Poetry Sunday-Summer Delights

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Summer Delights

 

 

Spring turns to summer, Night turns to day.

And all about me the garden does play.

 

Bees fill their pockets, young birds take first flight-

Me, I’m staring up into the sky so bright.

 

 

Do I climb, do I soar,

Do I lay in the grass once more?

 

 

Soft fragrances wafting slow down my day,

As I contemplate the clouds, and rest from my play.

 

 

Whether splashing in water, or picking berries ripe-

There is always time to savor sweet summer delights!

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2014

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Today is the Summer Solstice, and the changing of the seasons is upon us.  I wrote this poem early last summer in July.  I was recuperating from surgery, and had ample time to watch the seasons change before my eyes.  On my garden blog, Wednesday, I will be featuring the wrap up of my meme, Seasonal Celebrations.  There is still time to join in as we celebrate the coming of summer.  You can read how to be part of the celebration here.

 

 

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 here are of various pollinators that were visiting my garden in early summer.  They are the lifeblood of the garden and are responsible for the flowers blooming year after year, and veggies growing for a wonderful harvest.

 

 

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

Summer Delights

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.

You Are What You Think

DSCN7942It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about. ~ Dale Carnegie

 

 

 

It has been almost a year since I started this blog…well 10 months really.  And in that time I have been on a journey to reconnect to my inner happiness.  It lies within me, within us all…all the time…available.  We just have to tap into it….to allow it to come into our lives.

 

 

Seems simple really, but it has been a bumpy road filled with so much learning, knowing, joy and some sadness that had to be wiped away occasionally.  When I read this quote by Dale Carnegie recently, it really stuck with me.  Simple and not so simple sometimes.  Just change your thoughts…

 

 

But in reality, it takes time to change our thought patterns…and we need patience DSCN7941with ourselves.  If we have been in a worrying frame of mind….my legacy given to me by my mom and my aunt who raised her….forever worrying about every little thing, thought, detail….we won’t just stop worrying at the drop of a hat.  Or maybe in a negative cycle where we think everything is going to go wrong…nothing ever works out….we just aren’t meant to be happy or to have nice things….well you get the picture.  I remember hearing some of this too growing up.  Part of a generation plagued by a Depression and war.

 

 

And when you have been exposed to or been part of these limiting thoughts for so long, they become you.  There is a fear in letting them go because they have been part of your identity.  Long engrained habitual thinking.  And there is the thought….If I stop the worry, what will I replace it with?   We even have long-held social interactions with family and friends around the worry…the negative.  Now how do I or who do I talk with if I give it all up?

 

 

I know this may sound crazy, but the fear and not wanting to let it all go can be real.  And it can completely change who and how we interact with those closest to us….some friendships may even slip away because the negativity is too much for us once we begin to change.

 

 

I have been dealing with changing thought patterns for a long time around family.  You DSCN7938can easily get sucked back in, as I did early on years ago as I began this change.  Especially when family doesn’t want to change.  But now I think about what I want for myself.  How I want to feel.  I think about the happiness always there for me….something I choose to tap into as often as possible.

 

 

And I want to enjoy my life…connect with people over mutual interests and celebrate the achievements we all are making.  So I continue to be a role model for some family and friends turning conversations to the positive….talking about the good things happening.  Changing the perspective, seeing the gifts laid before me each moment.

 

 

The flowers blooming and shifting, the cries of laughter of children playing outside my window, the birds…new ones visiting daily with new songs to witness.  The flowers are springing up all over dotting the landscape with a rainbow of colors….oh the heavenly perfume.  These wonders keep me connected to my inner bliss.

 

 

DSCN7939Will there be sad times…the loss of loved ones….the worry when a loved one is sick?  Absolutely.  That is just part of life.  But I try not to dwell there for long….I look for the gifts always around me, and lift up those who may be in pain with kindnesses….a bouquet of flowers or just a smile.  Trying to always see the magic, the tingly joyful times before me.

 

 

 

 

 

Special Note:   The flowers pictured here are columbines, specifically Aquilegia Vulgaris Nora Barlow Pink’.  In The Language of Flowers, columbines represent being anxious and trembling.  Such a lovely flower to have such worries, but I will dwell on their beauty not their meaning.

 

 

 

 

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I leave you with more thoughts about the power of positive thinking.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

think positive

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.

Poetry Sunday-Thoughts of May

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Thoughts of May

 

 

Of mothers, bees and bright bouquets

These are the images and thoughts of May.

 

 

Warm breezes, green fields and children at play

These are the sights and sounds of May.

 

 

Butterflies, frogs and birds twittering away

All of nature moves to the rhythm of May.

 

 

Fireflies brighten the lazy dusk of the day

Time slows in the early evening of May.

 

 

And the indigo sky shows a sparkling display

As we rest and dream of tomorrow in May.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2015

 

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This poem was originally written in May of 2012 as part of my month long celebration.  I updated the poem a bit this year.  I hope you enjoy my thoughts of May.  And Happy Mother’s Day to all!

 

 

 

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 native wildflowers pictured here are Virginia bluebells or Mertensia virginica.  They are not related to English bluebells, but are similar in appearance.  In the Language of Flowers, bluebells represent gratitude.  A perfect flower to give to mom to show your gratitude.

 

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

May

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

Wildlife Lessons-Seeing Red

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A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.  ~Maya Angelou

 

 

 

I can tell you the lesson of this recent wildlife sighting immediately….do not judge a book…well you know the rest.  When I saw the bird above, at first I thought it was a House Finch.  The House Finch has come to be more common around here after being introduced to NY from the western US in 1940….so my immediate reaction was, it’s a House Finch.

 

 

DSCN1706But when I stopped to look longer, I noticed the back of the bird was a bit different.  Then I looked closer at their heads and…wait….this was not a House Finch.  So I began snapping lots of shots, and did a search for small, red-headed birds.

 

 

Almost immediately the name Common Redpoll came up, Acanthis flammea.  And when I looked outside again, there was a quite a flock of these small finches, covering the patio, searching for seed between the bricks as the snow had retreated quite a bit.  They didn’t stay long, but long enough for me to observe and listen to these cuties.

 

 

DSCN1702And when I searched pictures I had taken from a few days before, I found had taken pictures of these birds who resembled the House Finch in the big ash trees.  I easily recognized them by the deep rust-red patch on their foreheads and distinctive white bars on their wings.  Males also have a pale red vest (like in the top photo).

 

 

If you live in Canada, the northern US or close to the Arctic Circle, you will see these birds as they migrate South from their breeding grounds in the Arctic tundra in winter.  They like to hang out in open woods and weedy fields, and it is estimated their numbers are in the millions.  It seems the noisy, energetic Redpolls I saw were heading back to the Arctic to breed.

 

 

 

red birds collageIn April we also saw many other red birds.  On the bottom and top left are the male and female Northern Cardinal.  The female was feeding on the lichen of the ash tree.  I have spied other birds feeding on lichen too.

 

 

On the right are pictures of the Red-Bellied Woodpecker.  Woodpeckers love our suet feeders and can be seen lining up or swooping others at the feeder to make their intentions known….get moving fella, I want some suet too.  The cardinals pick up the dropped suet under the feeders.  The center picture is a male Downy Woodpecker.  I hear them constantly chattering and talking to us when we are out in the garden, especially if we are near the suet feeders.

 

 

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Here are some interesting facts about Common Redpolls:

  • Common Redpolls survive temperatures down to –65 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Sometimes Common Redpolls will tunnel into the snow (at least a foot long and 4 inches deep) to stay warm during the night if the temps are extremely low.
  • Redpolls have throat pouches for storing seeds. Once they fill their pouches, they fly away to swallow the seeds.
  • Although winter redpolls eat mostly birch seeds, they also eat other tree seeds, and seeds from grasses, sedges, and wildflowers.  And if seeds are scarce they also eat insects.
  • Common Redpolls have been found to travel great distances; from Michigan to Siberia and Alaska to the eastern U.S.

 

 

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

 

 

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

redpoll

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-April 2015

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The potential of the average person is like a huge ocean unsailed, a new continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be released and channeled toward some great good. ~ Brian Tracy

 

 

For this month’s potpourri, I am continuing my thoughts about self-love.  Self-love and self-care are things we are not routinely used to considering…we are not brought up to think about ourselves first….it is thought of as selfish.

 

 

But in reality it is the most self-less thing we can do to care for ourselves….I feel if we don’t care for ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, then we cannot adequately care for others.

 

 

Part of that self-care is making time for ourselves….not easy in our busy lives, but essential.  It is important to connect to our inner core….to find ways to replenish ourselves.  I disconnect from the world for chunks of time.  It gives me space and solace to think or not think…to go with the flow or put my ideas down on paper.

 

 

But the best thing I do somedays is to celebrate.  With the coming of May, I find it a perfect time to celebrate as it is my birth month.  It is a standing joke that in May….I don’t have a birthday, but I celebrate my birth month.  But that joke has really become a reality for me, as I think it is a perfect idea.

 

 

And while this is something I do in May, I have begun to realize that I need to celebrate more….not just the big occasions, but the smaller moments in my life.  A glorious day….a perfect sunset….the return of a beloved flower or bird to my garden…..a mother rabbit nursing her young.

 

 

These times don’t need a big celebration…they just need to be noted in a journal, or for me with my camera.  So as I look back at some of these special times this past month, I thought I would celebrate them here with you as I saw them through my camera lens.

 

 

 

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As the snow finally began to melt in the beginning of April, fog came to the garden.  This was the foggy sunrise that met me on that glorious morning.

 

 

 

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The willow trees outside my front door, capture the droplets of rain and hold them making sparkles and reflections.

 

 

 

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And those same trees are a perfect perch for many bird visitors seeking shelter, a home or just a spot to watch the sunrise on a foggy morning….like this Junco.

 

 

 

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The first flowers of spring were a daily occurrence as the snow melted to reveal them already blooming.  And with spring rains, the flowers were bathed in more beauty.

 

 

 

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The first daffodils shimmered like the snowdrops above.

 

 

 

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As the ground warmed, and the bright spring sun shone down, more flowers bravely bloomed for me…Iris reticulata here…..Chionodoxa in the first photo.

 

 

 

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And Crocus tommasinianus blooming through the new green grass.

 

 

 

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This Scilla siberica is finding the first light of the new day…what a glow it is giving off that is captured here and in my heart forever.

 

 

 

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And finally the silver maple flowers are blooming already as the spring sunlight makes them shine like diamonds on the branches.

 

 

These are the celebrations I see each day…and so many more I hear with each new bird’s song.  Each a delight…each renewing me helping me to SOAR higher.  Each and every day now I am making time for me…I take it slow with no set plan…just kindness, gentleness and a child’s curiosity regained.

 

 

 

Note:   Each photo was taken on my daily walk around the garden in the month of April, 2015.  Some required me to lay on the soft, wet ground and see the flowers from a new perspective.  Oh what breath of life I found there as I reconnected with Mother Earth.

 

If you like gardening, and want to see more pictures of my April garden, I have a monthly journal post at my garden blog, Gardens Eye View, the first Monday of each month.

 

 

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

heart

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.

Loving My Scars

 DSCN6944“Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.”  ~Unknown

 

 

 

I have lived my life with many scars.  Those visible childhood scars from when I fell off my bike.  Or the time my hand went through the plate-glass storm door…ouch and long story.  And then my first serious car accident where I hit the steering wheel (before seat belts-yes I am that old), and my teeth went through my chin…lots of stitches.

 

 

DSCN6215And there are the not so visible scars…I don’t mean the ones from surgery….mine from last year is still healing nicely, thanks for asking.  No, I mean those scars we hide inside.  When we were deeply hurt for the first time.  Mine was a Kindergarten teacher on my first day in a new school and she crushed my spirit...a scar that stayed with me, unseen even by me until a few years ago.  When it came bubbling up to the surface, I realized that this scar had led to some self-defeating ideas I had been harboring for almost 50 years.  WOW!

 

 

And the scars that built on that first one….the stories I believed about how I was not artistic, or creative, and yes Mr. Driver’s Ed teacher who said I would never learn to drive.  OK there are some who may have agreed with him (and secretly still do).  And my thesis team…those professors I had to convince I was worthy of passing by successfully defending my Master’s thesis….those who took pride and pleasure in trying to make me look not so smart or accomplished.

 

 

DSCN6957Yes, I could go on with the ruminations from when I started work….it is an endless reel of tape that sometimes plays in my head.  But at some point these scars tend to heal over only opening again when someone close to me, personally or professionally, would say something nasty.  And over the years I built up a thick skin around those scars so as not to feel them there.

 

 

But they are there.  I even built a high wall from all the bricks thrown at me over the years.  In fact, the wall became so high I began to feel suffocated, claustrophobic and isolated.  So I finally burst through the wall.  And instead of viewing my scars as something to keep hidden, I have brought them out to the light of day where I can see them, and they can heal.

