Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Diligent Joy

Two blog posts inspired this post: the profile of Anne Morrow Lindbergh by Jill Krementz on New York Social Diary and Liberty Post's entry on Eat Pray Love - the movie. I am not sure how Eat Pray Love, the book, will translate into a movie - it really needs to be read, and maybe read again...

So what is diligent joy you ask? I first came upon this term in Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I underlined it and it has stuck with me.

"Joy is not something easy to come by. It requires diligent pursuit to attain, and diligent nurture to maintain it." - Elizabeth Gilbert

Here is another quote: "Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls" -
Mother Teresa

In 2008 a friend invited several women together to discuss the book - Eat Pray Love. Some of us were acquainted with one another but not good friends, others did not know each other at all - the tie that bound us together was our mutual friend E. Our first meeting was a success and we all agreed that we wanted to continue, but it was not to be a book group - but more of a spiritual group where we would discuss various topics on life and balance and love and energy and passions - our discussions and activities cross between health, spirituality and creativity. We gather about 4 or 5 times a year. These days have become little treasures - I love the group and our discussions. After our first gathering we came up with the name Diligent Joy - taken from the book Eat Pray Love.

This summer we had a reading assignment: A Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, an all-time favorite of mine.

photograph of book shelf in Anne Morrow Lindbergh's writing studio
Darien, Connecticut

I discovered The Gift of the Sea in my late twenties and I have reread it with each passing decade. Yikes, I sound old. It is one of my favorite presents to give to friends. The book always inspires me, guides me, and supports me. This passage in particular rings true today:

"One never knows what chance treasures these easy unconscious rollers may toss up, on the smooth white sand of the conscious mind; what perfectly rounded stone, what rare shell from the ocean floor. Perhaps a channeled whelk, a moon shell, or even an argonaut.

But it must not be sought for - or heaven forbid! - dug for. No, no dredging of the sea-bottom here. That would defeat one's purpose. The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for the gift from the sea."

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