An Excess of Shells

August 19, 2015

Photo courtesy Unsplash

“One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few. One moon shell is more impressive than three. There is only one moon in the sky….

“There are so few empty pages in my engagement pad, or empty hours in the day, or empty rooms in my life in which to stand alone and find myself. Too many activities, and people, and things. Too many worthy activities, valuable things, and interesting people. For it is not merely the trivial which clutters our lives but the important as well. We can have a surfeit of treasures—an excess of shells, where one or two would be significant.”
—Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From the Sea


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  1. Yes. Less is more. And yet, I understand that feeling of desiring so much and becoming frustrated and overwhelmed...thanks as ever, R.

  2. Rita--This is the issue I have the most problems with: too much of the good stuff! I'm pretty good at jettisoning the trivial, annoying, etc., but sifting through all the things I enjoy and want to do is another story.

  3. THANK YOU for posting it - all of it. I'm very familiar with the first paragraph about the shells (and symbolism), but I had forgotten about the other paragraph. My mother introduced me to this book years ago as she gave me her mother's copy. Anne's thoughts have been very meaningful to all 3 of us. But, it has been awhile since I've read the whole book. Great words/thoughts for me right now as I'm dealing with the 'too much' situation in my life -- to much in my own house and moving and downsizing my mom's stuff. Hope you are enjoying the end of summer right now. ;-)

  4. Claire--you are most welcome! I just finished rereading Gift From the Sea and thought I'd share one of the quotes that resonated with me. So happy that someone else feels the same way.

    I am ready for the END of summer, but know that won't happen for a couple more months. Hope you and the family are doing well, and that the downsizing will go smoothly.