Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Necessity of Alone

Every summer, it's become a tradition: I re-read the classic book, Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Outside of the Holy Bible, this may well be my favorite book, and that's saying something, coming from a book-lover like me. I believe every woman should have a copy in her library.

What I find in this book, published in 1955, are timeless truths, words to live by, a reflection of women everywhere. It's a small book (barely 100 pages), but its richness requires time ... time to absorb it all. And those are the best kinds of books, if you ask me.

Today, I'm sharing snippets of Lindbergh's writing from Chapter 3, entitled, "Moon Shell."

Photo by Dayle

The world today does not understand, in either man or woman, the need to be alone.

Photo by Dayle

How inexplicable it seems.
Anything else will be accepted as a better excuse.

If one sets aside time for a business appointment, a trip to the hairdresser, a social engagement, or a shopping expedition, that time is accepted as inviolable.

Photo by Dayle

But if one says: I cannot come because this is my hour to be alone, one is considered rude, egotistical, or strange.

Photo by Dayle

What a commentary on our civilization, when being alone is considered suspect;

Photo by Dayle

when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it—like a secret vice!

Photo by Dayle

Actually these are among the most important times in one’s life—when one is alone. 
Certain springs are tapped only when we are alone.

Photo by Dayle

The artist knows he must be alone to create;
the writer, to work out his thoughts;
the musician, to compose;
the saint, to pray.

Photo by Dayle

But women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves: that firm strand which will be the indispensable center of a whole web of human relationships.

~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea (1955)

You can read my take on solitude here, as well as a few suggestions for finding alone time.


  1. Dayle, I think this is so true!
    I have never read this book but I see a lot of wisdom in what you are sharing from it.
    There is a real need to nurture solitude in our, sometimes too busy, lives.
    It's okay to be quiet and alone..and not offer excuses born of guilt for tending to our own souls needs.
    The blessings can then flow freely to those around us.

  2. Dayle:

    I had not heard of this book until you mentioned it in an earlier post. Sounds like a good reed.

    I agree about the need to sometimes be alone.


  3. I totally agree and retreat to the woods and the hills near our home often. There I can hear my own heart speak and His whisper and always come home energized.

  4. For several years, I have heard of this book but never read it. I think I would like it a lot.

    I totally agree with this (great photos, too, Dayle) It is treated somewhat like a vice that we would want to be alone.

  5. I haven't heard of this book. Thanks for sharing! I value alone time. The photos are gorgeous and spending time in any of those spots would be refreshingly fabulous!

  6. Oh, yes! Dayle - this is one of my favorite books, too. I recommend it to women all the time. This particular passage about alone time is very dear to me, affirming my need for sanctuary apart from which I have nothing to contribute. I used selections from "Gift from the Sea" very liberally in a speaking program I did with a beach theme for a ladies' group discussing the topic of alone and reverie a couple of years ago. Thanks for the reminder - now that summer reading is upon me, I shall put it on my list again - complete with a beach sounds CD in the background and tea at my right hand. Thanks for sharing! Joy!
    Miss Kathy at The Writer's Reverie

  7. It's a delightful posting.

    I also find it intriguing that the train of thought for bloggers (who live around the globe) often post similar things on their blogs on certain days.

    Like you, today I'm highlighting a quote of Anne Morrow Lingbergh's, something I'd planned several days ago.

    And here now, you're sharing something from that mutually loved book of hers.

    Too interesting..........

  8. Dayle, I love this and now I think I must have that book. To have another understand what I feel from the inside, well, it's simple blessing. I often feel as though I'm all alone in the ways that I feel {how I feel with my whole heart}, having to explain myself, reason with others as to why I am this way. Really, there isn't anything wrong with me {I think} :)

    Glad you posted today!

  9. Your photos are perfect for the words of this post! Sounds like a really great book!

  10. I probably count more as a hermit! I love solitude. It was only when I learned to be alone with my thoughts that I gained maturity and peace. Your photos are magnificent! (I also think a woman needs a room of her own to do with as she wishes!)

  11. Hi Dayle,
    I love "Gifts From the Sea" too and keep it out in my guest room for others to enjoy. I love your blog...have been reading older posts for an hour...about your camping and then, your beautiful article and video on your wedding anniversary. All are so beautifully written...they just pulled me right in and I had to stay awhile.

  12. Dayle,
    I think I would enjoy reading this book by Anne Morrow Lindbergh as I have read some of her writings and liked her style. Your pictures are really beautiful, too.


  13. great excerpt! so true that we are almost ostracized for prioritizing alone time...which i am not very good at! but we need it so, for our souls to thrive. so true. great pics, btw.

  14. Mmmmmh, so true and so beautiful. I haven't read that book, but I'm going to read it. Thank you for allowing me to discover it!

  15. So funny, I am reading her now as well and thought I should read this book every summer. Smile...

  16. I absolutely love that book -- and I must say, I think it's time to read it again, given how much these quotes (and your lovely photos) spoke to me tonight.

  17. I think I need this book!
    I will look for it on Amazon :)
    Also, I am someone who cherishes her alone time and make no apologies for it. I need it. Gotta have it.
    It's nice to be reassured that it's normal.
    Thank you.
    LOVE and blessings, Dayle!


Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle