Monday, February 09, 2009

All the Beautiful Shells

One of my favourite places in Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea is the chapter entitled, A Few Shells. In it, she chats about how greedily she collected sea shells upon her arrival to her island hideaway all those years ago. She couldn't let one go by unnoticed; she couldn't even walk with her head up looking out to the sea, for fear of missing another gift from the sea.

Yet, as her tale continues, once her bookcase and window ledges were overflowing with her abundant collection, she began to be more selective in her choices. She realized,
 " cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few. ... For it is only framed in space that beauty blooms. Only in space are events and objects and people unique and significant -- and therefore beautiful. A tree has significance if one sees it against the empty face of sky. A note in music gains significance from the silences on either side."

I live where I can enjoy abundance in just about everything. I'm truly grateful, yet there are those moments when I long for the simplicity -- and beauty -- of less. Where there are more silences between the notes and lots of white spaces where eye and soul can rest.

Perhaps this is a perfect time for me to begin clearing out some of that excess.... perhaps this longing of my soul for space to breathe more deeply will make it easier to be more selective and release what is no longer needed.



  1. A good word! I am reminded of how the Lord prunes His own, leaving us free of some unneeded, or even hurtful thing. At one time it felt like a loss to me, though in these older years I see well how it was/is actually a gain. Beauty is most vivid against the backdrop He paints.


  2. I love that book...interesting I've been working for weeks on an article about simplicity in our lives. The hardest thing I've ever written which perhaps says something about my life right now. Too many good things crowded in.

  3. What a beautiful quote from the book! I could just read it over and over and over.....

  4. Brenda- I wanted to let you know that I have closed my Birdie swap, but I can still sneak you in, if you'd like.:) Just let me know by tomorrow if you'd like to join the fun!:) Lori

    I used to say "quick like a bunny" when I taught preschool. Oh, those little ones were just precious, and they knew what I meant.:) Lori

  5. I read a book a few years ago about the feng shui of clutter-clearing. What you've written in this post, echoes much of what I remember from the book. The funny thing is, that once you were done with the book you were supposed to "release" it by donating it to someone or an organization to let it help someone else. So I did and no longer have the book. Ever since then, I always look at the clearing process as a way to benefit someone else as well as myself. It has made it much easier to "release" things and achieve the white space I need.


  6. Very thoughtful post...I'm keeping this in mind with spring around the corner and thinking about doing a big purge of just "stuff"!!


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo