Poetry Sunday: Dear Kindness

 

Dear Kindness

 

Dear Kindness:

 

You are the best part of me~of all of us.  And we desperately need to let your light shine out from our hearts and souls now more than ever.  I am feeling lost, forlorn and deeply dark within as your light is being overshadowed by hate and fear.

 

You have taught me that to know you, to be part of you, I must make a commitment.  For you are a practice~one I must exercise daily or become atrophied, rotted, forever in despair.  And only with practice can I know you better, can I become more accomplished at letting your light shine.

 

But most of all I must not forget that kindness must be given willingly to all; nature and mankind alike.  None must be forgotten, none must be left out or left behind.  Nor should I forget the most important kindness, to myself.  For without that I cannot hope to bring you to the rest of the world.

 

So as I move forward, dear kindness, I must not lose faith in you.  I must remember that I do not have to live in the dark recesses of a hopeless, anguished world.  Not as long as your light is stoked, fed and tended within….bringing out the best in me!

 

© Donna Donabella 2018

 

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I am bringing you another epistolary poem from a letter I wrote in April of 2016.  This one has been edited quite a bit in light of the world in which we live.  A world that is desperately in need of kindness….for all.  And not easily found.

The pictures are of a spring wreath looking out into my March spring garden covered in snow.  The crystal stick is a special rainbow maker from a dear friend.

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

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I leave you with a few additional words about Dear Kindness.  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

 

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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.

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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: Dear New Year

 

Dear New Year:

 

It feels good to write your name on this page….another year older, new numbers for this new year.  And the new numbers come easily to my pencil and fingers.  Most years, I will continue to write the old year, correcting myself numerous times as if I cannot let go….not fully accepting the change the new year brings.

 

But not this year, 2018.  It is as though I have erased the old year and never want to write it again.  I certainly never want to see it again~or so I think!  Yet this new year looks foreign and foggy to me.  I am not sure what to make of it, except it feels good; stronger with lots of promise.

 

So I begin this New Year with these thoughts….I will Tend this year lovingly for myself and others.  A bit more kindness and love given.  A bit less judgment and fear.  Yes 2018, I am remaining open for you and all you will bring.  Hopeful you will make sense and bring some order to this world.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 

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I wrote this epistolary poem in my new journal as the New Year began.  The flowers pictured here are commonly known as Amaryllis, scientific name Hippeastrum.  Red amaryllis are often associated with the holiday season, and typically mean determination, beauty, and love.

 

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

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about Dear New Year.  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: Word of the Year-TEND

 

 

Tend

 

Ex-tending myself for far too long

In-tending to slow and embrace ease

But I was just Pre-tending.

 

 

Now Con-tending with the after effects of the stress.

Unin-tended consequences none-the-less happening,

When you have a Tend-ency to overdo it for far too long.

 

 

So now I must At-tend to my not so selfish needs

With extreme Tend-erness in body, mind and soul.

Tend-ing to my hearth and home madly, gladly with ease.

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2017

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Every year I pick a word to help guide my year.  This year TEND came up with ease, shining down giving me peace and healing just to say it.  I started a healing path in late 2016, and found my ROAR, my voice and power, again this past year…..now I want to TEND to my inner fire, my home within and surrounding me.

 

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

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I leave you with an additional image for TEND.  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: Judge Me

 

 

Judge Me

 

Judge me righteous

Judge me Sad

Judge with your allegiance

Judge me Bad

 

 

Call me liberal

Call me snowflake

Call me out

For heaven’s sake

 

 

These words no longer puncture

They cannot hit their mark

They only move to inspire me

To give my fire spark

 

 

To voice a truth being erased

A people’s values labeled fake

Every lie the deception ordained

Now I judge that the biggest mistake!

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

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I was recently inspired to speak out again about the most basic hypocrisies in our world and country…..judging others and the erosion of truth. I wrote this poem in response to all the trolling and name calling.  Calling out the trolls and calling for a resurgence of sanity, values and the ‘real’ truth.

These pictures are selfies I created earlier this year when I was taking a course in how to creatively us photography phone apps.

 

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

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about Judge Me.  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

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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

 

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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.

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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.

 

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

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

Poetry Sunday: Muddy Waters

 

Muddy Waters

 

 

Muddy waters take me in

Take me down to nourish my skin

Skin made tough

Skin made thin

Through life’s adventures

Through life’s sins.

 

 

So soak it up and banish all ills

Fill me deep, realign my will

A heart made true

A soul made joyful

A powerful voice

Now once again skillful.

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

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I had not written much since last August due to a shoulder injury and due to a need to travel inward….a self-imposed time away. But on a sunny day in early April when I began my new journal habit, this poem flowed forth trying to break the ice damn that had built up.  It was how I was feeling sitting in my garden waiting for it to wake up….and hoping my creative juices would do the same.

 

The pictures above is of my early spring pond a bit muddy, and below my later spring pond full of life and water lilies.

 

 

 

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

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I leave you with a few additional words about muddy waters.  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-Taking Back A Life

 

 

Taking Back A Life

 

 

There is a change coming

Riding high on this mighty wind.

A soulful stirring

A door opens

I stand upon a threshold

Pausing now-

Eager to cross yet fear holds me tight in place.

 

 

The scent upon the breeze stirs my every cell

Filling me with a joyful excitement

Brushing my skin-tingling-

I am awakened.

 

 

Toes stirring, ready for this chance

Taking back a life full of promise.

Not knowing where we are headed

Is the best part of this journey

Coming alive.

 

 

So here we go!

Taking – that – first – step

Toward my destiny…. no looking back!

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2017

 

 

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This poem came streaming out of me after I finally let go of my fears and attended a writer’s conference.  I knew this was going to be a big step towards fulfilling my destiny, and that once I entered, and crossed the threshold, there was no turning back!

 

The pictures here are hummers visiting the garden this year…they represent pure bliss and joy!

 

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

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I leave you with a few additional words about taking back a life.  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: And So I Wait

And So I Wait

 

 

The waves crash in on me

and swallow me up.

Grief washing over my heart

and pulling me deeper into

the abyss of my profound sorrow.

 

 

And as I drown in this place

of never ending tears,

there is a void where I feel nothing….

Nothing but a stabbing pain where my heart used to beat.

 

 

The sun shines, but I only feel the cold shadow.

I wander aimlessly.

And I stand still not sure what I seek,

but maybe a way out of this dark hole.

 

 

But there is no escape,

only sad eyes cried dry.

And when the next wave hits

with a ferocious slam,

I am once again knocked to the ground

to start the drowning all over again.

 

 

And so I wait for the waves of tears to subside,

for the cries of anguish to lessen,

for the lump in my throat to release

allowing me to breathe precious air.

 

 

And so I wait for a break,

a peace, some solace~

          and so I wait

and so I wait….

 

For there is nothing else

              I can do as I try to go on

                with the loss of you.

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2017

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This is the third poem I wrote when my Aunt Mary died recently (July 3rd).  She was laid to rest this past week, and the grief was back.  Loss is so difficult to deal with, but I have learned that I just need to allow the emotions to flow.  And grief always seems to come at me in waves.  I am doing better these days so perhaps some peace is coming.  You can read my tribute post to my aunt on my other blog.

 

I am joining  Poets United for their Poetry Pantry linkup.

 

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I leave you with a another image about loss.  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: A Most Extra-Ordinary Life

 

 

A Most Extra-Ordinary Life

 

 

Though your smile fades from this place

it shines deep inside of me and all

who have known you, loved you.

 

 

Your life’s breath, extinguished here on Earth,

now a forever light that burns brighter through me,

around me and into the ethos.

 

 

I quiet to hear the faint whispers of your voice

telling of a passion for life;

your legacy I now embrace.

 

 

And I will sing your song to capture it forever;

to share it in these words, in a smile,

or a hug or a deed most kind.

 

 

As tears splash this page, they are joyful

celebrating the ordinary life of a most extra-ordinary woman~

whose greatest gift is enduring love.