 

 

I now view my scars as gifts….gifts that have led me down my path…the path where I am DSCN7502meant to go.  They are my strength.  They showcase my resilience.  And I am darn proud of them.  Sometimes I write about my scars here….it helps me to heal them, and sometimes it helps others.  I am not depressed or upset about them or the lessons they are teaching me….actually it makes me happier when I can talk about them, and then let them go.

 

 

So you see I really do love my scars.  Those that show the physical or emotional pain of my life….they are me…an important part of me.  They help me to continue to embrace my vulnerabilities.  Without them, I would never have been able to truly love my whole self, scars and all.  They have become a kind of Superpower that assures me that whatever is happening, I will have the strength to get through it.

 

 

DSCN7270I am still figuring out the “get through it” part.  For me, it is like putting on a soothing balm to heal the wounds and scars.  But it is an individual journey…we all process let downs, disappointments, and grief in our own unique way.  Sometimes I surrender and let go….sometimes I decide to walk away and not engage….and sometimes I fight head-on into the fire coming out a little scraped and bruised, but again wiser, stronger, and oh so much happier.

 

 

 

Note:   In the Language of Flowers, daffodils represent self-love.  And I chose white daffodils, as white represents light, goodness and safety.

 

 

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

self-love

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 Living with Uncertainty

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“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.  Delicious Ambiguity.”  ~Gilda Radner

 

 

 

There is one thing I know that is definite about life….we are all going to die someday.  Now I know this is not a major revelation nor even a pleasant thing to think about.  But the realization of this fact recently caught up with me.  Prior to that, this fact was pushed far down into the nether reaches of my brain so I didn’t have to deal with it.

 

 

Talking about death was scary because for me there was nothing definitely known about what happens to us when we die.  I also didn’t want to leave those I loved, and there was so much I still wanted to do with my life.  But the fact that I am going to die someday was always looming somewhere in my brain even if I resisted it.

 

 

And dealing with the death of loved ones, I think was even more painful because I couldn’t DSCN5808accept the finality of death.  That sense of loss was too great for me.  So I always pushed it away.  Recently, it has been continuing to dominate my thoughts.  Perhaps because of my mother’s failing health.  And perhaps because another birthday is coming closer to another decade done for me.

 

 

These thoughts had been weighing on me, and it was finally time to face them….to deal with them as we each must do in our time.  And when I ran across this quote, everything suddenly changed for me…becoming clearer.

 

 

I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few.  ~Brené Brown

 

 

And reality hit me square in the face….I had been limiting myself, my life.  Not really living…wrapped in deep fear, and dipping deep into unhappiness many days, all because I couldn’t deal with the uncertainties of life.  And maybe too because the only certainty was not such a pleasant prospect.

 

 

DSCN5795As a gardener, I face uncertainty every season.  When winter yields to spring, I am never sure what damage will be shown once the snow melts.  What flowers and plants will have succumbed to nature’s wrath and the natural process of dying.

 

 

In gardening it is an accepted fact, this life and death cycle.  If you don’t accept it, you won’t be gardening for long as the disappointment can be too great and defeating for some.  But not for me.  I have learned from my mistakes, and the ravages of nature that are out of my control.  I have shifted my perspective, and learned to accept each season as it comes, no matter what happens and enjoy the garden knowing it is never the same year to year.

 

 

So why does it seem easier to accept uncertainty in my garden?  I think because the joys I have found in gardening far outweigh any disappointments, and maybe make the successes of the flowers that present themselves so much more meaningful.

 

 

I have even come to enjoy the stages or seasons in my garden.  The first signs of new life DSCN5811and focusing on the beauty it brings as we get into the many flowers of spring and summer.  And learning to love the fading autumn beauty of my garden, still alive and exquisite setting up new life as it turns to seed.

 

 

These stages of life in my garden have become an inspiration for me.  They present themselves in each day as the sun begins to lighten the sky, until the last rays of light fade bringing the beauty of the stars at night.  I appreciate the fullness of each part of my day as new experiences dawn, and my body breathes in the life each new hour brings.

 

 

And I have begun to notice myself in each subtle shift this year.  I have learned that while I know there is a winter in my garden, as there is in my life, I don’t have to perseverate on it.  Instead, I can acknowledge that my time, like my garden, is limited, but it is in the moments between my birth and death that I find my greatest joys and fulfillment…this is where I choose to reside, to bloom and grow until my last breath.  Seeking the uncertainty where that delicious ambiguity resides.

