Poetry Sunday: The Wild Child

The Wild Child

 

A wild, playful child alone in her world

A digger of the earth joined in its holy sepulcher,

In solitude she finds her truth

Becomes her most vulnerable self

Belongs not to the world, but of it

Not to anyone but herself alone.

 

 

She will not sacrifice who she is.

She is everyone, everything, and no one.

She is surefooted now on her personal quest.

Believing in her most precious self.

For she lives her truth-

 

 

Willful, dogged, persistent in her accountability

Integrity flows abundantly, courageously

Loving kindness kindled and generously shared

Delivers on her word and deed knowing limitations

 

This wild child was born a thousand times and lives now, again, and will forever.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 

__________________________________________________________

 As I was contemplating recent readings, the term Wild Child came up and this poem poured forth.  It is autobiographical, and it is a song to all of us who are working on our inner selves.  I offer it to all who are called or feel like a ‘wild child’ as I move into my 61st year.

 

And yes those pictures are of me when I was about 8 or 9 years old.  Both pictures hold very fond memories, as I loved to swim, and go fishing.  That was the first big fish I caught, a lake perch.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about The Wild Child.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: The Drought

 

The Drought

 

Clouds drift along in the blue-grey sky,

Words and phrases obscuring the sun.

Drifting in and out of my consciousness,

Not wanting to be captured on paper.

 

 

I am like the earth and sky

Seeking balance between rain and drought.

My heart knows when

It will be time to come home again.

 

 

Distracted at present-

A monarch floats into my line of sight,

While a hummingbird peeks through the window

To see only its reflection against the vast darkness.

 

 

For now I am content

To let the words drift among the clouds.

Soon enough they will meld into a storm, and

Rain down freely again, singing on the page.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 

__________________________________________________________

This is a poem that was started a few year’s ago, and like the poem says, it drifted in and out of my consciousness until it fully formed recently.  Poetry can come easily or be a bit elusive….but I don’t obsess about it.  I keep a journal of phrases, lines, ideas, and revisit them until they decide to rain down fully into a poem.

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about The Drought.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Dear Truth

 

Dear Truth

 

Dear Truth:

 

My goodness I was glad to see you!

 

To speak your name~well rant it for a good, almost, 10 minutes.

 

You shook me upside down when I heard you speak.  And rung my emotional bell until it hurt from my head to my belly.

 

But you had to come, you had to speak, Truth.  And I am so happy you did.

 

Although next time can you add a dollop of love with your words so they don’t leave me too splayed upon the ground when you are done talking.

 

Yes I am glad you came and spoke, Truth, through me, from me down to my very soul.

 

Truth can set you free they say.  It turned me inside out and landed me on my ass.  But I had that coming.  After all I kept you at bay for far too long, Dear Truth!

 

© Donna Donabella 2018

 

__________________________________________________________

I am bringing you another epistolary poem from a letter I wrote in April of 2016.  This one was freeing to write.  It seems when I hold back from speaking up, the truth backs up until it bursts free.  I am learning to speak up more and more especially these days.  And especially to those who feel free to lie as a matter of course.

With the #enoughisenough movement, Truth is a friend to many again and speaking loudly through thousands, finally!

The pictures are of a witchball; a gift given to me by a dear friend.  Historically, witchballs were hung in windows to ward off ill fortune and bad spirits.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about Dear Truth.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Given Freely

 

Given Freely

 

Sometimes in the most hurried, stressful situations, it is worth our while to remember that a smile can light up our world….it can light up the whole world.  One small act of kindness, can change everything around us.

 

So with that in mind, in a very busy airport recently, I decided to make it a point to smile at everyone.  To excuse myself as I weaved and bobbed.  To joke with, and be polite to the TSA agents as they examined my bag one more time.

 

Even if smiles were met with frowns, and thank yous were not forth coming as I gave away space at my table or in line to get food, I still smiled.  I still persevered, and kept kindness front and center.  Letting it pour forth from my soul.

 

And what was the effect of this grand experiment?  Well, I cannot tell you it made any difference in anyone else’s life, but I know it did mine.  I was calmer, happier and more centered.  Each smile I gave away, made my day brighter.  And I have to believe it helped shift the world a little, that day, to the kinder side of life.

