Still On A Break…

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“Solitude is not a port to drop anchor, but only a port to rest for a while!”
~Mehmet Murat ildan

 

 

My shoulder is healing from the overuse and abuse I had given it this summer.  But I am realizing that I still must rest in order to heal.  That means I will still be away from the computer….writing, blogging, reading posts, etc.

 

I am hoping to return in October. I might publish a picture or two to stay in touch a bit as I do hate being away.

 

In the meantime, I will continue to visit blogs as I can. I have also turned off the comments for this post so I am not tempted to respond, and delay my recuperation. Take care, and enjoy the late summer or whatever the season in your part of the world!

 

 

Conversations In The Garden: On Creating a Sanctuary

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“Who will free me from hurry, flurry, the feeling of a crowd pushing behind me, of being hustled and crushed? How can I regain even for a minute the feeling of ample leisure I had during my early, my creative years? Then I seldom felt fussed, or hurried. There was time for work, for play, for love, the confidence that if a task was not done at the appointed time, I easily could fit it into another hour. I used to take leisure for granted, as I did time itself.”

~Bernard Berenson

 

 

Many days I felt like this.  Hurried, hustled and bounced about.  Feeling time was running out, and I had accomplished little.  And even after I ticked everything off my To Do list, more was added instantaneously.  Never time for leisure, relaxation or rest.

 

 

 

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I always dreamed of a safe haven away from the flurry of life….where I could go to get away even for 5 minutes to regain my sanity.  And when I thought about this place I saw the ocean or a meadow….flowers or a beach.  Each of these images are healing for me, and immediately ease my pain and renew my soul.

 

 

 

IMG_5627So when I designed the bones of my garden, I imagined flowers and water there in a special spot…and with it the sound of water.  It was clear that a pond would be the perfect spot to have water and flowers.  And that pond had to have a waterfall, so I could have the healing sound of water nearby, especially since I don’t live close to the ocean.

 

 

 

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It was easy to decide where to place the pond….as close to the house as possible so we could have easy access, and hear the water flowing over the rocks.  Where I could sit on a large rock at its edge and look out over the garden of my soul…my sanctuary!

 

 

 

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And once created, this place took on a magic all its own.  I discovered that my sanctuary was also a safe haven for others who wanted to share it with me.  They didn’t talk, they just hung out with me in the moment….they were my quiet solitude companions that added their song to sing me to sweet solitude and peace.

 

 

 

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I am of course referring to the frogs, toads, birds and insects who also call the pond their home, and their sanctuary.  They bathe here, and give birth here.  And some have made this place their home too.  We commune and talk, but mostly we just sit in peaceful meditation marveling at how incredibly beautiful this place can be.

 

 

 

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I look forward to every spring when we put the pump back in, and the pond stirs to life.  To see the tadpoles and frogs awake.  And the lily pads start forming on the surface, knowing the flowers will be along soon.  To watch the reflections in the water.  This is my heaven on earth….my special haven for healing.

 

 

Have you ever created a sanctuary for yourself?

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of my pond in its first year of bloom.  While it is a bit overgrown these days, it is still my sanctuary, and beloved habitat for so many who share the garden with me.

 

I will be taking a week off, and will have another post next Thursday, the 26th!  It is a special day for me….

 

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I leave you with a few additional words on creating a sanctuary.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

sanctuary

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Nature’s Healing Balm

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“What a joy it is to feel the soft, springy earth under my feet once more,
to follow grassy roads that lead to ferny brooks
where I can bathe my fingers in a cataract of rippling notes,
or to clamber over a stone wall into green fields that
tumble and roll and climb in riotous gladness!”

~Helen Keller

 

 

When spring gets into full swing….where the flowers are coloring the landscape, and the warm breezes drift around me carrying intoxicating scents….I am calmed, I am rejuvenated, I am healed.

 

 

And it isn’t just in spring….it is anytime I am in nature really.  I have a strong need to be here where I can observe a special world that moves to its own slow rhythm and pace.  Being surrounded by the constant noise of machines and voices, the smell of exhaust from engines, the bright light of screens, and the endless push, push, push to get things done, I need a place to go where I can feel a healing balm descend on me body and soul.  Where I am reminded to breath slowly….to look and listen…to take in the world around me with every sense I can muster.

 

 

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But there are rules when I enter nature’s world….and these rules must be observed if we are to get any healing effect from it.  You must surrender to this world in silence….open up your eyes and ears.  Breath deep, and drink in every smell.  Feel the temperature, the air and light on your skin.  Be there in the moments that present themselves.  And for heaven’s sake, bring no electronics with you…well maybe a camera from time to time to capture a bit of it.  We cannot notice this special world when we are engaged in looking at a screen or talking to another person.  This is a world to enter alone.  To give ourselves to fully.

 

 

Recently, I have been keeping a digital journal of Moments of Fulfillment in my garden.  Moments I am beginning to write down in a journal and on my other blog, monthly.  The moments that bring light and lightness to my heart.  Where I feel at home, and at peace.  Let me show you a few of these moments that have been a healing balm for me this spring.

 

 

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When a sky, this color, presents itself, you must capture the moment in your mind as you sit and gaze on it….just by looking at its magnificence I am instantly calmed.  And the tears that well up in my eyes, at its miracle, match the raindrops still on the branches of the tree.

 

 

 

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Sitting on the Wall Garden, I can watch the first pollinators roll around in the crocus pollen…they are drunk and high with their first drink of spring.  And the high is catching.

 

 

 

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The tiniest of bulbs are now popping up all over the garden.  And because the landscape is so bare, you can’t help but notice them…..in blues…..

 

 

 

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And pale pinks….nestled in and among the new growth and spent debris of last year’s garden.  Hardly noticeable sometimes unless you stop and look closely.  Even getting down on hands and knees.  Sometimes I will even lay upon the earth and stare at their beauty.

 

 

 

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There are surprises around every corner.  A clump of dried grass is so much more upon closer inspection.  The thought of new life, or life that never came to be.  Pondering the mystery brings me solace.

 

 

 

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And visiting nature after a refreshing rain can bring its own special beauty.

 

 

 

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One of the most incredible sounds is the sweet song of the spring birds.  Calling to each other.   Whistling a tune.  They just seem so happy, that each time I hear their songs, I break into a smile that lights my heart.  For me there is no better healing balm than nature…whether in my own garden, or in a park across the street, or a nature center across town.

 

 

Where do you find solace and healing?

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of the recent early spring in my garden.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words the healing power of nature.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

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All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Conversations In The Garden: On Resting

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“A change is as good as a rest.”
― Stephen King

 

 

I am not sure I totally agree that change can be restful.  When our lives go through so much change, we need a period of rest afterwards to replenish our weary bodies and minds.  Our lives can be so overwhelming at times.  So much coming at us.

 

 

And yet there are times when my life feels stuck….repeating the same things over and over….boredom sets in and what I need is a change to refresh myself.  And in these times change can bring about the feeling of rest.  A change of scenery, a change in routine or interacting with different people.  These all can invigorate me on many levels.

 

 

DSCN6101It is important to take care of our total health; body, mind and spirit.  But we can’t always just take a trip or be away from our busy lives.  In these times for me, I carve out just 10 minutes and go to one of my special spots.  Those places that refresh me as soon as I enter, like my garden.  You might also have a special spot.  A hot bath, a favorite chair in which to meditate, a walk to a local park nearby, maybe even a nap.  All can bring about the rest and change we seek…we crave…we need.

 

 

The seasonal changes can also bring about that change we desire.  Sometimes the change may be from a resting state to a reawakening as with the coming of spring.  And other times, it is the need to slow down.  I think that is why I love to see Autumn come.

 

 

With Autumn my senses come to life as I observe first subtle changes of leaf color around me.  And then I watch nature take hold as she prepares to rest….all her critters calling to me to come with them and partake in this time to slumber.  For me it is like going to a spa, or participating in a prolonged meditation.  I feel the same benefits.

 

 

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And rest is essential if we are to revitalize ourselves from time to time.  We can become so busy living our lives that we miss the signals our bodies give us…..subtle at first and then sometimes a hard hit to make us notice that we have been doing too much…..going faster, harder, longer.

 

 

Without the time to slow down and be gentle with ourselves, we will use up our energy and compromise our health.  Just finding 10 minutes once a day can work wonders.  A little chunk of time where we can turn our compassion inward upon ourselves, and give ourselves the gift of rest.

 

 

 

Do you give yourself this gift of rest and renewal?  What works for you?

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of Autumn scenes from my garden last year, as nature prepares to rest and turn her energies inward to replenish herself.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words On Resting.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

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All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Conversations in the Garden-On Self-Nourishment

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“There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by my self.” ~Brian Andreas

 

 

A few months ago I participated in a free online course where 30 inspiring people shared their thoughts and practices on self-love.  It was coordinated by Susannah Conway and called April Love.  It was a time to explore and celebrate ourselves, so it was right up my alley.

 

 

One of the early subjects was about self-care.  The question posed was, “Where did you learn about self-care?”  I was intrigued because I had never thought about this question specifically.  And when I tried to recollect where I had indeed learned about self-care, I couldn’t recall anything concrete, which wasn’t unusual as I found out.

 

 

Sure I had heard about good nutrition from my parents and teachers…read about it throughout my life as I tried diet after diet.  Knew my diet was atrocious as I was a sugar addict.  I knew it was important to be active, and that once I graduated high school, my college days found me putting on weight that was hard to take off.  I participated in exercise programs and did the yo-yo diet thing.  So this was really the sum total of my knowledge on the subject for quite a while.

 

 

My parents were great always encouraging us to try new things, do our best, work hard and cheered us on.  They let us stumble, and they were there to help us pick up the pieces if we needed them.  So I had positive experiences, and had learned problem solving and resilience.

 

 

And as I delved into this topic of self-care, it seemed it was asking me to consider so much more when thinking about self-nourishment.  What were the practices that helped to nourish more than just my body? And why is nourishment so important?  Well if we don’t fill our bodies and souls with nourishing foods and practices, then we will be empty, depleted and not able to give to ourselves and others.  I saw this happening when I was working in my 9-5 or really my 7-7 job getting little sleep.

 

 

And I see it now with friends and family who are caring for aging parents….we empty DSCN4806ourselves, get sick and our bodies are in turmoil.  We consider our needs last many times, or we think we can push ourselves through and then find time to replenish…a mistake I made too many times as I never did find enough time to replenish all I was taking away from myself in terms of nourishing food, sleep, time for myself to be quiet and at peace.

 

 

So that is why in my first year of retirement, I learned finally about self-care and about how to nourish myself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  I discovered that complete health requires all these pathways be nourished.  I am no longer shy about setting limits for myself, and adhering to them when I feel my body, mind or soul out of sorts.

 

 

So what do I do to nourish myself these days?  Sleep…lots of sleep as my body dictates.  I have also cultivated some wonderful habits and routines that really bring me peace of mind.  I start my day with meditation, journaling and quiet solitude.  It is a must for me to wake with a quiet mind so my soul can feel nourished.  No crazy busy schedules to ruminate on.  I now make sure my schedule is workable for me, and change it if it is not.

 

 

After about a half hour of quiet time, I roust my husband and we take a half hour walk in the neighborhood.  It is great to have him walking with me as this close personal time is also nourishing both our spirits.  And we each crave the quiet time watching and listening to the world wake around us….breathing in the cooler air scented with grass and flowers.  We watch baby birds and bunnies stretching their young bodies and trying to forage on their own.  What a delight and such immense peace and solace gained from being immersed in nature.

 

 

Of course a healthy breakfast is a must (lovingly prepared most mornings by my husband), and then it is on to the daily chores and appointments and my work of gardening and writing.  I have settled into this new role as a writer, and it is nourishment as well for my mind and spirit.  Finding this new work that brings so much satisfaction.

 

 

I have discovered recently that I need an evening routine that helps to soothe me and quiet my mind so I can sleep more restfully.  I am a voracious reader, and always find reading at night helps to tire me, and quiet my mind somewhat.  But I need something more.  So I am working to add a short meditation and stretching routine.  My old habit of “vegging out” in front of the TV is not the best, but at one time it was an effective numbing technique I used to use.

 

 

My garden is always a great teacher.  Recently it has been nourished by the rain, DSCN4807replenishing itself by putting on new growth, sending up more flowers.  Without the needed nourishment from the soil, air and rain, it would not thrive.  We are like that garden needing to replenish and feed our bodies, minds and spirits lest we dwindle too.  So as my life changes and I grow older, I am finding it even more important to nourish myself in new ways I may not have considered before.  Stretching my mind as well as my body, and touching deep into my soul to fill up the wellspring of my being.

 

 

So where did you learn about self-care?  Were you self-taught?  And what do you do to nourish yourself these days?

 

 

 

Special Note:   The velvety foliage pictured here is from Lady’s Mantle or Alchemilla mollis, a wonderful plant to capture raindrops or dewdrops.  They look like they are bedazzled with diamonds.  In The Language of Flowers, Alchemilla mollis, means “the little alchemist”.  A perfect plant to feature as I talk about self-care.

 

I am also featuring my dwarf willow tree in the picture below.  The Ancient Celts used the willow in bringing about psychic visions that produced a clearer understanding of the world.

 

 

 

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I leave you with more thoughts about self-care.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

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All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Conversations In The Garden: On Prioritizing Health

DSCN9200“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos—the trees, the clouds, everything.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

 

One year ago today, I was coming home from the hospital after what was to be a simple operation to repair a tricky hernia.  But one overnight stay turned into 5 days in the hospital, and weeks of hell.  Operations rarely go as planned and we can never expect they will…at least I don’t anymore.

 

 

But with the help of a skilled healer/acupuncturist, I was able to get my body to start healing itself.  It is amazing what our bodies can do, if we can connect with them.  If we listen…deeply listen and then do what our gut is telling us to do.

 

 

DSCN9773When I had the initial pain with the hernia, I knew deep down inside what it was, but believed it would go away.  I didn’t mention it to my acupuncturist or a doctor.  But at a baby shower, a nurse friend convinced me to have it looked at….of course the next morning I ended up in the ER with some of the most excruciating pain of my life…..they were convinced it was something else, but I kept saying hernia….and surprise, surprise it was a hernia.

 

 

So when did my health derail….it seemed when I focused more on my job than my health…believing it would all be temporary and that there was nothing to worry about.  And I noticed that my garden also became neglected when I was too busy with work….that neglect becoming a metaphor for my failing health.  Both my body and garden were clogged with weeds, starved for nutrition and needed to be reshaped.  So I finally took my health seriously, and began to pay close attention to my body (and garden), and listen when they spoke to me.

 

 

I have been working on getting my body systems realigned and regulated….and I have learned what to do if they are not.  I practice daily meditation…it has been an amazing part of my morning that I cannot go without.  I connect with my body by quieting my mind in meditation.  And my body relaxes too….so important for a strong start to my day.  And this connection to my body is like the connection I have with my garden.  I nourish both with natural wholesome organic foods, and they both repay me in bountiful ways.  Of course my garden actual nourishes me during the garden season as we grow many of our own organic vegetables.

 

 

IMG_2360And it isn’t just about getting enough quality food or sleep or exercise.  It is about quality of life too.  Doing what brings you happiness…engaging in creative pursuits and play often….spending time with friends and family.  Having quiet time to yourself to just be in the moment.  These quality of life things, that we sometimes forget, do make all the difference in our healing and health.

 

 

Healing is about your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being.  If any of these are neglected, we will not fully heal or maintain our health.  So for me it is a holistic approach to health considering all four of these components.  I advocate for myself and make my health my priority, as I have seen first hand what happens when we disconnect from our bodies and neglect our health.

 

 

So I continue to tweak my routines and habits, adding things that will improve my health as I age, one small step at a time.  I have learned it is not a race, but an individual slow journey this path to perfect health.  And we can get to our destination happier and healthier by making our lives, and our health a priority.

 

 

 

 

Note:   In the Language of Flowers, yarrow represents good health.  I chose pink yarrow, because pink symbolizes the feminine as well as compassion, nurturing and love.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about good health and being good to yourself.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

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All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Wildlife Lessons-Cedar Waxwings Play

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“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

Last May, as I sat on my comfortable lounge chair recovering from surgery, I happened to hear a sound that was about the only thing that would get me up and out of that chair.  You see the surgery was for an abdominal hernia repair, and it was hard for me to get up, stand up or walk.

 

DSCN8070But when I heard the trilling and whistles, I knew what it meant.  The Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) had come back to my garden.  When I looked out to the tall trees in the center of the garden, there they were.  About 20-30 of them….they looked so excited to be here.  They had returned from their southern winter homes and were back to take up residence and find a prime nesting site.

 

It seemed they were hanging in my trees because they were all vying for time in the pond.  If you have never seen an “earful” or “museum” of Waxwings, then you have missed a treat.  Besides all the whistling going on, they are always in motion.  Moving, tussling, hopping, pushing and doing acrobatic moves as they catch insects on the fly.  And they are incredibly social birds too.

 

Whenever I see this “earful” of Waxwings, I think back to my childhood days when my DSCN8084siblings and I, along with the neighbor kids, would get together and play.  We would play these large games sometimes make-believe, sometimes with rules like Simon Says and sometimes just exploring down by the creek or digging in mounds of dirt for unusual finds like arrowheads.  And when we were together, you could hear us a mile away with our high-pitched squeals of delight.

 

I have written about the virtues of play before.  It is one of the joys in life we sometimes forget to practice when we begin to grow older.  And we sometimes think play is only for children, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  One of the best ways I know how to play is to cultivate a creative pursuit.  Dancing, singing, drawing, gardening, photography, writing….you name it.  If it is part of being creative, then it is part of the joy of play.

 

DSCN8570And you don’t even have to be good at it or worry if you are.  I never cared if my pictures looked great or if I used the right green to color in leaves.  I just had fun coloring or drawing.  Now I tend to care a bit too much, but I am releasing the arbitrary bonds I have place on my creative self.  And in that freedom, I have found my playful side again.

 

So when I see fawns frolicking or birds riding the thermals, I am reminded to play.  And it is especially easy to think of play when you I see Cedar Waxwings each spring.  Don’t they have the most beautiful coloring.  I love the browns and yellows so subtle.  And the little red tips on the ends of their wings.  But best of all, I love their masked faces.  Like a bunch of bandits riding into town to whoop and holler.  I want to get on my pretend horse, don my Lone Ranger mask and ride those bandits out of town, the hero of my yard again!

 

The Waxwings also remind me of those times, during recess, when there would be so many DSCN8064children screaming, yelling and playing.  A group of us would sneak off to the old apple trees, and gorge ourselves on dimpled, imperfect apples….much like these fruit loving birds.  Watch out because they will eat every serviceberry, winterberry, strawberry, mulberry, crabapple, and raspberry in sight… as well as the berries of juniper, dogwood and honeysuckle.

 

Cedar Waxwings are native to North and Central America, where they nest in open wooded areas (right behind my meadow) and winter in the southern half of the United States, Central America and the tip of northwest South America.  They are supposed to live year-round here in New York, but I have not seen them here in winter.  And they are supposed to breed mainly in southern Canada, but we have mating pairs here in central New York each summer.  Wherever there is running water (my pond with waterfall) and berries along with lots of insects…that’s where you will find them.  It seems my wildlife garden has become a great spot for the Waxwings to visit and dine.

 

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Here are some interesting facts about Cedar Waxwings:

  • Males and females look alike.
  • Cedar Waxwings have been known to eat fruit that is overripe and has begun to ferment, thereby becoming intoxicated.
  • When there is a supply of berries that only one bird can reach, the Waxwings will line up along the twig and pass berries with their beaks down the line so that each bird can eat.
  • Cedar Waxwings are said to be named because of its fondness for the small cones of the eastern red cedar…..AND
  • Because the name “waxwing” comes from the waxy red tips of its wings that are said to possibly attract mates.
  • The oldest known Cedar Waxwing was 8 years, 2 months old.  It is nice to know that the same birds may return to my garden each year.

 

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With this wildlife story, I am joining in the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about play.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

waxwings play

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Push Pause Please

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Push Pause Please

 

As our days speed by and I fight for my glee,

I long for a way to regain my sanity.

For time to stand still for just a little while….

to push pause please and bring me a smile:

 

Pause for a bit of ruminating

Pause for a saunter or stroll,

Pause to see beauty through my camera lens

Pause to hear nature’s calls.

Pause while the rain pitter patters,

Pause for a flower bud tight

And pause to reflect at the end of my day,

in the sun’s tranquil, golden light.

 

Oh yes a button to push at anytime,

to push to my heart’s content.

Yes I will push pause each time I must,

For a pause is time heaven sent.

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

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This poem was written in the fall, when I knew the garden would be done blooming soon, and the sometimes hectic days of the holidays would be looming.  The phrase, push pause please, came into my head loud and clear almost like a song or chant to be sung.

 

 

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.  

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others.  I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs.  I hope to more overtly spread some blog love through both my blogs in the future. 

 

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Special Note:  In the Language of Flowers the lavender pictured here means calm.  When I see lavender, I pause and take in its intoxicating scent.  A sweet pause and time to reflect.

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I leave you with a little bit of sentiment about taking a pause.  I welcome you 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.

Channeling Anger

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“I want to say somewhere: I’ve tried to be forgiving. And yet. There were times in my life, whole years, when anger got the better of me. Ugliness turned me inside out. There was a certain satisfaction in bitterness. I courted it. It was standing outside, and I invited it in.”

Nicole Krauss

 

 

Yes indeedy I invited anger, bitterness and resentment in for a long time.  It had resided somewhat quietly awaiting one of my famous private tantrums of release….these were never pretty nor very helpful.  They were instead deadly.

 

I have learned the hard way that holding on to anger has so many ugly side effects.  It reaches into every crack and crevice eating away at your body, mind and soul inevitably compromising your health.  My blood pressure was inching up, I was breaking teeth, the weight gain was out of hand, I had insomnia, a bleeding ulcer and migraines.  And while these all seemed like enough, I was also unhappy, depressed, stressed out and angry all the time…..oh so angry.

 

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” ― Mark Twain

 

And why was I so accepting of anger… so happy to keep this close relationship with something that was literally killing me?  It seemed to boil down to this…I could not forgive.  Actually it was more like I would not forgive.  I was happy to savor the nasty, bitter taste.  I found power in it.

 

By doing this, I was able to project all my woes on those I perceived were doing me wrong….it is all their fault.  They were stressing me out causing my illnesses and migraines…their fault, Their Fault, THEIR FAULT!!!!!

 

But what was this thinking getting me?  Not health or happiness.  What did I want?  I no IMG_5647longer knew.  I was beaten down.  Just dragging myself along.  I read books, worked with an acupuncturist and tried to work through all the stress triggers and issues that came up.  But what I still couldn’t get my head around was the idea of forgiving.

 

Forgive, but don’t forget.  Forgive, but don’t condone.  Excuse, exonerate, release.  But I couldn’t.  I felt I would give my power away if I did….so I hung on for dear life.  Until I was so sick, so worn down that you could have scraped me off the floor with a spatula.

 

Finally unable to bear the pain, it was time….time to release this anger.  It was time for a change.  But how?  How to turn this negative around?  And then one day during my fairly new meditation practice that seemed to be going nowhere, it happened…quite unexpectedly actually.  I finally connected with that place behind the thoughts….it was a place that felt like home…where love resided…where healing tears could flow freely…where I could look within without fear, confront the feeling, stop blaming everyone else for my feelings, my illnesses, my woes.  To feel it all, let it go, and then to give myself some compassion and time to heal.

 

No it was not easy, but it was time to take care of me, and this was the only way to let go of the hurt, the anger and resentment.  By doing so, suddenly I had more room in my heart and my life for other things.  I was transformed and reborn through my anger……now in its place there was peace, joy, abundance.  I had channeled my anger and felt free again.

 

But to maintain these wonderful joyful feelings, I must show up every day, and go to this very special place to continue the work.  Do I still get angry….yes.  Do I hold onto it….hell no.  I feel it, express it, change it into something more constructive and then I smile!  A heart stretching smile that carries me through each moment of each day as I learn again to move forward and put one foot in front of the other, some days content to stand still and rest.   So very happy for each new breath I draw every day I am alive…really alive!!

 

Note:  In the Language of Flowers the petunia pictured here stands for Resentment and  Anger.  And they also mean your presence soothes me.  I adore these flowers and grow them every year in my garden.  Now I know why.

 

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Update 7 months later:

This post was originally published April 30, 2014 in Vision and Verb.  When I finally really learned to forgive, it was as if a huge weight had been lifted from my soul.  I was able to really heal.  I saw each day differently as a newborn.  I was really happy, and knew I owned my happiness.

 

Now I still live in this light of forgiveness.  Still not an easy path, many times rocky.  But I know it is the essential missing piece, that has made my life whole again.

 

 

I leave you with another thought about letting go of anger.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

letting go

 

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.

A Saboteur Heals

rose

“Sometimes you hit a point where you either change or self destruct.” 
― Sam Stevens

 

Life sometimes brings you messages, signals that if you pay attention will serve you well.  I missed many signals for a long time.  And while life brings on its own stresses some jobs add to it.  But we can manage stress in our lives, if we can see it happening.  I did not see it happening for a long time.

 

Stress builds up in your body and disrupts all your systems.  You don’t eat regular meals, you gain weight, you work long, long hours and bring work home.  You are on call with little time to play or have hobbies or exercise.  Years of bad eating habits don’t help….I have been a sugar addict from a very young age.  And more and more illnesses escalate and can bring you close to death.  I had several wake up calls, all unanswered.

 

But life kept intervening, thankfully, and I started to pay attention.  Change my diet…harder to do but not impossible.  Exercise….start slow and have fun with it.  Take time to do the things you love….absolutely.  So why could I not sustain it, keep it going?

 

I have tried to change some habits.  I knew my health depended on it.  I added meditation which helped with some stress. I would give up sugar only to run right back bingeing on it until I was almost sick.  I would start an exercise regime knowing I couldn’t sustain the time needed.  So why were these bad habits that got me into trouble not changing?  They crept back in, and even a little was enough to start the unhealthy cycle.  And when I finally stared hard in the mirror, I realized I was sabotaging myself and not really wanting to heal.

 

rose paint

“My illness, I well knew, had been entirely brought on by myself by such negligence of my own health, as I had felt even at the time to be wrong. Had I died, it would have been self-destruction.” 

 Jane Austen

 

I am still wrestling with this and trying to figure out why it is hard to make these changes…and maybe I am afraid that all the effort will not work yet again mostly because my heart was not in it.  But regardless I know I need to do something.  And I am determined to go down this path of healing now that I have decided to retire.  The retirement itself was for my own health.  But it is not enough.

 

What is important for me is that I heal the whole me….mind, body, spirit.  I have worked first on my mind and spirit.  And I have made great progress in these areas.  So now it is time for me to heal the rest of me.  And this is the hardest work.  And I will make false steps.  I will fail.  And I will make small steps forward and big steps back.  But the important thing is that I not give up.  That I not engage in that incessant negative self-talk that always sabotages my efforts.  That instead I keep the picture of perfect health front and center.  Yes I do believe that this idea of already having perfect health will finally diminish the saboteur until she is finally silenced.

 

Note:  It is said that if you cannot find an herb to treat your disorder then try the rose.  The rose is said to be a panacea and can treat stomach disorders, kidney and bladder disease, gallbladder, exhaustion, skin problems and more.

 

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Update 3 months later:

This post was originally published July 7, 2014 as my last post for Vision and Verb.  It was a bittersweet time as I did not want to say goodbye to writing for Vision and Verb.   I had just begun 7 months earlier and had so much I wanted to share with this incredible group of women.

But things will end as they must and we must find our next path.  And this blog was born from that change.  So I thank Marcie the founder of Vision and Verb for pushing me out of the nest a little sooner than I had anticipated.

And to the tribe I found at Vision and Verb, thank you for continuing to show up here and support me.

 

 

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

healing wound

 

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.

 

Risen From The Flames

 

DSCN1342

“None of us suddenly becomes something overnight. The preparations have been in the making for a lifetime.”  ~ Gail Godwin

 

I never thought I would be one of those people I had read about who was beaten down by life through stress.  Or that a job’s stress would impair my health.  Growing up we would hear about people who would die young (young meaning before their mid 60s) from a heart attack or a stroke because of stress and their job.

 

And once I was retired I was firm in my belief that I would not let anything bother me so much that my health would be compromised.  Of course all the stress that I let affect me prior to retirement, has had a cumulative effect and cannot be washed clean in a few weeks or months of retirement.

 

It was one month after I had retired that I was having abdominal pain…so bad it sent me to the ER where I was told I had a small hernia that should be repaired.  So I agreed to a repair that would be a small incision and would only lay me up for a few weeks.  No sweat….I can do this and bounce right back!

 

Of course it was not a small hernia and it was not a small incision and it was not a few weeks of recuperating but a few months.  So what happened?  What usually happens….stress affects our bodies building until the inflammation wreaks havoc, and the illness is much worse than we thought.

 

DSCN9713I know this was not a life threatening illness.  It was not even major surgery, but any inflammation we leave unchecked can lead to more serious illnesses.  So I am grateful this was taken care of.

 

The surgery did not cure me of the inflammation that caused the hernia, and in fact added to it for a while.  So what would put this right?  I have found it required being more in balance or in harmony with life.  Not letting thoughts or feelings eat away at me so much so it causes blocks.  These blocks are what disrupt our body’s ability to heal.

 

I am still wrestling with what all this still means for me.  How do I maintain balance, harmony and peace?  For now it is through my thoughts and how I act toward others.  It is more than a physical healing but a mental, emotional and spiritual healing as well.  I start my day with a peaceful meditation, and try to bring that state of harmony into my day and my actions whether it be kind words, helping someone or even just a simple smile to a stranger.

 

But above all it is allowing myself to be vulnerable…not hiding from life or trying to push it down…that just blocks the flow again.  And I am finding it best to share these feelings in my writing and with those closest to me.  Expressing them allows us to let them go so much quicker….and be like a phoenix renewed and risen from the flames.

 

 

Special Note:   The echinacea pictured in this post (also known as purple coneflower) represents strength and health.  This is very fitting since echinacea is purported to have significant medicinal properties.

 

 

The picture below is my gift to you this week.  Please download it and use it however you want.

coneflower

 

 

 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.

Living From Happiness

DSCN0822

“Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.” ~Chuang-Tse

 

I don’t know when it all started, but for a very long time I was not a happy person…or should I say I could not maintain any sort of happy feeling for very long.  My happiness was a barometer that measured how things were going in my life.  It came and went with relationships, jobs, family issues, you name it.  It was just beyond my grasp where I only felt it for brief moments. Happiness would slip away as quickly as it came, hidden, masked, covered up somewhere replaced with long periods of sadness.

 

What a horrible way to live…glass half empty and draining fast.  Of course I numbed myself with many things especially sugar and carbs.  I bought things that I thought would make me happy.  I stayed super insanely busy so I didn’t have to deal with or feel life.  All of this didn’t serve to make me happy, but added to my sadness.  Until a very wise man and healer said to me six years ago, that I was killing myself and that I had the power to stop it.

 

But it can be impossible to stop a runaway train, once it has a head of steam and it is careening downhill.  And that was how my life was feeling.  My health began  to unravel with the stress of work and life so I said enough, I am done.  It was time for a change.  Time to jump off and either get a new job or retire and start a new career.   For me the decision was clear; it was time to retire.  But knowing when it is the right time and getting up the courage to jump is the hardest part.  There is a tremendous amount of doubt and fear with a change such as this.

 

So in these past several months of retirement, with time and the continual support of those closest to me, I began to see glimmers of light around the edges of my life.   I was beginning to recover from the crazy ride.  And now that I wasn’t speeding through life anymore, I suddenly saw my surroundings clearly.  Life was front and center and I was breathing that slow steady breath that connects you to your deep core.  A light suddenly switched on, and I had one of those big aha moments.

 

DSCN0821So what did I discover.  Happiness is not something you can seek because you already have it.  It is waiting inside of us.  Waiting for us to connect to it.  But what is the secret code for accessing this inner joy?  The big shift came when I truly began feeling and expressing gratitude daily both in spoken and written word.  And it was not until I began writing it down every day, that I had my lifeline.  It sounds too simple, I know, but it isn’t.  Not really.  It does take a bit of time and practice.  And some patience.  But it is there waiting to be rediscovered.  That sense that you can live your life from your inner happiness.

 

Now not every day is great, and I have my sad moments because lets face it that is life.  But I no longer dwell in the sad places.  And when I need to connect more to that light, I spend time with things that give me a boost….I read for pleasure, I watch nature right outside my window, I spend time among the flowers and veggies in my garden, I cook from scratch and try new recipes, I talk with loved ones who are so far away….so many things that keep me engaged with happiness.  Each of us accesses happiness in our own way through our own life lines so the key is to find your access points.

 

Another boost for me is writing.  I had been toying with the idea of writing another blog for a while now.  But I kept thinking am I ready?  Is this the right step?  But I knew deep inside it was the right time and place to start anew when word came that Vision and Verb would be shutting down.

 

And here it is…the end of that lovely experience on Vision and Verb where my voice suddenly and clearly was present.  It had found an outlet and it was not to be silenced.  And now it will continue on this blog where it can grow and expand with me as I run, walk, skip, plod and sometimes crawl down this path.  This blog is my conscious effort to open to the flow of happiness and share stories, conflicts, challenges and creativity with you as these have all led me to find my inner joy.

 

I hope you will join me here every Thursday as I share my stories, the stories of others through their blogs and books, and share how I am expanding my happiness through new outlets of creativity.

I leave you with a special saying and photo that I hope you will save and use.

frog

 

Special Note:  The yellow of the flowers means optimism, happiness, hope.

The heliopsis in the top picture are said to be the happiest of flowers, and in the language of flowers they symbolize loyalty and constancy.

 

 

 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.