Conversations In The Garden: On Finding My Power

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Message from the Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers:

“As you move through these changing times… be easy on yourself and be easy on one another. You are at the beginning of something new. You are learning a new way of being. You will find that you are working less in the yang modes that you are used to.

You will stop working so hard at getting from point A to point B the way you have in the past, but instead, will spend more time experiencing yourself in the whole, and your place in it.

Instead of traveling to a goal out there, you will voyage deeper into yourself. Your mother’s grandmother knew how to do this. Your ancestors from long ago knew how to do this. They knew the power of the feminine principle… and because you carry their DNA in your body, this wisdom and this way of being is within you.

Call on it. Call it up. Invite your ancestors in. As the yang based habits and the decaying institutions on our planet begin to crumble, look up. A breeze is stirring. Feel the sun on your wings.”

 

 

 

With spring rapidly approaching, I feel the pull of my garden.  It sings sweet, soft songs to me.  A welcome back to the land.  To the rebirth, and growing of all things green.  It is a cherished time….a reunion of the soul with the soil.  A time to plant seeds and watch them come to life.

 

 

And it is a time when I feel I have recouped my power.  I am stronger, clear-headed and DSCN9053more balanced once spring comes.  I have been working on this balance for a long time.  Ever since I entered the world of administration, from teaching, I found myself in an unfamiliar world.  A place foreign where I just did not feel at home.

 

 

I was always in battle…..feeling like I had to have my guard up.  Thrust into a more outgoing, aggressive atmosphere.  A place that was most uncomfortable, especially for this sensitive introvert.  But I felt I was learning, and I could be me once I learned to navigate in this new place.

 

 

Fifteen years later, I retired from this battle-weary life.  This world of tension, and constant action.  I had become ill from the unyielding stress.  And I knew I had to leave, or I would literally die.  I thought of my exit as retreating, giving up, and that I was just not strong enough to make it in this world of work I had chosen.

 

 

DSCN9030And this defeat has preyed on my mind for 2 years, until recently I was given a life line in a letter I received from a most generous and precious soul, Sandra Pawula.  I have talked about Sandra’s wonderful Joyful Wisdom Guide’s before.  They are thoughtful, poignant and so very helpful.  Although I had no idea how life changing they would be, until she sent me the one on balancing the masculine and feminine.

 

 

Once I read more, and understood this balance between the Yin and Yang, it was clear I had made the right choice in my exit.  The battle had been fought in my old life, and I had given myself over to a life of continual action….more, more, more….running from pillar to post….the masculine side in which my career was steeped.  I had given up fighting for my feminine side….where I had been relying more on my intuition, receptivity…..which had served me well when I allowed this side to flourish.

 

 

Now instead, for these past 2 years, I have yielded to this inner struggle of the Yin and DSCN9046Yang; the masculine and feminine.  Now instead, I have given myself over to this introverted woman.  Cocooned her, nourished her and allowed her to live….to speak to me.  I let my fears come alive, and faced them learning the messages they held.  The lessons I was destined to learn.  To embrace the less perfect me.  The softer side where things are messy.  Where I have faced my vulnerabilities and give them voice.

 

 

I have rested much in this time of refueling.  Living in my garden.  Watching, complacent in the knowledge that I must let it all be for now.  Let nature take hold and give it what it needs….what I need to rekindle.  Healthy food, water, rest, simple exercise.  And now I know the winds are changing for me.  As I learn to use the Yin of me.

 

 

And as the Indigenous Grandmothers pointed out, this new journey is not toward a goal, but a journey within.  I feel their words deeply knowing ‘in my gut’ that this is how it MUST be for me, and for humanity now.  To embrace my feminine side, as she softly calls to me, when the moon rises and I lay awake hearing the inner voices of wisdom speak.  Feeling what it means to be in the flow.

 

 

DSCN9049Where is this all going?  What lies in store?  I do not know.  I just know I will follow the voice of this woman; her wisdom water.…a slow meandering creek where she makes her way, and carves her path.  I will follow-up here, as lessons unfold, and issues crop up.  As life takes hold, and I finally soar in the sun with my own strong wings supporting me.

 

 

 

Have you felt this pull to embrace your feminine side….to connect with your intuition?  What new lessons are you learning?

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of pink flowers from my indoor garden (Amaryllis or Hippeastrum throughout the body of the post), and outdoor garden (Lily-of-the-Valley at the top of the post, and Hellebores at the bottom).  Pink represents the feminine side, friendship, affection, harmony, inner peace and tenderness.  It is the color of love of oneself and of others.  A perfect color for this post.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words On Finding My Power.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

feminine

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 Perseverance

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“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

~Winston Churchill

 

 

If my gardens have taught me anything in the last 20+ years, it is the lesson found in this wonderful quote.  And oh how I have stumbled and bumbled around in my garden.  Planting mint or anything in the mint family in a moist sunny spot….a nightmare as it takes over.  Letting teasel go to seed in the meadow…..you get a meadow of teasel, not native wildflowers.  Or trying to grow tomatoes in a spot with barely a few hours sunlight….you might get one tomato if you are lucky.

 

 

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And through all these experiences, I have continued forward.  With a dogged determination to not give in or give up, but to persevere.  To keep going and fighting and learning from these mistakes…..I like to call them experiences.  Yes I could give up.  I have thought about it.  But a voice replays a very wise saying in my ear each time I do want to just throw up my hands….’It is, what it is.

 

 

It took me a long time to figure out what that meant and not fight against it too hard, because it is like beating your head against a wall.  So what to do when you plant mint?  Continue to rip it out.  You will still have enough to use, but it will not take over.  With teasel (pictured here), which is a beautiful and somewhat dangerous plant, you have to keep pulling it out too.  Eventually you get ahead of it and begin to see progress.  The plant cannot get a foothold and you can see your wildflowers flourish instead.

 

 

There are times shear willpower will not win out, and during those times I study, plan and put in the effort.  Take growing tomatoes.  We knew we needed more sun so we waited until we had a sunny spot to grow them.  But then wilt and blight killed the plants.  And year after year with no tomatoes we again contemplated throwing in the trowel.  Instead I looked for hybrid tomatoes that were grown to resist these fungal diseases.  I tested different ones until we found those we liked, and now we have tomatoes growing and ripening.

 

 

IMG_7513As it is with my garden, so it is with life.  Things have not always turned out as I had envisioned.  My story has changed many times through many lessons and hardships.  The paths I followed led to new paths…some good and some not so good.  And sometimes I let setbacks get to me, but not for long.

 

 

Through it all, there has been one constant…..I never stopped trying to reach a dream. Those dreams may have been delayed until the timing was right.  Each struggle helping me grow, to make me ready.  To learn the lessons hidden inside the wait and the struggle. And many times I let the dream go…not giving up, but releasing my tight hold on it.  Inevitably the dream came back around, many times changed and morphed into something better.

 

 

And it was because of this steadfastness I cultivate inside of me, that I have grown.  I have a rich, purposeful life.  Maybe not the life I envisioned or dreamed about many years ago, but a wonderful life.  Full of rich experiences with persistence and determination…a life of happiness and joy.  And now on this new path since retirement, I am learning many things still.  Not content to sit and let my memories wash over me.  No I am flexing those ‘moxie muscles’ again as I pursue new dreams…new hopes with the same perseverance I have always shown.  I whisper these new dreams on the wind, let them go and continue to move forward one step at a time.  I am excited to see what comes back to me in time.

 

 

teasel collage

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of wild teasel or Dipsacus fullonum.  It is considered an invasive plant and weed here in the US that was introduced in the 1800s for use in the textile industry.  In The Language of Flowers, it has come to represent Misanthropy.  The plant is not to be trusted as it is covered in sharp barbs from tip to root, and will cause injury if you get tangled in it.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about Perseverance.  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.

Morning Time

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“Have you ever seen the dawn? Not a dawn groggy with lack of sleep or hectic with mindless obligations and you about to rush off on an early adventure or business, but full of deep silence and absolute clarity of perception? A dawning which you truly observe, degree by degree. It is the most amazing moment of birth. And more than anything it can spur you to action. Have a burning day.”

~ Vera Nazarian

 

 

 

 

I never really paid attention to the dawn until about 6 years ago.  It was then that I was commuting an hour each way to work…traveling east in the morning and west in the late afternoon.  It wasn’t a job I was particularly excited about, but one that would get me to retirement as there were so many lay offs, and I was 3 years away from retirement.

 

 

 

jun skyAnd each morning, usually at the crack of dawn, I would travel east many times dreading the day, the tedious work.  I was very good at my job, but it did not allow me to use many of my skills or creativity.  And as I traveled that long stretch of highway, I knew there were many who traveled with me that were in the same boat.  Not excited about the early morning, long commute to a job that was not their ideal.

 

 

 

But each morning as the sun rose with me in my travels, there was something magical about the day.  Something that would awaken inside of me.  An incredible spirit that lifted me through my day.  I only wished I could linger longer with the sunrise, capture it and just be with it in silence.

 

 

nov skySo when I retired, I vowed to watch the sunrise on as many mornings as possible.  Go to the windows facing east and wait for it…..with anticipation and excitement much like a child experiencing the wonders of seeing a baby bunny or a fawn walking into the meadow for the first time.  And that wide-eyed wonder has not faded, as I watch sunrise after sunrise.  On those mornings, when the sky has blessed me with its incredible magic, I take my camera outside (even in the 20 degrees below zero weather), and snap picture after picture as the sun slowly kisses the horizon and hugs the sky just for me!  I want to wake the whole world, and share the new day shouting, “You’re missing it”.

 

 

And my first thoughts, in the first rays of daylight, are of thankfulness with a mouth stretching smile…and yes many times tears of joy for this blessed morning.  There is a peace that descends on the world in these first moments of the morning.  You can hear the joy from the birds, and watch other animals come out to greet the sun too.

 

 

aug sky 2This is the time of my deepest reflection.  It is when I am alone with my day…when I descend into myself and contemplate my life and all I have.  It is when I let go, and just revel in the moment.  It is the best time for me to meditate too.  A practice that has become part of me, much like the dawn.

 

 

 

On these inspired mornings, as my little corner of the world is waking, I feel energized and renewed.  A new day, a new time….a beginning that holds a promise born in the sky…ablaze in my eyes, my heart and my mind.  A gentle kiss from the Universe welcoming me again to be here in this moment of joy.

 

 

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Do you greet the dawn?  Does something in nature inspire you?

 

 

 

 

Special Note:   The pictures here are from sunrises over the past 3 years, and they represent each month.  I find the dawn in late spring and early fall are far less colorful, but the sun blazes brighter those days.

 

 

 

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I leave you with more thoughts about morning inspiration.  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 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.

Poetry Sunday-Lazy Days

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Lazy Days

 

 

Lazy days return with warm, soft breezes.

Regaining my senses, my natural rhythm, I wake with the sunrise.

 To go swimming and wading in the creek,

Exploring meadows to pick fresh, fragrant flowers.

 

 

There are afternoon naps beneath tall trees,

Gazing at clouds to spy a ship, a dog or a funny clown gliding by.

As the warmth of the day retires with the setting of the sun,

Lightening bugs and streetlights beckon us home.

 

 

The sounds of the day quiet- only toads and chirping crickets remain,

Sending us off to sweet dreams ending another glorious June day.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2013

 

 

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This poem was written in June of 2013.  It speaks of childhood summer vacation days spent playing with abandon.  We were fixated on living in the moment, with no set agenda…just letting the day unfold.  Now in retirement I am trying to get back these lazy days of summer.

 

 

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. 

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Special Note:  The pictures are of various clouds found in summer here in central New York.  Can you spy a dog or a ship in those clouds?  What do you see when you gaze into the clouds?

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about A-May-Zing MayI welcome you to download the photo and share it.

lazy days

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-Love In My Garden

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Love In My Garden

 

 

Love is whispered as the gentle breeze blows,

And catches the light in the morning glow.

 

 

It sparkles in the early dew,

And kisses each flower as the day renews.

 

 

Sit in the garden now and drink it up.

Let nature be your loving cup.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

 

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By the time we get to June in the garden, the scents and sights are intoxicating which is how this poem was inspired in June of 2014.

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

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Special Note:  The flowers in this post grew in my late May, early June garden in 2014.  I chose purple flowers because they represent dignity, pride, success, accomplishment and admiration.

 

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I leave you with a few words about love in my garden.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

 love in the garden

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.

End of Month Potpourri-May 2015

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“People often ask themselves the right questions. Where they fail is in answering the questions they ask themselves, and even there they do not fail by much…But it takes time, it takes humility and a serious reason for searching.”  ~ William Maxwell

 

 

As I end this special month of my birth, now another year older, I continue to contemplate life…asking myself questions about what I am doing, where am I going, what do I want out of this life of mine….and I am finding many answers within, as I listen to my heart and soul speak to me.  As you may remember, this year I have chosen to be part of an online group, Women’s Circle of Joy, led by Cigdem Kobu of Peaceful Triumphs.

 

 

And this month, we have been exploring, “Living Lighter”.  It’s not just about losing DSCN8975weight or getting rid of your stuff…it goes much deeper.  We were asked to examine seven areas of our life to see if we were Living Lighter.  These areas included:  Our Private Lives, Our Physical Body, Our Environments, Our Emotional Weight, Our Mental Hassle, Our Career and Work and Our Social Lives.

 

 

This path to living lighter really started for me last year in retirement.  I wanted to simplify my life, and took time to reacquaint myself with my home, and my husband as we would now be together 24/7.  We have easily slid into this new phase of our lives working together as a couple sharing the load.  We did a huge clearing in February when we clutter cleared our house from top to bottom.  It felt wonderful to let go of stuff we no longer needed, but I have learned this clearing of stuff is an ongoing process you must continue to revisit every couple of months as clutter can sneak back up on you fast.

 

 

DSCN9107And living lighter isn’t just about letting go of the things we have…it is also about the mental and emotional sides of simplifying.  I have poured out many of my personal revelations regarding mental and emotional clearing in this blog.  As I have worked through issues, such as worry and fear, I have found my heart and soul becoming lighter.  And with retirement, I lightened my stress load, and now dictate what “work” I will explore and take on.  Socially, I am reconnecting and opening up to invitations and connections put on the back burner.  And I have let go of relationships especially where others try to control my life.

 

 

And most of all, I have been building better habits that will bring me closer to perfect health.  Moving more, finding what physical activity I like to do, daily meditation and journaling, and discovering which foods are best for my body.

 

 

I have recently found it important to take time to pause and reflect on life.  I think that is IMG_2414where the poetry I write comes from….those things that give me pause or that I see when I pause…so magical really that reflective time.  And in that time when I let my mind wander and wonder, I think about my easy, carefree future.  What does it look and feel like…..

 

 

In this future, I awake from a restful slumber to the sounds of nature…refreshed and eager to see the new dawn…the wondrous colors of the day both in the sky and in the garden.  I move easily out-of-doors, and walk in this new light of day coming back home to the incredible smells of a nutritious breakfast.  What do I want to accomplish today?  A bit of weeding, a new writing project, a little cleaning and clearing in the house, or is this my day of rest where I can play or take a fun trip to a new spot.  Will I be grabbing lunch with a friend or perhaps seeing a practitioner for a bit of wellness care.

 

 

And part of my day will be spent in quiet contemplation….writing about my gratitude for the wonderful things in my life.  There is always time for daily reading; books for pleasure (mostly mysteries), or books I find more personal and spiritual….maybe someone’s journey of inspiration.  There are always things I can do to keep life simple…and with that simplicity, comes time for joyful activities that allow more room in my life for new experiences, new friendships and new journeys.

 

 

 

 

Note:   The Daisies pictured here are from my garden, and are said to represent simplicity.  Daisies were the first flower I remember that I cherished as a young girl.  They are such a simple flower of pure white that never cease to bring me a smile.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about simplicity or living lighter.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

simplicity

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.

Surrender

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“I wonder if pain comes from surrendering or resisting?”  ~Donna Lynn Hope

 

 

I have been taking stock recently of my life.  This journey in retirement has been interesting, and has taught me many things so far.  With a year into this journey, I am not sure sometimes if I am where I am supposed to be.  I have long controlled my life.  Planned, over planned and tried to wrap it up in a nice, neat bundle doing what I think I should be doing.  Many times not listening to that little voice to guide me.

 

 

And in those times, life was hard, unhappy and full of pitfalls into which I fell hard.  I would get up, and control things even more, resisting the path being shown usually because of fear.  And inevitably pain would be a big part of my life.  Along with the feeling that life was unhappy, and I would never find real joy.

 

 

DSCN3355And of course life is anything but nice and neat many times.  I am never sure what it will bring me next.  But I have noticed since I stopped controlling my life and its journey, I have been happier.  It is not easy to drop what you had been doing for over 30 years, and strike out on a new path.  A path not even defined, with very little direction.  Just showing up each day and wondering what it is I am supposed to do, and where I am supposed to go.

 

 

I do feel like I have been drifting lately.  And that drifting is okay when you need time to heal yourself.  But it seems it is time now, to start contemplating what is next.  And instead of trying to take control and orchestrate the life I think I am supposed to live, I have instead surrendered to the Universe.  I am looking for those signs that will show me what is next…listening for that inner voice to talk with me again.

 

 

It take’s patience to surrender…another lesson I am learning.  Living each day in the moment, exploring and taking a few risks.  These are scary steps, but oh so much better than giving into boredom and complacency, where I tend to reside when I am afraid to move out of my comfort zone.

 

 

One of the most important lessons I have learned in surrendering, is that there is great freedom when I loosen my grip.  When I let slip those tight reins I have on my life, I open my heart to joy, wonder, and infinite possibilities.

 

 

I did say this was my year to soarflowing with and following a path DSCN5360shown to me in small steps.  And recently I have been taking a few test flights to try out my new wings.  But I think it might be time to step out a bit further, and maybe from a higher branch.  To fly from this place of surrender, and have faith that I am doing the right thing.  Knowing that these wings will lift me up to new places, new challenges and wonderful adventures.  After all if I don’t,  look what I might be missing.  A whole wonderful world just waiting for me.

 

 

 

Note:   In the Language of Flowers, grass represents submission; a synonym for surrender.  These wonderful tall ornamental grasses grow in my garden every summer and bloom in the fall, finally surrendering in winter to the snow.

 

 

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

surrender

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.

Creating Pure Joy

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“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.”  — Erich Fromm

 

 

One of the habits I have lost along the way was the ability to have fun.  I noticed it only recently when I was taking stock of myself and my habits after being retired for almost a year.  I did things that I liked to do such as gardening and photography.  And yes they were fun, but I felt something was missing in these endeavors, in my life.  And I found I did not have as many hobbies or friends to “play” with anymore.

 

Now I know I am an adult and we have to work, but there was never anything that precluded us from playing and having fun with friends as an adult.  It just seemed my life became about the job… especially since we had no children.  And there was less and less fun in the job as time went on.  Challenges had replaced pure fun, and for a while sufficed.  But soon the joy seeped out of the job and I couldn’t find it anymore.  It became, “I have to” not “I get to”.  Where was the fun in that?

 

And sadly it was as if I didn’t know how to play anymore once I retired.  I used to DSCN6752amuse myself for hours as a child bouncing and catching a ball to see how many times I could do it without missing.  I would wander and smell the flowers, look at the bugs, climb trees, swing, wade in the creek, ride my bike, and all alone if friends were busy.  When friends were around we would play make-believe games, riding our horses to the rescue (our bikes with rope tied around the handlebars).  We would roll down hills, play tag, hide and seek and even card or board games.  Nothing planned or scripted, but whatever we felt like doing in the moment that would bring us immeasurable joy.

 

I miss those simple games, those creative fun times lost for hours in the sheer joy of life.  When we were with family at Thanksgiving, my 27-year-old niece and her fiancé wanted to play a board game.  So we got out the only game my sister had, Trivial Pursuit.  You bet I was in and ready to play.  And we were lost for hours playing the game, making up new rules and having so much….you guessed it, FUN!  Yes I won, but that is beside the point.

 

One of the ways I know I can create more joy in my life is to learn to play again….to let go and be creative…find what amused me as a child and still does.  There are the obvious things like riding my bike, wandering around the garden and watching bugs.  But those will have to wait for warmer weather.  It will be challenging to see what fun things I can find this winter…I love puzzles and there are a few jigsaw puzzles with my name on them just waiting to be put together.  And perhaps a bit of play in the snow-making snow angels and  snowmen!

 

Of course once the weather warms up and spring fever hits, I will be itching to get out and DSCN7059have some fun in the garden.  I can ride my bike over to the lake and see what’s what.  Oh that sounds like fun….you know I never get over there.  I wonder why…it could be fun!!  And there is flower arranging, or maybe painting a few pictures of flowers….oh I think I am going to like that too.

 

But more than doing all these things, I will be continuing to find more and more time to create joy…the pure joy from just exploring my surrounds and enjoying life in the moment with no scripted plans.  The possibilities are endless.  All I have to do is get back into the flow of those joyful, spontaneous moments of life.  Hey if you are in the neighborhood, stop on by…no need to call….we can play.  It will be such great fun!

 

Note:   The yellow roses pictured here represent joy.

 

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I leave you with some additional thoughts on, creating joy in our lives. Feel free to download this photo and share.

yellow rose

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 The Freedom To Soar

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“If you let go a little you will have a little happiness. If you let go a lot you will have a lot of happiness. If you let go completely you will be free.” ~Ajahn Chah 

 

 

As the New Year dawned, I was excited for all the adventures and changes that I imagined were ahead of me.  But as the days stretched out in front of me, I felt as if my enthusiasm had already waned.  I thought, ‘really, how could this be already’….’had I chosen the wrong mantra’.  No.  I knew in my heart that I was meant to use the word Soar this year as a mantra.

 

So what was wrong?  Why wasn’t I feeling any different?  Yes, I know it is not like magic when we start a new year, and presto things are changed.  But something crucial was missing.  So as I read and reflected a bit, I noticed that I was still tethered to the past.

 

With gardening we sometimes get tired of our garden…plants die, others become thugs and soon the landscape changes.  If we neglect our space, the weeds take hold and push out plants until our garden sometimes becomes unrecognizable.

 

DSCN0471That is what I noticed this past year as I lived with my garden for a year.  While there were many flowers and plants that made the garden beautiful, there were far too many weedy patches that needed a bit of work if I was going to see any semblance of a garden again.

 

As it is with my garden, so it is with my life and the weedy patches there.  Old habits, old thought patterns, old assumptions and judgements were cropping up along with old emotional reactions.  And when I dug deeper, I saw I was still surrounded by the old clutter.  Things used in a prior life that no longer served me in retirement.  If I was to stretch my wings I needed to clear out the old, to make way for the new.

 

Ready to let go and move on now, I am changing some key habits especially at the beginning and end of my day.  And my garden is integral to these new habits.  While I continue the work to transform my garden into more of a wildlife garden, I am looking for more spots where I can hear the birds, watch the hummers and butterflies, hear the water falling into the pond as the frogs croak their greeting to the sun.  The garden is a haven, a sanctuary where I plan to start each day.

 

I also want to plant more flowers that I can use for a cutting garden.  I have found making a weekly vase such a soulful experience.  Wandering, observing, creating…such deep meaningful pursuits with the satisfaction of a beautiful arrangement to see throughout my day.  I have enjoyed it so much that I plan to make more vases more often spreading them throughout the house.  Bringing more of the garden indoors will be a new habit.

 

DSCN2570I am even thinking about making it easier for me to do a bit of writing in my sanctuary.  The gazebo is a perfect spot that is underutilized so I need to find a way to be able to sit there, listen to nature and write…especially poetry which I write with pen and paper.

 

And ending my day in the garden…sitting, reflecting, perhaps writing in my journal, watching the sunset and playing more with the waning light as I try to capture it with my camera.  All wonderful ways to close the day.  And before the mosquitoes come out to stay, there are months of wonderful bug free nights where I can sit and gaze at the night sky.  Something I long to do more of…such a powerful end-of-the-day ceremony.

 

I have always had a tendency to observe myself living rather than actually experiencing life…mostly because of fear or crazy, self-imposed work habits.  But now I am feeling the need to free myself, to no longer miss out on this life.  And these new habits cultivated in the garden will go a long way in helping me spread my wings finally, and take those tentative first steps out of the security of my nest and experience the new life waiting for me in the sky.

 

 

Note:   I am using bees in flight in this post to help emphasize the idea of free flight and soaring in the garden.

 

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I leave you with another image of my word of the year, Soar.  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.

Confessions of a Perfectionist

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The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

 

It came as a complete surprise when I realized that I was a perfectionist.  I had been told before, in jest, that I was a perfectionist.  But I always shook it off and said, “no way”.  I am far from perfect nor do I care to be perfect…or so I thought.  But perfectionism is not about being a perfect person, it is striving to be perfect.  That is the trap.

 

How can anyone live up to perfection? Oh you try, and try, and try.  But it is just like beating your head against a wall constantly.  One mistake and you go down a deep, dark hole….trying to claw your way back out exhausted and bruised.  And just when you do see the light of day, after working so hard at this perfection, you again make a mistake or someone points out your imperfection or you beat yourself up for not making it to perfection….and once again you slide back down depressed, broken and back to clawing your way up again.

 

IMG_9782And just when I think I have this trap beaten, and I have made it beyond the dark hole, I find I have only fooled myself into thinking I am OK with not being perfect….and down I go again.  Except this time procrastination shows up.

 

I have been a lifelong procrastinator…I just thought it was part of me…something I could not overcome.  Until recently I learned procrastination comes from fear.  OK so what have I been fearing for so long….yes you guessed it…..drum roll please….perfection was my fear.  So if I never try and only talk about the wish list, the hopes and dreams, then I can never fail.  Excuses and avoidance are then my mantra, instead of striving and thriving.

 

And what I realized was in this avoidance, I had put my life on hold.  So how to balance this striving with perfection…well that is what I am working on presently.  Just recognizing I have been in this dark hole has helped me to climb all the way out finally.  When I find myself slipping down again, I grab hold and plant my feet firmly on the ground like a root grabbing onto the firm earth.  Then I face the howling wind and hang on.

 

It is a choice to live or merely exist.  So these days, I am choosing to live.  A walk around the garden in my bare feet or sandals.  Watching the sunset.  Capturing in pictures every new bloom and critter that shows up in the garden.  Walking in the rain.  Listening to the birdsong in daytime and frogs at night.  Laying on the grass watching the clouds, and sitting outside in the quiet still darkness to gaze at the heaven’s and marvel at the stars.  Dancing and singing to music instead of whiling away the hours on mindless TV or the internet.  Making one new bold excursion to explore a space or place around my neighborhood.  Savoring the smells and flavors of new restaurant.  In all these things, I am thriving…. making time to play and revitalize, not so focused on the to do list anymore.

 

Note:   The Chrysanthemum pictured here represents perfection.  The Japanese see perfection in the orderly unfolding of the chrysanthemum’s petals.

 

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Update 6 months later:

This post was originally published on June 3, 2014 in Vision and Verb.  This revelation about myself was a curious observation, and serendipitous.  It has served me well to not be so focused on the To Do list anymore.  One that has been instrumental in my healing time since retiring.

 

This is the last of my Vision and Verb posts that I am sharing here as the year comes to a close.  I hoped you enjoyed these special posts.  And I will moving into a new mantra and word for the year soon which will help focus my writing again.

 

 

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

perfect

 

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.

 

bluebird

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.

 

autumn trees

 

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.

Finding The Productive Path

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“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”  ~ Steve Jobs

 

 

I am a couch potato by nature meaning I enjoy just sitting.  Sitting and and reading.  Or sitting and glancing out my windows at the gardens and nature around me.  And I love to sit and watch old classic movies from the 1930s and 40s.  It is my ultimate escape from work, worry and engagement with others.  I use it as a numbing technique when I am overwhelmed or need to shut myself off.

 

And since retiring, I have found I needed that numbing for a while.  A cocoon to encase myself as I healed and rested.  Being a workaholic for so many years, it would seem it would be hard to sit still.  But not so.  It was easy to fall into the habit.  Not have an agenda.  Not have any set ambition for the days, the months ahead.

 

Oh yes I had my garden blog and I had big plans for my garden, but life intervened and my health issues forced me to rest more than I had planned….No you are not going to go out and spend hours, days and weeks beating up your body to make-over gardens.….They are not ready, you are not ready.  So this was what I was relegated to do…just sit.

 

DSCN4201So I did just what my body told me to do for 5 months initially.  Then this summer, I broke free a little and allowed myself to explore more with photography.  And I started this blog as a vehicle to continue the exploration, the creative endeavors and the healing.  But I never stopped mostly sitting and observing.

 

It had become part of me this waiting and looking.  This quiet time to see deeply into the landscape of my gardens and my soul.  To see what would be the productive path.  What I want to do and love to do, not wishing for a different life or hoping things would change.  But a deep knowing this was what I wanted to do now.

 

And there will come a time soon when I will be ready to move on again.  To add the next steps in my journey.  But developing the habit of waiting, looking and now intuitively knowing has been more productive than any other work I could have done.  It is the lesson of slowing down I had not been able to master.

 

Now not just “busying” up my day, but following what the heart and soul desires.  Floating through the day like a butterfly searching for the sweet nectar.  Then alighting there to drink it in until full.  Moving only when the sun sets, to start again the next day to find my next source…my desire.  It can be anywhere you know as long as you take time to sit and look for it.  And I will know it as it waits for me to follow along again floating on the wind.

 

 

Note:  Goldenrod means encouragement in the Language of Flowers.

 

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I leave you with another thought about living a 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.

Saying Goodbye

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 “Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”  ~Ann Landers

 

I have been toying with the idea of retirement for a few years now.  As I neared the 30 year mark and 55 years of age (the markers for qualifying for retirement from public education in my state), I was sure I would retire the first year I was eligible.  But a funny thing happened as it approached, I became unsure.  Always saying yes I am retiring…no hesitation…. while inside feeling sad and unable to understand why I was feeling suddenly so confused.

 

Why was it so hard to let go of a job after 30 years especially when the last few have been very difficult.  It wasn’t until I read this passage that a bit of light started to niggle at the corners of my consciousness.

 

 In life, goodbyes are a gift.  When certain people walk away from you, and certain opportunities close their doors on you, there is no need to hold onto them or pray to keep them present in your life.  If they close you out, take it as a direct indication that these people, circumstances and opportunities are not part of the plan for the next step of your life.  It’s a hint that your personal growth requires someone different and something more, and life is simply making room.  So embrace your goodbyes, because every “goodbye” you receive sets you up for an even better “hello.” Mark and Angel Chernoff

 

DSCN1843There it was.  Simple really to understand but equally difficult to put into practice.  Letting go of my past life to embrace this new journey into the unknown is scary.  It feels like I am going into a haunted house in the dark of night not sure what pits and falls might be around the corner.  Can you feel the fear mount…the butterflies in my stomach…the hair on the back of my neck standing up…chills running down my spine.  So how do I deal with all this fear and simply let go?

