a balance between their own needs and those of their children and husbands. The need for time to one's self, a "room of one's own", the need for a spriritual dimension to one's existence--well, it seems so obvious that these needs have to be met if a woman--if any human being--is to be fulfilled and to be able to meet her (or his) responsibilities with joy rather than with dread. But the lessons that Anne Morrow Lindbergh taught in 1955 still need to be voiced in 2000--perhaps more than ever. Lindbergh seems prescient when she speaks of the dangers of the "life of multiplicity" which had already taken root in the immediate post-War era. We know all too well that it has not gotten any better in the past 50 years and that women's lives in particular have become more stressful and, to use Lindbergh's word, "fragmented" in the past half-century.
What distinguishes Lindbergh's book from today's current crop of self-help or New Age sprititual books though is its lyrical quality. Her careful, belletristic prose is soothing and, yes, meditative in and of itself. Reading it seems to bring about the very centeredness and balance that she seeks to describe.
Although she includes no bibliography (and rightly so, as this is not a tract), I would hope that many of her readers would be inspired to seek out the works of some of the writers she quotes in the context of these essays. She does the world a great service in suggesting how Rilke, for example, whose poetry may seem impenetrable at first, can actually speak to the concerns of our own lives.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars marvelous exploration of the human condition, December 18, 2000
This review is from: Gift from the Sea: 50th Anniversary Edition (Hardcover)
Based on its reputation as one of the seminal works of Feminism and a callow belief that the author was merely riding her husband's coattails to fame, this is a book that I have pretty studiously avoided. As it turns out, that was a colossal mistake on my part. This little book contains more interesting and compelling thoughts on the nature of human relationships, particularly the marriage relationship, than just about any other book I've ever read.
It's not possible to address them all here, but here are two ideas that I found particularly striking. Here is a passage describing a quality marriage:
A good relationship has a pattern like a dance, and is built on some of the same rules. The partners do not need to hold on tightly, because they move confidently in the same pattern, intricate but gay and swift and free, like a country dance of Mozart's. To touch heavily would be to arrest the pattern and freeze the movement, to check the endlessly changing beauty of its unfolding. There is no place here for the possessive clutch, the clinging arm, the heavy hand, only the barest touch is assign. Now arm in arm, now face to face, now back to back - it does not matter which. Because they know they are partners moving to the same rhythm, creating a pattern together, and being invisibly nourished by it. The joy of such a pattern is not only the joy of creation or the joy of participation, it is also the joy of living in the moment. Lightness of touch and living in the moment are intertwined.
When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.
The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.
This image, of a loving couple as partners in a dance, not gripped in a hammer lock, but tracing a unified pattern via different steps, just seems profound to me. We all know people who demand of love that it be unchanging, or demand of a partner that they do things in lockstep; these people are never happy and we immediately recognize their relationships as unhealthy. At the same time, we recognize the good marriages around us as the ones where each partner is confident enough in the other to have faith that their separate paths will remain intertwined and will lead to the same place.
The other section that truly brought about a personal epiphany, was when she says:
...marriage, which is always spoken of as a bond, becomes actually, in this stage, many bonds, many strands, of different texture and strength, making up a web that is taut and firm. The web is fashioned of love. Yes, but many kinds of love: romantic love first, then a slow-growing devotion and, playing through these, a constantly rippling companionship. It is made of loyalties, and interdependencies, and shared experiences. It is woven of memories of meetings and conflicts; of triumphs and disappointments. It is a web of communication, a common language, and the acceptance of lack of language, too; a knowledge of likes and dislikes, of habits and reactions, both physical and mental. It is a web of instincts and intuitions, and known and unknown exchanges. The web of marriage is made by propinquity, in the day to day living side by side, looking outward and working outward in the same direction.
As I read that, I was reminded of some of the marriages i've never been able to fathom, from my own grandparents to that most analyzed relationship of our day, the Clintons. The notion of the years together creating a web and of reaching a point where you, the couple, are within, looking out in the same direction, seems to me to go a long way to explaining such marriages. Think of how completely the Clintons are entangled within their own unique web, how insular their world must be, and, so long as they do work in the same direction, their relationship at least starts to make a little sense.
There is much more here besides. I approached with trepidation, fearing a chick book, and found instead a marvelous exploration of the human condition in general and of the extraordinarily complex nature of marriage in particular. It is a book that anyone will benefit by, especially actual or prospective husbands and wives.
GRADE: A+
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true gem!!, March 4, 2001
By 
This review is from: Gift from the Sea (Paperback)
I had no idea, when I found this book in a little beach bookstore recently, that it was written in 1955. Had I known, it probably would have dissuaded me from buying it. I now know how fortunate I am to have not known!
I believe that books, words and people come into our lives at the time they are most needed, and Gift from the Sea certainly fits that bill for me. While small bits of it may be dated, most of it speaks as clearly and truly to modern day woman as it would have to 1950s women. In fact, with so many women in search of their most authentic self these days, it may even be MORE relevant to today's woman! It is a delicate and thoughtful essay on solitude, couplehood, inner peace and the wonder of nature. I can't imagine anyone not being inspired and uplifted by reading it. Truly, a gift for the soul.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A WOMAN AHEAD OF HER TIME!, May 4, 2001
By 
Sandra D. Peters "Seagull Books" (Prince Edward Island, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gift from the Sea (Paperback)
Anne Morrow Lindbergh could teach today's modern woman a wealth of knowledge on fulfillment and the balancing act of motherhood, wife and self. She has come to understand, the importance of finding peace and happiness within yourself, before you can share those qualities with others. Anne was, indeed, in her simplistic approach to life, a woman light-years ahead of her time. She had discovered, long before self-help books were fashionable, the ultimate joys and pleasures of a simplistic lifestyle, the richness of spiritual well being, and the importance of inner peace.
Written in a unique, vibrant, flowing style, this book says in a lot less words what dozens of other self-help books set out to accomplish in long-winded, psycho-analytic terminology. "Gift from the Sea" is truly a gift from the soul of a woman with great wisdom and inner beauty, and one which you will long remember. Another book I would highly recommend is, "A Year by the Sea" by Joan Anderson.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woman's Book gets Man's Attention !, April 29, 2006
By 
This review is from: Gift from the Sea (Paperback)
As a man I immensely enjoyed this 'woman's' book. Mrs. Lindberg uses masterful metaphor to tell her tale of inner discovery. Her level of insight kept my attention throughout this short memoir. I will go on the record and call this a man's book also. There are so many lessons that cross the gender lines. I believe that I also have a better understanding of women in general. Her relationship advice is sublime. I have included my favorite quotes:

