Poetry Sunday-Autumn’s Kiss

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Autumn’s Kiss

 

A chillin’ kiss on frosty morn,

On every blade and flower adorns.

 

As summer fades and autumn is born

The icy dew does bid us warned.

 

 

 

For soon the nights will be long and cold

As winter slips in to take its hold.

 

So cherish for now each warm sunny day,

As they skip on the breeze and fade away.

 

© Donna Donabella 2013

 

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I wrote this poem last October 3rd, 2013 on my garden blog, Gardens Eye View, in anticipation of the coming frost.   Frost came suddenly in late October that year, and the pictures here show the killing frost in the garden readying the landscape for winter’s chill and frozen time.

 

 

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I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

 

 

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I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

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Special Note:  This year we waited until the middle of November for our killing frost which came with snow.

 

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I leave you with a little bit of sentiment about keeping warm in frosty cold.  I welcome you to download the photo and share.

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Seeking Vunerability

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 “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brené Brown 

 

The day my father died, I closed up my heart, shut out the world and the light….and plunged into darkness.  I was 40, had just been married (my dad could not attend due to his health), and now a pain, a loss too great to bear, had seared my heart.

 

But this covering up of my light actually happened 15 years before his death.  The day the doctors told us that our father had Alzheimer’s started me down that path of darkness.  And I could not bear to talk about it.  And who would or could talk to me?  Not my family.  If we didn’t speak about it, then maybe it would go away.  So we never did speak.  We still have not spoken about any of this even 16 years after his death, that is how painful it is to each of us.

 

I said my goodbyes six months before he died, when hospice was called in.  I flew from NY to AZ numb, so much uncertainty I just could not bear it.  We did not know how much time he had left so I wanted to see him even though he did not know who I was.  Do you have any idea how rip-out-your-heart awful it is to have your father not know you?  Not be able to talk to you even though he is sitting right in front of you.  It is a special kind of torture.  But that last time I spoke to him, he seemed to know me for just a minute or two…you could see the cloud lift from his eyes and the sparkle of life return.  I told him of the upcoming wedding, and he answered that was good…..which was code for I am glad you have finally found someone special.  And while his moment of recognition buoyed me, soon after I was plunged into a deep despair again knowing he would not be with me on my wedding day.

 

These deep rooted agonizing feelings have been with me too long now.  I have built up great pain avoidance so as not to deal with them…keeping them at arm’s length.  And with so much pain avoided, there was a lot of time wasted in my life.  Time where I just existed, but did not really live.  You see when I shut myself up, I avoided the world and all other feelings.  And that included joy, especially joy.  And while this is all natural you may say, I think it is the worst thing I could have done….because once started it is hard to stop the avoidance.

 

DSCN6056But even though the road has been slow and it took 16 years to work through, I have learned from these dark times.  I don’t avoid pain anymore.  Instead I embrace the pain and other discomforting feelings because they are an important part of me, and must be dealt with.  They do not go away if we avoid them.  They stay like a fog blocking the light from every part of our life.  And I have to say, I was pretty darned tired of the darkness surrounding my heart.  The high walls and shields built around me.

 

I no longer run from these vulnerabilities as they are sometimes called.  Please don’t call them weaknesses….being vulnerable is not being weak.  Being vulnerable is allowing your strength and courage to shine through as you embrace your weaknesses, your pain and sorrow.  Vulnerability is facing pieces of life that cannot be cast aside.  So how did I face mine.  I learned how to identify my comforts…what brought me to calm.  I learned to play more.  But I think my breakthrough came when I got to know my Superpower.  What is a Superpower, you ask?

 

In a course I took about vulnerability from Brené Brown, we were taught to look for this Superpower; our higher purpose, that which inspires us.  This was a life changer for me because now I could identify where my life flowed from…where my center could be found.  I found my Superpower was and is communication.  And this blog is part of that Superpower.  It all clicked for me one day, and I knew where I needed to head next in my life.  Where I had found my greatest joys previously when I was connected to this center….writing!  So now I write as therapy.  I write to stay in touch with feelings, good and bad.  I write to plumb the depths of my despair so I can shine a light on it finally…for when the light is there, darkness cannot stay.

 

And while the pain is still great when I think of my dad’s disease and death, I can talk about it now.  I hope to write about it in greater detail one day.  Without the darkness, my heart is open.  And life is renewed.  I am still feeling my way along the path as it is a bit rocky some days, but now I am walking down the road of life again.  Embracing all the uncertainties, seeking out those things I previously hid from…those vulnerabilities that now bring me the greatest joys in my life.

 

 

Note:  The Hepatica here represents Confidence in the Language of Flowers.

 

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I leave you with another thought about vulnerability and strength.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Letting Go

 

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Letting Go

 

Rain fall down release my pain

Your healing touch, my heartache drains.

Out flows the gray, as warm winds blow

Dry my tears with sunbeams of gold.

 

© Donna Donabella 2012

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I wrote this poem October 29, 2012 during a somber period in my life when stress had taken hold of me and darkness seemed to take the daylight.  The words seemed to give me some peace and solace.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

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I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

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Special Note:  The Hyssop pictured here refers to cleanliness in the Language of Flowers.  It felt appropriate to use these flowers given the cleansing that letting go can bring.

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I leave you with a little bit of sentiment about letting go.  I welcome you to download the photo and share.

 

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

The Quiet Miracles of Change

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“The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind.”   ― Kiran Desai 

 

As a gardener, I can be quite obsessive when I start plants from seed; especially those for the veg garden.  I will read up on their requirements for planting, and how to tend them once they emerge from the soil.  And I will continue my daily vigilance once they start to grow, so I can monitor when they need water and have enough light and heat, all important for their growth and survival.

 

So it is no surprise that when I am contemplating a change in my life, I can be quite obsessive there too.  Or at least I have been in the past.  Reading, researching a topic, coming up with new schedules, ideas, plans….well you get the idea.  Sometimes, the change met with success, and sometimes not.  Sometimes I gave it time, and many times I did not as I wanted change to happen quickly.

 

And was the change sustained by me if there was immediate success?  Of course, but not so much when the change was delayed.  Many times I would file it away, and forget about what I had done thinking it did not work.  I would abandon all my efforts.  The funny thing is, that change was still growing and going.  I may not have been aware of it, but when I came back around to it, I found to my glee that change had happened.  And many times just like a seed planted and forgotten, nature takes care of it helping it to still grow.  All the work was important, but it just needed time. 

 

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Now I tend to let things go more.  I will read, write, contemplate and make the steps necessary for a change…but then I let it go.  You know the old saying, ‘if it was meant to be, it will be’; if not then perhaps something better is on the way instead, and I have learned from this too.

 

I call these changes that go on outside of my consciousness, quiet miracles.  They happen all the time because each day, each moment we are changing and different.  Each new bit of knowledge, each ah-ha moment, adds to the one before and the one coming after it….and it all changes again.  We aren’t aware of these quiet miracles until we see the fruit of our labors; if we are lucky to see them at all.  Some quiet miracles happen without us ever knowing.  One day in the future, you might hear about it from someone in passing, or from a blog reader in a comment. You might finally see the change in yourself or someone else.   And it is then you know that this quiet miracle has happened, giving you a sweet surprise that makes the effort worthwhile.

 

Recently I was doing a journaling exercise and was exploring this concept of change.  You can read more about it in a guest post I did for Mari McCarthy on her blog.  She is a journaling guru who has helped me to focus myself through journaling from time to time.  And in exploring change, I became aware of the idea of letting go.  Aware that courage is a part of change too.  I even wrote a poem about change, and posted it this past Sunday.  I consider the poem one of those quiet miracles.

 

I now am embracing change by recognizing these quiet miracles.  What’s the next surprise I will see?  They are just waiting, growing beneath the soil drinking in the nourishment needed until that brave day they break free and bloom right before my eyes.  Are you seeing any of the quiet miracles of change?  You just need to stop, wait, look….it is right over there.

 

 

Note:  The Sunflower here represents Pure Thoughts in the Language of Flowers.  Change is a powerful purifier of thoughts.

 

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I leave you with another thought about change.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Change

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 Change

 

Time is needed for change.

Patience is needed too.

Some things are out of our hands,

this I know to be true.

 

Allow for change,

grasp it.

Learn from change,

chase it.

 

Challenge and courage are blended.

As we permit it to unfold.