 

It is hard to say goodbye to a big part of our lives, but it is necessary to move into the next best phase.  To transition, a part of me has to die.  So that grief I have been experiencing is only natural.  In fact it is necessary.  And as I have slowly removed this veil of grief, I am looking now toward the light shining bright for me as I retire at the end of this month.

 

And as I move on there will still be tears, there will still be confusion.  I will be learning to walk all over again on this new path in these brand new shoes.  I am not sure if retirement is a death, a rebirth or a reconstitution of one’s self.  But above all it is a celebration.  Time to celebrate all I have become and all I have learned as I finally let go.  I am most grateful for it all-good and bad.  And I welcome this next phase and its precious gift as I say goodbye, and get ready to say hello world it’s me and I am so happy to be here!

 

Note:  Butterflyweed means “Let me go” in the Language of Flowers.

 

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Update 7 months later:

This post was  originally published February 21, 2014 as I was getting ready to retire on March 3, 2014.  And retire I did.  It felt strange for about a month.  Almost like an extended vacation.

But with many health problems cropping up, it was the best decision I could have made as I found I needed surgery in mid-May to repair a hernia.  The surgery and recovery were more extensive so the gift of retirement so far is for me to heal.  Physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.

And I am grateful for every moment I have to slow down, watch the critters in my garden, pick flowers, take photographs, create new meals, harvest the veg garden and just be.  I plan to do a follow up post about my retirement soon.

 

 

I leave you with another thought about letting go.  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.

 

Walking A True Path

This post was originally published 9/24/13 on Vision and Verb.  I am updating it a bit at the end.

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“Only by its own roots does a tree stand tall and only by its own light does the sun shine brightly and bring life to our world. So it is with you – only when you’re trusting, loving and rooted in your true Self will the life that is your highest potential begin to manifest. Only when you are walking on the path of your highest potential will you ever be able to shine brightly and bring light to the darkness in others.”

-Anonymous

 

Recently I set out on a new path to find what might be around the next bend.   I was in the process of retiring in late July, but turned back from that path 2 weeks before it was to happen.  I was not ready.  On that path I raced through the year trying hard to just hang in there long enough to jump off at some point.

 

Too many times I find myself running or walking so fast I miss all that is around me.  I am so afraid that I might fall over rock or root that my gaze is hard fixed on the path never looking up.  On those paths I find myself running smack into dark clouds and storms for which I am ill prepared.  They make the journey so much harder, and leave me with no joy at all.

 

But it is on those journeys when my gaze is not fixed, but expansive, that I find my true path and next journey. When I stop look, smell, explore even off the path a bit stretching my limits, I am most at peace.   Even if there is fog ahead, and I cannot see what is around the bend.  Even when the clouds may appear gun-metal gray and hard, I am resolved to forge on.

 

It is in these times that my soul is leading me on.  It knows the true way.  It feels the IMG_9823light-headedness, and giddy excitement for what might come.  And when I am not transfixed on the path, I stumble a lot.  But I pick myself up, brush off the soil, tend my wounds and look up again.  It is in these times that the next part of the path is revealed and I move on again assured in my conviction that I am on my true path.  Then and only then can I enjoy the journey.

 

I am walking the true path again, and maybe this time in late June I might find I am ready for what is around that bend.  But for right now I am exploring my surrounds.  I must be off now as there are some lovely flowers over there I must go and see…..oh and look a butterfly….my that is a large tree.

 

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Update almost a year later:

I wrote this post just after the first time I tried to retire in July of 2013.  I was then hoping to retire instead in June of 2014, but again my path was changed and I retired instead March of 2014.   I have been retired now for 6 months and it seems as if time has flown by and stood still at the same time.

 

I promise to explain more about that at a later time.  Suffice it to say, I am still following this new path of retirement.  I have been noticing my surrounds more now as I live in the moment.  It has been a wonderful experience although I keep thinking the dream will end soon….but thankfully it continues on.

 

But even if it were to end, another curve in the path will show itself as it did when I started this blog.  So on I go following the path around the next bend as it is just appearing on the horizon…I am beginning to get a sense now when the next curve will show itself.  And I look forward to that shift as it approaches.

 

 

I leave you with another thought about walking a true path.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

path

 

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.