 

 

Smile given freely

No cost exacted save for

Soulful connecting

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

__________________________________________________________

This poem, a haibun, was an experiment I decided to conduct in a crowded airport.  To smile, be courteous, polite and kind no matter what.  Not an easy task when traveling as it is a stressful time made worse by time constraints, tired feet, discourteous people and knowing I am about to be strapped into a cramped space for hours while flying 35,000 miles suspended above the earth.

The pictures are fun selfies I created in a course I took using the phone apps, Pixlr and Prisma.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about given freely.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Outside The Box

 

 

Outside The Box

 

 

Soften the edges

Erase the boundaries

Ease out to see the light.

 

 

Release the strings

And drop the hard surfaces

Holding you in so tight.

 

 

Kick aside the rubble

Of your shattered dreams

That brought the darkness of the night.

 

 

Yes open to everything

Open to anything

Open to your frights.

 

 

Time to let go

And take those first steps

Time to take flight.

 

 

So step up and away

Breathe the new air

Of all possibilities that will delight.

 

 

Just move outside

That box you are bound to-

To find your exquisite, fulfilled life.

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

__________________________________________________________

This poem came to me as I was trying to relax and start a 2 week vacation…..and as I wrote it, my mind, body and spirit eased and I was able to move into the moment and enjoy my time away.  No confines, no worries, no strings….just pure delight.

 

The pictures were taken at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, a most fascinating place east of Phoenix.  The first is of an old homestead carved out of the rock.  The second is the remnants of a dry riverbed.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about outside the box.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Savoring

DSCN4390

 

 

Savoring

 

For me, food was always an after thought.  Something I had to have to fuel my growing, in-constant-motion- child’s body.  Grabbing a bowl of cereal here and there; a quick sandwich.

 

And into adulthood, this still was the case.  I had my favorites, but still food was merely fuel to be gobbled, rushed, downed and then move on.  Eat at my desk, eat on the run.  Never really savoring.

 

Instead the moments of food bliss were kept for those special treats:

 

The home-made chocolate chip cookies still warm from the oven.  The gooey chocolate-covered fingers licked clean.

The ice cream that I lingered over, and licked slowly off the spoon, tasting the swirl of flavors from lips to tongue.

 

I was lost in the moment with these sugary treats.  And these moments increased with age until sugar was the only thing I savored.  Now, no longer can I dally with sweets.  Instead, I relish the sumptuous taste of the fresh pea or tomato picked from the vine.  Warm in my mouth.  Luscious, now savoring these.  The rush of a sugary addiction transformed.

 

Sweet licks and morsels

Lightly dancing on my tongue

Moments now savored.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

__________________________________________________________

This poem came from a prompt given to me a couple of winters ago challenging me to write a poem about enjoying food.  I have never had a problem enjoying food…there was little I didn’t like.  And sugar was my favorite food….in any way, shape or form.

But with age, has come issues with food.  The need to reduce sugar or eliminate it as much as possible.  Gluten, acid reflux, no preservatives, eating organically all add to the issues where my food intake is now very healthy, and I have made peace with the changes as I turn 60.  This is my haibun poem paying homage to savoring food throughout my life.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

chesecake collage

The pictures here are of my husband’s award-winning cheesecake that he made for me two years ago on my birthday!  One of those rare sugar times.  The picture below is of the peas I savored from my garden well into summer.

 

__________________________________________________________

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

savoring

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Inner Critic

DSCN4505

 

 

Inner Critic

 

 

Inner Critic (IC)~You can do better, Donna.  

You know and so do I.  

I don’t want to hear excuses.  

I just want to see results.

 

 

My dear Inner Critic, I know you mean well,

but I beg to differ with you.  I

am not perfect, even though you want me to be.

I just can’t.  No, I just WON’T be perfect!

And no amount of haranguing will make it so.

 

 

IC~Look, all you need to do is work

harder and longer.

More effort that’s what you need.

 

 

It won’t matter, don’t you see,

because I am flawed.  I do try

my best, but in the end I will make mistakes.

I will fall face down many times over. But I WILL pick myself up.

 

 

IC~But why fall?

Do you want to get hurt, scraped, embarrassed?

Don’t you understand, I am trying to protect you from this.

 

 

I know you are.  You are, after all, part of me.

And you mean well.  But no, I do not fear the fall,

because I know it will happen.  And when it does,

I will learn to fly again, and fall, and fly, and…..