 

 

 

Note:   In the Language of Flowers, daffodils represent uncertainty.  I decided to feature daffodils that were hit by a snow storm last year, and still continued to go on blooming brightly.  When they were weighed down by the cold and snow, I was uncertain if they would survive.  There was a beautiful quality about these daffodils even as they faced death.  But in the end they showed their resilience and strength as they went on to live their lives fully in my garden.

 

 

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

uncertainty

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-Gratitude For A New Day

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 Gratitude For A New Day

 

 

 The dawn breaks slow

a warming glow,

across the horizon

rising soft and low.

 

A peace settles down

on everything surrounds,

waking my soul

with the sweetest sounds.

 

And my grateful heart knows

as love overflows,

a day being born of

blessings bestowed.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2011

 

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I wrote this poem as part of a challenge to create a gratitude prayer.  I had forgotten about this poem until I recently found it tucked inside some papers I was going through as I cleared mounds of clutter that had accumulated for 10 years.

 

 

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.

new day

 

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 sunrise photos pictured in this post, came from a recent sunrise this winter.  They show the progression of the sunrise, starting with the small circle on the left and going in a clockwise direction.  This beauty of this sunrise lasted 15 minutes.

 

The first picture is a view from my porch looking past the rain chain, which hangs from the porch roof, into the colors of this new day.

 

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I leave you with a few words of the gratitude prayer for this new day.   I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

gratitude new day

 

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.

Triggering Happiness

DSCN7790 “And the true realism, always and everywhere, is that of the poets: to find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all.”  ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

 

 

 

Six months ago I began this blog.  It was after an exhausting trek for the past 50 something years of trying to find happiness, that I was finally able to unlock the question for the ages.  How can we be truly happy?  What is the magical elixir we have to swallow to find happiness?

 

 

And the answer quite bowled me over.  We need not search around us, or make lists of things to do that will thrill us.  Happiness is found within us.  It is always there.  We are born with it.  It is just that life gets in our way sometimes, and somewhere along the line we try to search for happiness thinking it is lost to us suddenly.

 

 

And I think in that moment when we realize we have lost it, happiness has gone deep within us….and our sorrow shadows it.  Suddenly we can no longer access it, try as we might.  I tried with alcohol (when I was in college and almost burned out too soon)…with sugar and that battle has finally been won although now the health issues from it are still around.  And I tried with shopping and buying the latest fashions and things.  I tried with what I thought were bigger, better jobs with more money.  And still I was so unhappy.

 

 

Until I discovered my happiness again this past year.  Still deep within me ready to be released if I could but trigger it.  And the trigger wasn’t lamenting about life, wishing things would change, hoping for better times.  No, actually one of the triggers for me has been through writing about my life.

 

 

Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom, and power.  ~  Stephen Covey

 

 

DSCN7802I have been on a journey these past six months embracing change.  Which means I have to dig deep and unleash some past emotions that tie me down.  And as painful as those moments may be, they have been the most liberating in helping me trigger my happiness.  For me to reconnect with happiness, I had to know what it felt like again.  To recognize it.  And in order to do that sometimes I had to recognize the pain blocking the happiness.

 

 

This is not a journey finished in 6 months, 6 years or 60 years.  It is a journey that is a lifetime.  Imagine a lifetime of happiness, if we can trigger it.  Move the curtain away, unlock the box we neatly tucked it into, and bring it back into our lives front and center to stay.

 

 

So what have I noticed are some other triggers for happiness.  Well that is a personal journey we each have to discover…and it has been such a blissful journey, for me, so far.  I can tell you that it has been amazing to feel that ripple of joy once again.  It may start with a beautiful sunrise, or a sweet gesture or kind word.  A young fawn stepping into the meadow for the first time.  Seeing the first blossom of spring as the ice and snow melt away to reveal the magic of nature.

 

 

Oh in those moments my heart is singing, my eyes are wet with tears of joy, and I feel those wonderful butterflies in my stomach that send me soaring lighter than air engulfed in an amazing blissfest.  And when I find myself in those gray days, where I am lost, where I am feeling a deep sorrowful low, I reconnect with that bliss.  I search the snowy landscape for beauty that is there if we look for it.  I remember those kind words offered, or I just smile.  Maybe forced at first, but once that smile is stretching across my face, it spreads throughout my body.  It is hard for me to be sad when I am laughing or smiling.