"Duration is not the test of true or false."

"There is no one-and-only, there are just one-and-only moments."

"Neither is the answer in dissipating our time and energy in more purposeless occupations, more accumulations which supposedly simplify life but actually burden it, more possessions which we have not time to use or appreciate, more diversions to fill up the void."

"Saint Exupery said 'Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.'"

Five Stars
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple Abundance For The Ages........, December 23, 2001
By 
Renee (BROOKLYN, NY USA) - See all my reviews
For anyone -- but most particularly any woman -- in search of self and her place in the world this book, written in 1955, is a must read. It so fully articulates the inner struggles so many women today try to come to grips with-- while at the same time it illustrates that as much as we would like to believe that much of what occurs in our lives is a new occurence, the fact is that there truly is nothing new under the sun, that these struggles just persist from generation to generation.
This diary is so timely throughout that it is at times almost spooky. Hear Lindbergh, for example, conjure up images of the impact of today's Martha Stewart at a time when Martha Stewart was just 14 years old and still a very long way from Lindbergh's consciousness or that of the general public:
"Here I live in a bare sea-shell cottage. No heat, no telephone, sweeping and clearning here. I am no longer aware of the dust no plumbing to speak of, no hot water, a two-burner oil stove, no gadgets to go wrong. No rugs. There were some, but I rolled them up the first day; it is easier to sweep the sand off a bare floor. But I find I don't bustle about with unnecessary sweeping and cleaning here. I have shed my Puritan conscience about absolute tidiness and cleanliness. Is it possible that, too, is a material burden? No curtains. I do not need them for privacy; the pines around my house are enough protection. I want the windows open all the time and I don't want to worry about rain. I begin to shed my Martha-like anxiety about many things. Washable slipcovers, faded and old -- I hardly see them; I don't worry about the impression they make on other people. I am shedding pride. As little furniture as possible; I shall not need much. I shall ask into my shell only those friends with whom I can be completely honest."
And listen to her speak directly to women of both the 20th and 21st (and probably the 22nd) centuries when she writes:
"With a new awareness, both painful and humorous, I begin to understand why the saints were rarely married women. I am convinced it has nothing inherently to do, as I once supposed, with chastity or children. It has to do primarily with distractions. The bearing, rearing, feeding and educating of children; the running of a house with its thousand details; human relationships with their myriad pulls -- woman's normal occupations in counter to creative life, or contemplative life, or saintly life. The problem is not merely one of Woman and Career, Woman and the Home, Woman and Independence. It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balance, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery and tend to crack the hub of the wheel"

I can barely in a few quotes pay this book the respect it deserves. Suffice it to say that I highly recommend this book. In fact, I suspect it is going to be my goal in 2002 to put it in the hands of many friends, family members and acquaintances!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Every Woman, June 24, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Gift from the Sea: 50th Anniversary Edition (Hardcover)
This book was given to me by a family friend after the birth of my first child. My initial thought was "like I have time to read", but I put it on my nightstand. Finally, when the baby began sleeping through the night, I would read a few pages before turning in myself.
What a soul-refresher this little whisp of a book turned out to be! I had to look a few times at the author's name, and the date the book was first published, to convince myself it was really THAT Lindberg and THAT old. But everything she says, and she says it so beautifully and poetically (even given the circumstances of her own life)holds true today - and most likely as long as women exist on this earth.
Sometimes it is hard for women to do for themselves because they are trying so hard to do for so many others. This time, take the time for yourself, and read this book.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So few pages, so many gems, May 31, 2002
This review is from: Gift from the Sea (Paperback)
"I begin to understand why the saints were rarely married women," Anne Morrow Lindbergh writes. "The problem is not merely one of Woman and Career, Woman and the Home, Woman and Independence. It is more basically: how to remain whole in the midst of the distractions of life; how to remain balanced, no matter what centrifugal forces tend to pull one off center; how to remain strong, no matter what shocks come in at the periphery."
Using the illustration of shells from the sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh clears away the clutter of life, pares it down to its most simple form, that of an internal life that lends clarity to the externals. Each section of the book is a different shell, and a different lesson learned. Peace within one's self, simplicity, clarity, joy, the validity of each cycle and era of a lifetime, strength, and wholeness are just some of the lessons she imparts.
In about 50 years things have not become any less complicated, and this short, simple little book is even more relevant to our busy and noisy modern lives. The lesson one takes away from the book is not how to get rid of all the things, but how to find a calm, still center within one's self to maintain sanity, and that need never change, no matter what the distractions might be.
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Gift from the Sea: 50th Anniversary Edition
Gift from the Sea: 50th Anniversary Edition by A.M. Lindbergh (Hardcover - October 8, 1991)
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