 Cultivating the rich rewards,

Embracing change foretold.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

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I wrote this poem after going through a journaling exercise exploring who we are.  The prompt was, “I am aware that.”  The journaling guidance was provided by Mari McCarthy@CreateWriteNow.  

 

Mari asked me to write a guest post for her blog to talk about my journaling experiences, and what journaling means to me.  I hope you will stop by tomorrow to read the post.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

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I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

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Special Note:  Blue hyacinths represent constancy, the antithesis of change.

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I leave you with a little bit of sentiment about change.  I welcome you to download the photo and share.

 

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Tearing Down The Walls

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Be the kind of person you would like to be with. Some people come into our lives, make footprints on our hearts and we are never the same. People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.  ~Joseph F. Newton 

 

 

With retirement comes major changes in one’s life.  I anticipated many.  The extra time on my hands with no schedule.  Less money to pay for expenses.  And dealing with finding and paying for my own health insurance.  What I did not foresee was the isolation.  I should have figured this would be the case, but I am an introvert and we crave isolation over crowds and hours of human contact engaged in small talk.

 

For over 30 years, I lived in the realm of the extrovert during work hours, and sought refuge from it all when home.  After all being “on”, at work for 8-10 hours a day, five days a week was exhausting.  My family lives out-of-town virtually unreachable without a costly plane ride or a long drive.  Friends outside of work are few, the hallmark of an introvert.

 

Neighbors were neglected as work wore on me, and left very little time or want for being with “more” people.  So I had built a slick little world with a few friends, co-workers and family all kept at arms length making my world insulated and safe with enough human contact to last a lifetime…or so I thought.

 

As winter has hung on, my retirement has been spent in the cocoon of my home.  I long for my wildlife garden as it brings me hours of pleasure, a refuge for the critters and me.  But with the no garden, few critters and “cabin fever” hitting me suddenly, I found myself craving time with people.  Wow, what was this!

 

So when I had an invitation to a party from a neighbor, I decided to accept.  It was a party where a product was reviewed in hopes those attending would buy something.  In years past, I would have politely declined preferring instead to have respite at home on a Friday after a long week of work.

 

DSCN1215But I was not working, and I thought this would be a great test for me.  The day of the party, I almost didn’t go.  But I made the short walk, anyway, forcing myself forward with each step knowing there would be few people I knew at this party.  And lots of chit chat, a nightmare for any introvert.

 

At first I was quiet.  I listened.  Then I joined in a bit…even with the chit chat.  I found I was calm and let the evening unfold staying in the moment working through any fears.  And I had a nice time for an hour and a half.  I even bought a gift for a friend.  I was pleased with myself.  I had made it through without wanting to run screaming from my neighbor’s house seeking the refuge of my home.  And with this test passed, I even suggested dinner with friends the next evening.

 

Two social gatherings in two days would be unheard of for me usually.   But now I was experiencing more bouts of loneliness.  The well-built walls I had been dwelling behind were feeling far too confining.

 

So I am learning to reconnect.  To join in once again with the human tribe as I tear out the bricks of my isolation.  To seek opportunities in small chunks.  To build new bridges seeking out the company of people I have missed.

 

And as this amazing new discovery has certainly opened the eyes of this introvert, I will not forget its importance…..that continually establishing and maintaining human connections is essential along my life’s path.  

 

Note:  The bluebird pictured here is a symbol of happiness and good cheer.

 

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Update 8 months later:

This post was originally published March 27, 2014 as I was beginning my retirement.  Just getting used to the new-found freedom, the pros and cons of this new life.  I have kept the connections going although they were not as frequent as I thought due to health issues.

But I hope to keep human connections front and center, as we enter the holiday party season and the isolation of winter.  Here where there is a lot of snow, we tend to remain indoors and not see each other often in winter.

I am also planning a couple of trips to see family over the upcoming holidays.  Sometimes family can also be overwhelming, but I look forward to reconnecting and rekindling the light of my family so far away.

 

 

I leave you with another thought about relationships.  Please feel free to download the photo and share it.

 

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Trees

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I Am The Tree

 

Erect I stand, strong of will.

Defying the wind, and all nature can swill.

 

I cast my eyes to take in the scene,

While all around is washed white and serene.