 

 

And sometimes the easiest trigger to connecting with my happiness within is to just be grateful….grateful for family, grateful that I am alive, grateful for each step I still take, each sip of water I drink….grateful for deep unconditional love found in my soulmate.  And even grateful for the painful, unhappy feelings that creep back in with still unfinished business. Yes that still is the ultimate key….sincere, deep, abiding thanks for this life I have.

 

 

Note:   The lilies of the valley pictured here represents a return of happiness.

 

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

lily of valley paint

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-Timeless Images

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Timeless Images

 

 

 

The mirror looks back at me

A face, strange and foreign somehow.

 

Ruddy, wrinkled

Laugh lines deep, crinkling at the edges.

 

A care worn complexion still fresh

A body older, fragile, stiff with painful bending.

 

And yet within this vessel, exists

A soul still full of wonder.

 

Seeking answers, scarfing up knowledge

Playful, dancing through life.

 

She is there sometimes on the surface

But often over the years kept far down.

 

Admonished, ‘act your age’

‘Be an adult’, were the words heard far too often.

 

She has fought her way back

An old soul, still youthful, a child.

 

The glint, that spark

Still there in her green eyes.

 

Mischief, seeing the new

Seeking joy; neverending.

 

Her smile blazes

Her laugh infectious.

 

Yes, the mirror looks back at me

But it is the child, that’s all I see.

 

Now forever born again, new each day

For each moment the possibilities boundless-timeless.

 

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

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This poem was also created as we were SOARing through the sky on our way to visit family at Thanksgiving.  Lots of wonderful poems flowed as we flew that day, and this one came easily as I have been reflecting on life since retirement, and anticipating seeing family.

 

The pictures in this post are all of the author, me.  The top one was taken last year.  One of the only selfies I have ever taken.  The first collage is from Christmas when I was 2 and my high school senior portrait from 1975.  The second collage features me as a young teacher in the mid 1980s and my Kindergarten graduation picture in 1963.  The last picture is my faded and creased baby picture.

 

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.  

 

dd collage 2

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:  You can see my facial expressions haven’t changed much in the last 57 years.  I don’t usually like my picture so there are few that I have kept.  But as I age, I have come to accept my pictures as I accept myself, and am happy to share them with you.

 

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I leave you with a little bit of sentiment about life, acceptance and aging.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

dd baby 57

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

Wildlife Lessons-Butterflies

DSCN1244“Like a butterfly stuck in a chrysalis, waiting for the perfect moment, I was waiting for the day I could burst forth and fly away and find my home.” ― Emme Rollins

 

 

I have long identified with butterflies.  Seeing them instantly brought me great inexplicable joy and happiness.  A freeing, playful spirit would overtake me.  I would want to follow them as it I could fly away on their adventures sipping the sweet nectar of different plants and choosing which I prefered.

 

And I never quite understood why these creatures held such magic over me until I began to garden for them, and then study them a bit.  When one gardens for butterflies, you make a concerted effort to bring in the flowers that will nourish and nurture them through each stage.  You bring in shelter too.  By getting to know how they live, you begin to know them….it is inevitable.  And to really understand them, you must also study their lore.

 

DSCN3557Butterflies seem very fragile.  Thin wings…wisp of creature that a strong wind could demolish…sensitive to their environment where slight changes could bring about their demise.   But if you watch them carefully and study them a bit, you get to know how really resilient these creatures are.  Flying thousands of miles to get where they must go…where they know instinctively they must go.  Battling storms and adverse conditions, yet still moving onward even in their short lives.

 

And it is the resilience that I most identify with now…still the playful, free spirit, but more the knowing of their place, their journey and never deterring…such commitment.  Of course these are human emotions I give to these creatures, but still it feels right to think of them in this way.

 

This year with my mantra/word for the year being Soar, I feel a strong pull, almost kindred spirit, to creatures of the air and especially the butterflies.  It is a transformational year too as I enter my second year of retirement, where I feel ready to shed the old and stretch my new wings getting ready to Soar into the brilliant blue skies.  So having butterflies as the symbol of my year, is perfect as they have long represented transformation in folklore.

 

As I look toward the future, I am looking back at the butterflies that Soared into my life and garden in 2014.  They were not great in numbers, but we did have a greater variety.

 

 

red admiral collage

The Red Admiral or Vanessa atalanta is usually a yearly visitor.

 

 

 

white admiral collageAnd the White Admiral or Limenitis arthemis arthemis has been visiting the last few years, now that we have been gardening for butterflies.