It is the inevitable cycle.

 

 

IC~ARE YOU CRAZY?!!

What is wrong with you?!

That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard….

 

 

Maybe so, but it is my sacred life.

And as part of me, you will just have to accept it.

No more shouting.  No more belittling or bemoaning.

Understand this-I AM STRONG.  I am enough.

And I am flourishing just fine the way I am at the moment.

 

 

Now come on, let’s go have some fun!

 

 

IC~OK, but I still think…….

 

 

No thinking my dear Inner Critic,

and no talking.  Let’s just be for now….

In this moment….time to enjoy life!

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

__________________________________________________________

I read a prompt a while ago where they asked us to have a conversation with our Inner Critic.  I have had a long-standing Love-Hate relationship with that part of me, with me losing more times than I care to count.  So I thought it was about time we had it out….after all this Inner Critic was holding me back and I was letting it.

 

As a reforming perfectionist, I am dedicating this poem to all of us who have been caught in Perfections trap.  And most especially, I dedicate this to my lovely niece, Natalie on her 13th birthday, today!  Like her Aunt Donna, she is a perfectionist.  A wonderful goal to to try to reach, perfection, as long as we don’t let it hold us down and make us feel bad about ourselves, as I have done.  So here’s to you my dear niece!  I wish for you the means for working with your Inner Critic, and not letting it get the best of you.  Oh and she is a most gifted and creative poet as well!

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  This week’s theme is ‘The Hidden Realm’, that safe haven I find inside as I heal and discover my true self.

DSCN4507

I am using pictures of Columbines, and faded Columbine petals that represent Anxious, and Resolved To Win, in the Language of Flowers!

 

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about Inner Critics.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

Inner Critic

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.

Poetry Sunday-Finding My Core

DSCN5180

 

 

Finding My Core

 

 

I stand here at my center

while all around me seems to be falling apart.

Senseless violence.

Memories of loved ones, now gone,

bubble up to open the wounds of my heart.

 

 

And it is in these times I seek my core,

a need to express my true self.

Nothing dancing off the tongue,

but words conjured up from deep inside.

 

 

They express the swirl of emotions.

They provide a base of stability to stand on.

They yield a sliver of light shining in the dark.

They form new boundaries, places to explore.

And they heal the wounds that can break me in two.

 

 

Words call me home when I find this core.

So I seek this poet’s heart to find the words

that make a dwelling place for me.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

__________________________________________________________

This poem came to me recently in the aftermath of yet more killing, carnage and fighting in the world.  I felt the pain deeply, and needed to connect to my inner core. Where I am reminded, that a beautiful sunrise means each day starts anew and anything can happen.  The sun represents for me healing light, and connecting to my true self.  It is always shining deep inside me, I just have to be aware of it….especially if I lose focus.  And with all the pain and suffering in the world it is easy to lose focus especially for this highly sensitive person.

 

The flowers pictured here are native Rudbeckia hirta that shine throughout my garden like the sun all summer.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  This week’s theme is “Hate’s a parasite that rots the Soul. ”  We are to write a poem which helps dispel hatred.  This is my take on the theme, and how I deal with the hatred I am finding more and more around me.

core collage (1)

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about finding my core.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

core

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.

Fearless Living

DSCN3177

“Hope and fear come from feeling that we lack something; they come from a sense of poverty. We can’t simply relax with ourselves. We hold on to hope, and hope robs us of the present moment. We feel that someone else knows what is going on, but that there is something missing in us, and therefore something is lacking in our world.”

~Pema Chödrön

 

 

 

Reading this quote, I was bowled over by how much truth it contained.  And yet I wasn’t sure I could wrap my brain completely around it…or if I even agreed wholeheartedly with the idea.  So this was a tricky subject for me, but one I knew I needed to explore.

 

 

DSCN3187How could hope be from lack, and how could it rob me?  After all I count on hope to lift me up.  And then it hit me…..I am holding on to hope sometimes for dear life.  Waiting for it to show up.  Never quite satisfied with life as it is, or how I am in my own skin.

 

 

And once I started to warm to this idea, however strange it seemed, I received another Joyful Wisdom Letter from Sandra Pawula, at Always Well Within.  Her theme was also about this notion of hope and fear; specifically how both can be unhelpful to us.

