“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.
That 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.
I 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.
I leave you with another image of my word of the year, Soar. Feel free to download this photo and share.
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.