 

 

 

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This Eastern Tiger Swallowtail or Papilio glaucus bravely flew around the garden although he was missing the bottom half of his wings.  Pretty resilient critter finding lots of nourishing nectar here.  We generally have a few of these lovely butterflies visit.

 

 

 

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His cousin, the Black Swallowtail or Papilio polyxenes, frequents our garden more, and we usually have many of these caterpillars on our dill or Italian parsley.  I grow a patch just for these creatures.

 

 

 

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Another cousin, I had not noticed in our garden before, was the Giant Swallowtail or Papilio cresphontes.  Very similar to the others, but the body and wings are a bit different.  It was a treat to see him nectaring on the Clethra bush.

 

Another new butterfly was the Fritillary that is pictured at the top of the post.  It is hard to identify it with just the one photo.  This one was hard to get a picture of as it wouldn’t stay in one place long enough.  But I think it could be an Aphrodite Fritillary or Speyeria aphrodite…maybe an Atlantis Fritillary or Speyeria atlantis….most likely though it is probably a Meadow Fritillary or Boloria bellona.  I will watch for more of these lovelies in my garden as their host plant is violets which I have plenty of.

 

 

 

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Surprisingly the most plentiful butterfly in our garden is the Monarch or Danaus plexippus.  I think with all the milkweed we have now, and loads of their nectaring favorites like Echinacea, Monarda, aster and Helianthus, we see them on their way North and again as they migrate South. Not many caterpillars spotted in years past, but I hope that changes.

 

My plan for this year is to continue to add specific plants to entice loads more butterfly species into the garden.  I hope to compile a database of what host and nectar plants I already have that may draw in different species, and then go looking for caterpillars as I am more out and about in my garden.  It is my version of play….fascinating stuff really!

 

 

 

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Here is some interesting folklore about butterflies:

  • According to the Blackfoot Indians, butterflies carry our dreams to us at night.
  • Native American cultures consider the butterfly a symbol of the sacred and the unknown.
  • Since ancient times, the butterfly has been a symbol for the soul.

 

 

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

 

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

butterflies

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.

Happy Holidays

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Today marks the celebration of Christmas around the world.  It is a day of hope, a day of new beginnings, a day for families and friends to gather together.  It means so much to so many, and yet we all have our different memories, traditions and beliefs.

 

And during this time of Christmas, there are many other holidays celebrated as well.  Chanukah has just ended, Kwanza will begin tomorrow.  We celebrate the New Year soon and we just celebrated the Winter Solstice as the days now lengthen and the light returns to the North.

 

Recently I discovered this Tara Mohr quote that spoke volumes to me and shifted my perspective of gratitude.  I thank Sor’a Garrett@The SHINE Connection for bringing it to me in her Joy of Giving series.

 

“Gratitude for makes me feel fortunate, gratitude to makes me feel in my right place-as a humbled, limited, human being. Gratitude for is about counting our blessings. Gratitude to is about being on the receiving end of a conversation with something larger.”   ~Tara Mohr

 

So during this special time of the year, I am filled with gratitude for so much and to so many people.  And I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to thank all of you for your support of my new blog.  Whether you read, comment, subscribe or pop over from time to time, I extend my gratitude to you.

 

And I wish you Happy Holidays as you celebrate the season.  

 

 

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.

Discovering My Life Force

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“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”  ~Martha Graham

 

 

I am a deep thinker.  I have always been and recognized this at an early age.  I was able to tap into my innermost thoughts, those held deep in the recesses of my soul until given voice.  Even when I was working as an educator, I contemplated below the surface of issues and felt them deeply.

 

And most recently, I have been exploring those deep recesses to bring my thoughts to light again.  Maybe that is why I took to meditation so eagerly as it has been a means to help me in my exploration.

 

People have asked me how I am able to write the way I do…..and I say it just comes.  Some days the words are stuck, blocked, and I know I have to work on the blockage first before they can flow.  Many days as I sit in quiet solitude a phrase, a snippet of a thought will caress the outer reaches of my consciousness, and I will play with it to see if it has potential.  Maybe it is not the right time and it will float away for now.

 

And some days, I will sit to write about a subject, and the channel will be open as the words flow out hard, fast until exhausted I sit and read it back wondering who wrote this.  But it is always about the words.  Finding those elusive words, those precious thoughts, the speaking of my soul let loose to bring tears to my eyes, or laughter to my heart always meant for me first.