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2017

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This poem is a remembrance for my Aunt Mary who passed away July 3rd.  A dear friend said to me that dwelling on missing her would only bring sadness and depression….but celebrating her light would bring me solace and peace.  I liked that idea and this poem came to me the next day.  You can read my tribute post to my aunt here.

 

I am joining  Poets United for their Poetry Pantry linkup.  July 12th was my 3rd blog anniversary….what an amazing 3 years of creativity it has been.

 

The picture at the top is of my Aunt Mary with a few sweet peas, snapdragons and lavender.  The vase below is more of these same sweet flowers.

 

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I leave you with a another image about an extra-ordinary life.  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.

Still On A Break…

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Poetry Sunday-Inner Critic

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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

 

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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.

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

 

 

 

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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

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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

 

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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.

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

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

Poetry Sunday-Box Full of Darkness

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Box Full of Darkness

 

 

I open this box again.

Its dark demons still survive there.

The bruises, the slaps, the cuts-

Pain still runs deep in the scars.

 

 

You told someone recently you remembered me fondly.

And my snort of derision was a surprise.

Maybe a slap back.

But this ‘box full of darkness’ has risen again.

 

 

No longer all neatly wrapped and stored in the attic of my heart,

Where it had burned a hole.

White hot with searing anger,

With anguish and betrayal.

 

 

And as I gaze upon this box, I know it is never forgotten.

But it no longer defines me.

Abused, Used, Victim!

No this box I hold, shows me I am a survivor.

I have risen.  Strong of heart, shame resilient.

 

 

And while I may feel some residual pain,

And a tear may appear at the corner of my eye,

This box, oh this holy, blessed box is your gift to me.

One you never knew you gave me,

Perhaps the only one you ever gave me.

 

 

And so I keep this ‘box full of darkness’

Neatly wrapped in the attic of my heart,

Where now it holds a special place on the altar of my soul.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

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“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” ~Mary Oliver

 

I read this quote some time ago, but could not wrap my brain around it.  How could darkness be a gift?  And then when I was doing some inner work, something happened to bring the quote’s meaning home.

 

So as the ah-ha moment penetrated, I wrote this poem.  A victim of domestic abuse from decades ago, the poem is based on these painful memories.  And they have not, nor will they ever be forgotten or define me.  I have forgiven, and moved on…..and this beautiful box full of darkness is now not something that holds me down or holds me back.  No, instead it has freed me.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up, Poetry Pantry, for poets who blog, and with Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  This week’s theme is “Passion makes the world go round”.  Although this is a painful and dark poem, it is dealing with subjects passionate to my heart….forgiveness, letting go, resilience and healing.  All important things happening in my life right now that I am passionate about on my journey.

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

box full of darkness

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: Dear Rest

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Dear Rest:

 

 

How sweet it is has been to make your acquaintance.  For years, Sleep and I were great friends, but then I let Stress take her place.  And without Sleep, I was doomed to health issues.  But oh Rest you know this all too well, don’t you?

 

 

So I had to tell Stress to back off as he was smothering me.  But Sleep has not yet forgiven me, I fear.  And our relationship cannot be the same, it seems.  But I found you dear Rest.  And I realized even though Nap and I don’t usually get along, I have you to help me heal.

 

 

Rest, you come to me wearing many costumes, engaged in many scenarios.  Sometimes in PJs, we do nothing but watch an old movie….such sweet bliss.  And in our most comfortable yoga pants, you envelop me dear Rest, as we sit together in nature drinking in all that surrounds us.  Or under our garden hats, digging in the soft earth, picking a flower or pulling a weed….yes you are beside me, dear one.  There are times, too, that I just need to have you close by, as I breathe slowly and deeply in the moment.

 

 

Oh, there are so many sides to your personality, dearest Rest.  And I am enjoying getting to know each one intimately!

 

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

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Each April I participate in a month long challenge from Susannah Conway called, April Love; extending love and kindness to ourselves.  And each day in April we were challenged to write love letters given a specific topic.

