Connection with self

Today’s post is inspired by a little book, given to me by my Mum. This little book was first published in 1955. There are many sentences and sentiments that resonate with me as I read it. What is undeniable is that although the language is perhaps ‘old fashioned’, the message is as relevant today as it was when it was written.

Researching Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s unorthodox life, I am intrigued by the contrast of the outward versus inward view of this woman who was a wife, mother, author, aviator, explorer and activist to name just a few of her roles. Her early adult years were shadowed by tragedy and controversy. Her first-born son, just 20 months of age, was kidnapped and murdered.  Anne and her famous husband Charles fled to Europe. They aligned themselves with the concepts of Fascism, Anne infamously publishing a booklet “The Wave of the Future”, promoting the opposite of democracy and self-governance. Odd when you consider the importance Anne places on connecting with oneself in “Gifts from the Sea”.

What struck me was her courage to pursue her dreams and goals even in adversity. She not only chartered new territory, literally (as an aviator) and metaphorically in her thinking, writing and willingness to step outside society’s norms. Anne was not afraid of ‘course corrections. By example, rather than rhetoric she became an icon of feminism without losing the essence of femininity.

Poignantly she writes in her best seller “Gifts from the Sea”, “modern communication loads us with more problems than the human frame can carry. It is good, I think, for our hearts, our minds, our imaginations to be stretched; but body, nerve, endurance and life-span are not as elastic”.

65 years later, with internet connectivity in most homes, and in our hand-held devices which we carry almost everywhere, this is more relevant than ever. Social media would have us believe we are connected to many people the world over and yet it’s a superficial connection at best.

Continuing to blend past and present, for myself, I randomly open ‘Gifts from the Sea’ to a paragraph about solitude and connecting with one’s self. Anne writes “only when one is connected to one’s own core is one connected to others,….for me, the core,…can best be refound through solitude”. A-ha. I am now 57 days into the 5AM club. The early morning time, with no distractions or interruptions, is an ideal time for connecting with oneself. I love the serendipity of words, books, conversations, people, events, mysteriously reinforcing what I am learning, enjoying and embracing.

Which is the paradox of vitality. Being connected, growing, nurturing our well-being while at the same time acknowledging “I am enough”. And making space for the solitude essential to knowing ourselves in order to lead ourselves well.

Today I encourage you to allocate 20 minutes of quiet time. If sitting still in mindfulness is in the ‘too hard’ basket then walk in nature, preferably phone free. Listen to your heart. Feel your feet on the ground. Breathe slowly. You are enough.

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