 

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Words have been my life force.  Whether spoken or written, they are the Universal energy that flows through me.  They are picked up on the soft winds and the howling gales and are strewn about me.  I lift them up and send them out into the world.  Some in short verses with deep meaning and others as lessons I want to share as I create new energy that will come back to me.

 

My words are not always positive especially those spoken.  They come as a firestorm sometimes, and I have to keep a close watch on those emotional outbursts.  I know now that those times are best left unspoken, and some time away is called for to assure I am not wounding or being sucked down into a dark place I did not intend to go.  I have better control now and exert it.

 

And I polish the positive words.  I shine them as they are picked up in the light and float out in gleeful currents.  Those are my true words full of emotion but so much more useful, compassionate, peaceful, rich and powerful.  These are the words I want to keep as my life force.  Those that heal not hurt.  There is no purpose in the hurt.  It causes me greater harm in the long run.

 

So I keep to my true purpose and think deep thoughts, feel passionately, hurt, let go, forgive, judge less, love more and speak earnestly.  The heart smiles, the soul is expanded and the tears of happiness fill me up and wash me blissfully.

 

 

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Special Note:  The Cardinal Flower pictured here signifies energy.

 

 

The picture below is my gift to you this week.  Please download it and use it to spread the positive energy around you.

 

lobelia

 

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 Sundays-Saving A Life

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Saving A Life

 

In saving a life, you save a soul.

A heart is mended, a light is shone.

 

 

In saving my life, a path was cleared.

A breath was taken, there was no fear.

 

 

Giving back to life, now gratitude is expressed.

A kindness is returned, a celebration to commence.

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

 

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This poem came to me while I was relaxing during a healing session.  I had been to this practitioner for the last 6 years, and I was feeling as if I really was healing my life…all of my life-physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

 

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

 

daffs

 

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

 

 

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Special Note:  Daffodils symbolizes rebirth, new beginnings and eternal life.  A bunch of daffodils indicates joy and happiness.  These daffodils are wonderful reminders of the spring that was and the spring that will come again.

 

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I leave you with a bit of a sentiment about finding your life.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

life lost

 

 

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

A Kinder Place

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“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.  Kindness in giving creates love.”

― Lao Tzu

 

I have a friend who is a consummate giver.  I love watching her give by doing little acts of kindness…seeing someone struggling with a door that she gladly holds open as many others walk on.  Or giving up her space in line for an elderly gentleman, and letting into traffic that frazzled mom with a van load of kids.  No judgement here as I have walked or driven on by as well in my own little world not noticing.

 

But it is in these small, almost mindless, acts of kindness that we spread love, and I know we can all use more of that.  We never know what ripple effect our kindness can have.  But I know when someone has shown me a kindness, I feel happy, grateful and it makes me realize I need to give a little more.  No obligation just a pure, loving, wanting that permeates from within me that must be released or maybe unleashed on the world.

 

I love walking down the street and smiling at everyone.  Even those who do not look my way.  Maybe they will feel the love flowing to them.  And it is amazing how much someone can be uplifted by that smile…that little simple kindness that uses so many of my 43 facial muscles.  I usually get more smiles in return, but it is not why I do it.  I am giving straight from my heart center letting it flow out…and boy does it make me beam inside like sunshine emanating from every pore…feeling warm and luscious almost like the rich chocolate oozing from the center of  a flourless cake.

 

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I found someone’s wallet once and made a point of finding out who they were, and drove it to their house.  They wanted to give me a reward, but the reward for me was in giving them peace of mind.  And do you know that I have lost things like credit cards and keys and somehow they are brought back to me.  A bit of karma maybe riding that kindness wave.

 

 

 

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.  ~Dalai Lama

 

Kindness is an important and often missing element in our world it seems these days.  One that if practiced more, we might not have as much suffering, anger and hatred swirling about.  I’m not saying it will all just go away magically, but I know there would be less angry people in a kinder world.

 

Doing something that makes me feel good, and given with heartfelt love and no obligation or strings attached.  What a most precious genuine gift for the receiver and bliss for the giver (said with a bright, big, beaming smile of love to all)!

 

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Special Note:  The blossoms in the pictures here are elderberry blossoms.  These lovely blossoms signify kindness.  And produce a yummy berry (as seen below) I share with the birds in fall and winter.

 

 

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

 

elderberries painting

 

 

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.

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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.

 

 

Living From Happiness

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“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.

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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.