 

The strength of my roots and courage in my stance,

Will serve me well in life’s new dance.

© Donna Donabella 2014

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I am participating in The Personal Photo Challenge hosted by Donna@Cottage Days and Journeys.  This month’s challenge is called Trees.   I wrote this poem on the first day of my retirement, March 3rd 2014, after over 30 years in public education.  It is a testament to my perseverance and what awaits me now in my new life beginning again.  I hope you enjoy the poem.

 

I am also joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

 

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And I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

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Special Note:  These trees are from my garden and surrounding my garden.  The views I see every fall when trees are at their finest.

 

All photos were taken on auto mode and processed in iPhoto (so nothing fancy).  The collage was made in Fotor.com.  The last image was taken in black and white on a foggy autumn morning and processed in PicMonkey.com to add the text and frame.

 

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I leave you with a bit of a sentiment about trees and planting dreams.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

 

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

To Live A Full Life

IMG_3804“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

-Steve Jobs

 

 

I have worked in jobs, and I have lived a profession.  There is a marked difference one leading to a living and the other leading to a life.  I prefer the life, but have been lost in the living.  A delicate balance between the two oftentimes futile to keep separate.

 

Which is why the profession has meant more to me and been my driving force.  When I started my career in education it was with a strong desire to make a difference.  I wanted to teach children.  To see the magic, knowledge can give a child.  To let them experience the deep, soulful joy of learning about our world, our lives.  Knowledge is addictive and you can see it on the faces of children when they tap into the magic.

 

So I worked hard learning how to be the best teacher I could be.  How to bring that magic to each child.  And for me each day, was not work.  It was sheer bliss catching those moments of joy on their faces.  And even on days where things seemed to go wrong, their faces, their bliss kept me focused on what was important in my work.  Opening up new worlds to all children.

 

I was lucky that I found the love of my work, and continued it even in the early years of changing from a teacher in a classroom full of children to an administrator working with teachers.  I found now I was helping teachers be the best they could be for their children.  Helping them tap into the magic.  And I was sustained.

 

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“Think of your work life therefore, not as separate from your spiritual life but as central to your spiritual life. Whatever your business, it is your ministry.”   Marianne Williamson

 

This quote speaks volumes to me as I lost the magic later in my administrative career.  I was pulled from the magic, and beaten down by the naysayers who don’t believe in the magic, the love of our work, our profession.  And while I still tried to maintain the magic for myself and others, it wore on me.  Suddenly I did not love what I did, and I knew it was time to let go and move on.  I could no longer connect to my spirit, my soul.  It was now a living, not a life anymore.

 

And while it was difficult to move beyond the world of education I had built my life around, I have found it again here on these pages; in these words.  I am connected in my blog writing, in my poetry; to my soulful work again.  To that life that now teaches through my words.  Many people tell me how my words touch them.  Help them, speak to them in a time of need.

 

And I am taken back to when I first began to teach.  When the magic was awe-inspiring and knew no bounds.  It has come back full circle to me.  It bubbles up and puts thoughts together that I am compelled to write in hopes that these thoughts and lessons will speak to people.  Will touch them.  Will teach them a new way and different way.  A way of peace, a way of happiness and kindness.  So they in turn can model and teach others.  To continue the great work of spreading the magic.

 

 

Note:  The Sage here represents Long Life, Esteem, and Health in the Language of Flowers.

 

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I leave you with another thought about living a long, full life.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

 

 

 

 

Poetry Sunday-Thrive

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Thrive

 

Moving forward

Slowly along a path-

With a sense of hope and

Renewal welling up.

Inside filling me

With a burning desire

That shines bright

Radiating all around.

A deep realization growing,

Flourishing, strong, thriving!

 

© Donna Donabella 2013

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I wrote this poem New Year’s Eve 2013 as I chose my word to focus on for the year.  This past year’s word has been Thrive.  I chose the word before I decided to retire and this word has served me well to set the foundation to heal and ready myself for the next steps.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

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I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

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Special Note:  Butterflies represent transformation.  And monarchs are especially important as their numbers certainly have been declining.  But it seems they continue to thrive and it is reported that their numbers are beginning to increase with this years southern migration.

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I leave you with a little bit of sentiment about butterflies, transformation and thriving.  I welcome you to download the photo and share.

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.