Thanks to those of you who have been waiting patiently. Several weeks ago I shared in my Summer Reads post that there is a book I love so much that I reread it each year during our Week at the Beach. So for those of you who have been anxiously waiting, here it is -
One of my all time favorite books is….
Gift from the Sea
by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
Anne was the wife of famous pilot Charles Lindbergh and the mother of 5 children.
I love how she describes her life, it sounds a little familiar….
“The life I have chosen as wife and mother entertains a whole caravan of complications. It involves a house in the suburbs and either household drudgery or household help which wavers between scarcity and non-existence for most of us. It involves food and shelter, meals, planning, marketing, bills and making the ends meet in a thousand ways. It involves not only the butcher, the baker and the candlestick-maker but countless other experts to keep my modern house with its modern “simplifications” (electricity, plumbing, refrigerator, gas-stove, oil burner, dish washer, radios, car and numerous other labor-saving devices) functioning properly.
It involves health, doctors, dentists, appointments, medicine, cod liver oil, vitamins, trips to the drugstore. It involves education, spiritual, intellectual, physical, schools, school conferences, carpools, extra trips for basketball or orchestra practice, tutoring, camps, camp equipment and transportation.
It involves clothes, shopping, laundry, cleaning, mending, letting skirts down and sewing buttons on, or finding someone else to do it. It involves friends, my husband’s, my children’s, my own and endless arrangements to get together, letters, invitations, telephone calls and transportation hither and yon.”
Now, if I didn’t know better, I would think she was describing my life – the life of a woman in the year 2008. Except for there is no mention of computers, Internet, email, instant messaging, cell phones or text messaging because this book was written in 1955.
Life doesn’t change much for us mothers, does it?
That is one of the reasons why I love this book – Anne’s message, 53 years later, is still as applicable to us as it was to her in 1955, especially when she writes -
“What a circus act we women perform every day of our lives.”
Each time I read the book I find a new message that I need.
This year the message I found for me was the following…
Over the years we as woman have gained much mechanically (invention of telephones, appliances, computers etc.) but spiritually we have, I think, unwittingly lost. In other times women had in their lives more forces which centered them whether or not they realized it, sources which nourished them whether or not they consciously went to these springs. Their very seclusion in the home gave them time alone. Many of their duties were conducive to a quiet contemplative drawing together of the self. They had more creative tasks to perform. Nothing feeds the center so much as creative work, even humble kinds like cooking and sewing…..”
Each of us is a creative person, whether we think we are or not. Some of us may be creative with a paint brush or a needle and thread. Others are creative in the kitchen or in the garden. And for some of us our creativity is expressed physically or intellectually. Creativity is whatever feeds our soul.
“What matters is that one be for a time inwardly attentive.”
For me I find that source in different places – sometimes it is my garden, sometimes my kitchen and sometimes with my sewing machine.
I have always loved to create. My mother is a creator too – when she was younger she found her creativity in a paint brush and canvas and we have some beautiful paintings that prove it. Now, in her later years, she finds it doing genealogy research on the Internet.
As a child I loved to create – I loved the summer craft classes where I created a gold-leafed mirror, a macrame plant hanger or a decoupaged box (it was the 60′s and 70′s remember).
I don’t consider myself terribly creative or original but I love the process of creating – whether it is copying someone elses great ideas or occasionally coming up with an original one.
As Anne says, “It need not be an enormous project or a great work. But it should be something of one’s own.”
As I got older I learned to express that creativity with a sewing machine when I learned to sew in the 4th grade from a wonderful 4-H leader.
Here I am in my lovely first, ever Stretch and Sew T-Shirt – does anyone else remember Stretch and Sew???
As a young mother it was my weekly tole painting classes (thanks to Grandma for babysitting), scrapbooking and sewing matching outfits for my two little boys.
But as the number of my children increased and I began my homebased business the time and opportunity I had to express my creativity, the time for inward attention grew less and less.
Even though my business involved a creative process – scrapbooking, the majority of my time was spent in running my business, helping my team and helping my customers. There wasn’t much time left over for my creative work.
After rereading Gift from the Sea this summer I decided that I needed to make more time in my life for the creative work that feeds me. I pulled out my old sewing machine this past week. The only use it has seen the last few years has been Halloween costumes and costumes for the various theater productions my children have been in.
I also pulled out the quilt I had begun several years ago, the one that had been sitting in a corner gathering dust. One of my goals is to create a pieced quilt for each of my children before they are married. I have managed to complete two of them so far.
I wasn’t sure where I was going to fit this “creative time” into my already full life but I know that when I do, when I make that connection between my head, my heart and my hands - when I find the time to be “inwardly attention”, I am a happier mother and wife.
My goal is small – one quilt square a day. So far, so good. I’ll post a picture when it’s done.
So what feeds your center, what is your creative work? I hope you’ll share by leaving a comment below. Happy creating!
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