 

 

I enjoyed writing these letters.  But had no idea that I would use some as poems, until I read, Rosemary’s Blog, where she talked about the Poetry of Letters:

 

Did you know that there is a category of poems called “epistolary poems,” that the Academy of American Poets describes this way:  “Epistolary poems, from the Latin “epistula” for “letter,” are, quite literally, poems that read as letters. As poems of direct address, they can be intimate and colloquial or formal and measured. The subject matter can range from philosophical investigation to a declaration of love to a list of errands, and epistles can take any form, from heroic couplets to free verse.”

 

And once I read this, I knew I would transform some of my Love Letters into these epistolary poems.  I hope you enjoy these poems that I will post at least once a month.  The pictures here are of places I love to Rest.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, with Gillena@verses for her Monday WRites meme and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  This week’s theme is REST!

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I leave you with a few additional words about Dear Rest.  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, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Finding The Compassion We Need

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“Today I began to criticize myself and look at myself with a judgmental eye… but then instead of going all out in that direction, I stopped and I began to understand me. And then I began to be patient with me. And then I began to feel a softness in the middle of my chest. So then I concluded that I can understand and be patient with me, just like how I am always understanding and being patient with everyone else. Why? Because I deserve that, and more.”

C. JoyBell C.

 

 

Recently I was able to participate in two online courses about self-compassion.  Even though I felt that I had made great strides in this area, when both of these courses almost simultaneously hit my Inbox, I thought I would explore this topic a bit more.

 

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Surprisingly at first, I encountered all sorts of resistance within.  But this only confirmed, I needed more work on self-compassion, and  I knew I was going to learn more about this very important topic.  As the above quote says we deserve understanding, patience and above all else love.  And not from outside ourselves….no we must seek that love inside first.

 

 

In life we all face circumstances that are difficult to handle…challenges like the death or illness of a loved one….pressures at work or of losing a job.  Busy schedules where we try to juggle more than is humanly possible.  And with these trials, we also find failure.  All of these can seem to happen at once until we fall into a heap thinking we can’t handle much more.

 

 

DSCN4421And what I have discovered in these impossible moments, is that I need to turn inward, and tap into my hidden reserves.  What powers these reserves, and allows us to survive?  Quite simply it is love.  Not just love from others, but love of ourselves….really the most important gift we can give to ourselves and others.  For when we love ourselves, the tribulations of life can seem to melt away, and our capacity to love others increases tenfold.

 

 

One of the most important things we can do when building our self-compassion, is to identify the barriers to love we have created.  For me the need for perfection used to bog me down.  Starting from childhood, and on into my adult life, I would berate myself for making, what I viewed as, stupid errors.  I have had a long history of putting myself down that was perpetuated by some well meaning adults and teachers who continually pointed out my mistakes.

 

 

DSCN4542Changing an answer on a final that resulted in a grade of 98 instead of 100% would put me in a tailspin where I would call myself ‘stupid’, say ‘how I knew better’…’what was wrong with me’…and causing me to obsess on this mistake for months.  Nothing was acceptable to me but perfection.

 

 

And there were other thoughts and emotions that built up barriers causing more negative talk.  The list can be endless:  resistance, worry, fear, self-doubt, procrastination and frustration to name a few that have plagued me.  I have worked hard over the past 5 years or so to break through these self-imposed barriers.

 

 

DSCN4478What did I do?  It really is quite simple, and a bit brave, if I say so myself.  I recognize these moments where I engage in negative self-talk, and I stay in the moment with them….I feel them, where they reside in my body, and then I give myself a bit of self-love.  I tell myself, out loud usually,  ‘I am doing the best that I can in this moment’.  Then I recognize that indeed I am doing my best….and I let go of the emotions tying me down.

 

 

Sometimes when I would rush and drop things or make a mess, I would look at why this was happening….and again this would require me to stop, focus and be in the moment.  It became easily apparent, that I was rushing because of time constraints or wanting to finish…. so I would tell myself to take it slow and be in the moment more.  And when I slowed, and focused, I would enjoy the task.

 

 

DSCN4664Each time I focused and stayed in the moment I sensed an easing of these negative emotions and self-talk.  There are many practices to help with this process, and I have learned some new techniques, from the courses I took recently.  I highly recommend Open Your Heart To You from Sandra@Always Well Within, and Self-Compassion taught by Kristin Neff & Brené Brown@Courageworks.  Check these courses out to see when they will be offered again.