 

 

As I read through her words, I was struck by this notion:

hope for gain and fear of loss can turn into an endless search for the pot of gold”

 

And as I read these words, I thought there was such an immense truth in these words that churned deep in my belly.

 

 

DSCN3190The fear of loss is easy to understand.  It happens to each of us as loved ones leave us, and we worry or even fear their loss.  And it can transcend to losing jobs, or other things that we think are so important in our lives.  And this fear paralyzed me many times as a child….so much so that I could not leave my mother’s side.

 

 

While I thought about the fear of loss, it began to dawn on me that I had an equally tight grip on hope.  It was what I had pinned my dreams to; that elusive hope.  Yes, I hoped for a dream job with good pay….I hoped to find a relationship that would be ‘the one’, my true love.  I could go on and on here with my hopes.  But in the back of my mind, there was that other shoe waiting to drop with hope.  The fear that once I got what I wanted, it would all be taken away.

 

 

DSCN3173I thought that I had let go of these notions of hope and fear years ago, but realized that many have stuck with me, especially those around hope.  There were still many hopes I was attached to….I could hear them in my everyday language.  Even small ones like, ‘I hope the weather warms up soon so I can get started in my garden’.

 

 

So what to do?  Well it all became abundantly clear I had to do something, when not too long ago I was deeply down.  I woke on a Monday morning to a gray sky that was becoming white with snow.  Snow in April-ugh!  Snow that was not supposed to still be coming down.  And while I started becoming depressed thinking about the snow, and all my flowers being buried, a plumbing problem reared its ugly head to heap upon the gloom.

 

 

DSCN3178I just wanted to dig a hole and bury myself.  My hopes for spring were dashed with the forecast for more cold and snow, and what did I have to look forward to?  A big plumber’s bill!  As I realized I was in this downward spiral, I allowed these feelings to wash over me…to feel them as they came up.  But I didn’t perseverate on them.  Instead once they presented themselves, and I recognized them, I let them go.  I focused on more important issues (living with no water for the day), and after a while I felt a load being lifted off me.

 

 

Eventually the day brightened…the snow still remained for several days, but I was no longer attached to spring coming NOW.  I knew it would get here.  And with this I also began to remember other times I let go of my attachment to hope.  Meeting the right person…that happened when I let go and moved on no longer worried I might never marry.  Even that dream next job came to me when I let go of pursuing it.

 

 

DSCN3183So is it wrong to hope?  I found that there is a distinction between what I call hope and dreams.  Hoping may not ever get me to my dreams.  Hoping to get there doesn’t move me there.  But moving on, letting go have helped me in pursuing a dream that is within reach….. as long as I don’t hold on to it too tight!

 

 

This is a new notion I am exploring….what has been your experience with hope and fear?  What new lessons are you learning?

 

 

 

********

 

 

Special Note:  The pictures here are of my dwarf willow trees blooming, showing me spring is here no matter the weather.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words fearless living.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

fearless living

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 Perspective

IMG_0411

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
~Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

 

 

For me, I would say the world IS a garden.  A big, beautiful garden full of plants and wildlife, so much more fascinating than I could ever dream them to be.  And the intricate webs of life, that are woven in this garden, are so important for us….for you and for me, and for the plants and wildlife we live amongst.

 

 

With Earth Day being celebrated tomorrow…or is it anymore….I am reminded of the call, in 1970, to change how we treat the world, the environment we live in.  It meant something important and special to me, that first Earth Day.  Finally a way to recognize what we must do to change how we are treating our planet.

 

 

IMG_0412And the rallying cry, ‘Earth Day Everyday’ was a perfect mantra for me.  A young 13-year-old wanting to make a difference.  I knew so little then…and now some 46 years later after all I have learned, and all I try to do, I wonder do I make a difference at all.  Will my one garden, grown organically, using less water…will it matter in the grand scheme?  Will it matter to the wildlife in my one plot?

 

 

And realistically in the grand scheme of things maybe not.  But for me it does matter.  I was taught respect.  Something I find sorely lacking these days.  And the respect that we may give others who have earned it, also translates to a respect for the earth that supports us.  Indeed it is essential that we respect the earth.  That we do our best to do no harm.

 

 

I know I am not perfect, nor can I be.  But my efforts do help the microcosm of life, here in my one plot.  The rabbits nest here, the animals find food here to support themselves and their young.  Unlike those around me, who spray every bug until it dies, I cultivate the insects.  I welcome them home.  And my garden is abuzz with their sounds throughout the season.  These insects are the reason my flowers grow, my fruits and vegetables produce, and birds and babes flock here to nest and raise their young.

 

 

IMG_0381From my perspective, it is really rather simple…..do no harm.  Stop spraying your weeds and the insects.  The chemicals not only are killing the wildlife around us, but they are killing us.  More and more research is showing that our exposure to chemicals is causing diseases in us and our pets.    And the chemicals found in our food, is where we get the bulk of these chemicals that are deadly to us.

 

 

I am not going to regale you with research article after research article.  They are there if you chose to read them, or even believe them.  But if we use common sense, why would we want to poison our bodies.  Once I started eating only organic foods, I found many of the health issues I had subsided, and the inflammation in my body was drastically reduced.  Not scientific research…no.  But good common sense….do no harm.

 

 

If chemicals kill weeds and insects, then it follows they poison us too on some level.  Have you ever used some of these chemicals.  I did a long time ago, and even poisoned myself….I was deathly ill after prolonged use….several days of spraying to rid myself of lawn and weeds.  I was lucky to escape with my life in tact.  But then I was only focused on getting rid of the weeds…can’t have weeds you know!  Now I live with the weeds.  The weeds that support wildlife.  I’d rather have weeds, and wildlife and my life, than a chemically sprayed world devoid of life.

 

 

IMG_0413Can you tell I am impassioned about this topic?  Am I preaching to the choir?  Yes, and I am up on my soapbox too.  And maybe my voice will reach very few, but that is not going to stop me from doing what I know in my heart is the right thing….do no harm.  This is my perspective, and only you can reach your own conclusions based on how you see the world.

 

 

I ask that you take a moment this Earth Day, and consider my words.  Look at the world from a different vantage point.  Shift your view, to see the world through the eyes of others that we share this planet with.  Look at the future for yourself and your children, your family.  Bury your face in the grass and see the teeming life there that we depend on, and that depends on us to first do no harm.

 

 

IMG_0364

How are you celebrating Earth Day?  What is your perspective?

 

 

 

********

 

 

Special Note:  The pictures here are of Iris reticulata that grow in early spring.  I took pictures of the same clump of iris from different perspectives.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

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

perspective

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

IMG_0286

“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.

 

 

glory of snow (1)

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.

 

 

DSCN2854

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.

 

 

 

DSCN3005

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.

 

 

 

DSCN3010

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…..

 

 

 

DSCN3048

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.

 

 

 

DSCN3042

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.

 

 

 

DSCN3063

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

 

 

 

DSCN2975

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?

 

 

 

********

 

 

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

 

 

__________________________________________________________

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

touch of nature

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.

Poetry Sunday-Perennial Life

DSCN7870

 

 

Perennial Life

 

 

A beautiful spring.

Next a strong summer,

Moves to a waning fall

As blossom and leaf are shed.

 

To winter slumber,

Emerging slowly.

Renewed with the warm spring breezes,

To flower once more with vigor-

Begins the cycle again.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2016

__________________________________________________________

As a gardener, I often see my life’s journey as parallel to the seasons in the garden.  This poem was written after one of those reflective moments.

 

Pictured here are Oriental Poppies and their seedheads.  They have such a unique look, and I am struck often by their mandala tops.

 

 

poppy collage

These are the same poppies in bud and flower.  I love the crinkly, papery petals resembling crepe paper.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and with Gillena@Verses for her Monday WRites link-up.

poppy seeds

I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about a perennial life.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

perennial life

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 Finding My Power

DSCN3745

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?

 

 

 

********

 

 

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.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

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.

Innovation in 2016

DSCN6566“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”  

~T.S. Eliot

 

 

Just before the New Year, I have a tradition of choosing a word to guide me through the coming year.  It becomes my muse, my mantra, my guide.  In 2014, as I had retired, I chose THRIVE.  I needed to remind myself that I was healing and to nurture myself….that I was still alive and thriving.  In 2015, I chose SOAR.  As I had healed more, I felt like flying.  Getting above the clouds, and the gray, to see what was over the horizon.  It felt like a year to just enjoy my life.

 

 

DSCN7522

Now with 2016, I am feeling like I need to get out of my cocooned comfort zone.  At first I thought my word might be Connection or even Diving, but neither felt quite right.  And as I started my search, I happened on, Move.  Yes, I did need to Move more….still not quite right.

 

 

Then I saw three more:  Stretch, Integrate and Innovate.  Stretch, now that was a great word.  I needed to let go and get out there more….yes, this would do me nicely.  But you know, I liked Integrate.  I have so many skills I need to use more…to integrate the parts of me as a whole.  Maybe, this is the word.

 

 

But Innovate was still circling around.  I had seen this word before in a Facebook game I played.

 

innovation

This word will guide you through the year of 2016! It will support you in your daily struggles and situations that may appear hopeless. This word will always show you the silver lining so that you won’t ever need to worry. It was chosen for you specifically, embrace it!

 

 

OK this sounds like a word I could embrace.  But this word was big….so big it scared me.  Am I up to the task of this word Innovation?  I don’t know!  It is like Stretch, but a bit more forceful.  Like a shove in the back to get out on that stage and show your stuff.  Not exactly what an introvert wants to do.  But maybe, that is exactly what I need.  After all I did say I needed to let go, to move, to go beyond my comfort zone.  Stretch could help me do this, but it is too comfy a word.  I might not Stretch enough.

 

 

 

innovate wordle

 

So I vacillated between the two some more, Stretch and Innovate; Innovate and Stretch.  As I thought more about Innovate, I saw for me that it could mean new, different, expand, branch out, extend….and Stretch.  But it adds a different dimension to Stretch….a little more oomph!  And it incorporates Move and Integrate…I see me doing more, and using more skills with Innovate.

 

 

 

DSCN7344

Oh yes….just maybe.  Perhaps Innovate will help me break free from some self-imposed bonds….to experience life more without fear, or with accepting there will be fear.  So I took the leap…and decided on Innovate.

 

 

It is causing some butterflies in my stomach….a scary excitement as to what this year will hold.  But oh, how I am looking forward to it.  As I am already encountering situations, I am looking on them with fresh new eyes…a new perspective…with Innovation.  And on this New Year’s Eve, I ready to Innovate in 2016!

 

 

Do you have a word to guide you this year?

 

 

cosmos collage2

 

 

Note:   The flowers pictured here are cosmos, which in Greek means order, harmony, or the world.  In the Language of Flowers, it also means innocence.  The collage of words was made in Wordle.

 

 

 ********

 

I leave you with my image for Innovate 2016.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

innovate2

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.

Poetry Sunday-Reframing

reframing

 

 

Reframing

 

 

I move on slow footsteps,

In the opposite direction

To the farthest shore

To sit with myself.

 

 

Away from conformity, from perfection,

From fear and moral outrage.

 

 

Turning my face toward the moon

A softer reflection catching my tired eyes.

Seeing through a darkness revealed

A truer light less inflamed.

 

 

Casting long shadows of beauty all about me

Only seen when glimpsed from this new vantage point.

Empathy-A different perspective gained,

Found as I move on slow footsteps,

 

 

In the opposite direction.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2015

 

__________________________________________________________

As I was contemplating the strife of life and the tragedies in the world, I was feeling sucked in…becoming enraged, hopeless and fearful.  And in an effort to pull myself out of this and look for a solution, these words came pouring out.  I believe we need more compassion in this world, but first we have to start with empathy….both will make a huge difference in the world.

 

 

 

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.

moon collage

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.  

 

And I am joining in another wonderful meme at  A Spirit of Simplicity.  It is called Tuesday Afternoon where Kara celebrates a nice slow day in a busy week.  Check out her blog and the meme on Tuesday.

 

 

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. 

 

********

 

 

Special Note:  The pictures above are of the full moon in October right around Halloween.  Below is the almost full moon from the same month.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about reframing my outlook on life.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

reframing moon

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 Resting

DSCN6275

“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.

 

 

fall rest
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?

 

 

 

********

 

 

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.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

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

rest

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

DSCN4809

“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.

 

 

 

********

 

 

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

self-care

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

IMG_2860

“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.

 

 

********

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

********

 

 

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

health

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

DSCN0767

“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.

 

 ********

 

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.