 

 

We can easily turn our self-doubt around, and embrace our own inner love.  We just have to have a little courage to stay in the moment, and break through any barriers we have encased around our own hearts.  And you can start by smiling at yourself a bit more, and realizing that you deserve love too.  Speak to yourself as you would a good friend…..you wouldn’t berate them, right?  Give yourself a few words of encouragement by being your own best friend…..you will be amazed at what that self-compassion can do for you!

 

 

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How do you give yourself the love and compassion you need and deserve?

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of different purple irises that bloomed in my garden this spring.  In the Language of Flowers, they symbolize ‘Compliments to you’.  I can’t think of a better way to express self-compassion.

 

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I leave you with a few additional words self-compassion.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

self compassion

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 Creating a Sanctuary

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

~Bernard Berenson

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

Have you ever created a sanctuary for yourself?

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

sanctuary

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

Conversations in the Garden: On Perspective

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“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.

 

 

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

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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

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

~Helen Keller

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

Where do you find solace and healing?

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

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.

Shedding My Bark

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“Listen to the trees as they sway in the wind.

Their leaves are telling secrets.

Their bark sings songs of olden days as it grows around the trunks.

And their roots give names to all things.

Their language has been lost.

But not the gestures.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

 

 

 

A week ago, I wrote about finding the balance between the masculine and feminine sides of me.  Of embracing my feminine side more, and how it has served me well as I stay in touch with this softer me.

 

 

And I am reminded of this deeper, dreamier side as I gaze at my garden in early spring.  The trees stripped bare.  These tall, stalwart soldiers seem to be standing guard.  Strong, straight and unyielding, at times, to even the strongest winds.

 

 

But if I look closer, I see that trees cannot survive if they are unbending, and too stiff.  If
DSCN4123they cannot be flexible, they break under the wild winds, and heavy bitter snow.  It is their ability to remain loose and shed their bark, that makes them stronger.

 

 

And like a tree, I grow from Mother Earth with strong roots reaching deep down into the enriching soil.  Creating a strong foundation to draw from in time of need.  To allow layer upon layer of bark to grow as it is needed for protection.  And when that bark is no longer needed, it is stripped away letting the next layer grow to accommodate the growth in me.

 

 

Recently, I found I needed to throw off the bark that had been protecting me for so long.  It felt as if it were strangling me, not allowing for the changes coming.  A need was growing to let go of what was no longer serving me.  And allow this new strength, I was finding in the softer side of me, to begin to grow.

 

 

DSCN3640I had been asked to testify at a hearing regarding work issues.  I had been gone for over a year, and wanted no reminders of my old work experiences.  Of reliving the stress.  But without a choice, I was forced to make the 2 hour trip twice.

 

 

I had forgotten so much of my job, in such a short time, which was telling.  I was hiding from much of this excruciatingly stressful time.  When I worked for a bully in a toxic atmosphere.  It felt almost surreal to recount the work….the sometimes humiliating treatment of my superior.

 

 

And if that wasn’t enough, I had to endure the ridiculous, overbearing and intimidating questioning by one lawyer in particular.  Not for any real purpose, but to try to rattle me, and waste time in order to have time to prepare for subsequent testimony by others.  To say it was a total waste of my time would not be correct.  Hopefully my testimony would help others.  And I know it helped me.

 

 

As I went through the experience, I found I could draw upon my foundational strength, still flowing deep in my roots.  DSCN6904And I kept my head about me.  Not drawn into the aggressive, assertive, tense me of old.  But now a calmer, cooler head prevailed.  And when it was done, a release was felt through out my mind and body.

 

 

I was able to shed the bark of the past.  No longer having to use the strategies of old.  I could feel an evolution unfolding inside of me as I followed my intuitive side.  A swelling of new growth, bending and yielding as the winds of this situation blew about me.  And I knew at once I was home in this new place.  This new Yin of me.  And when I returned home, it was time to get busy, and start my journey along this new passage….to the softer side of me….feeling stronger than ever.

 

 

Have you experienced a shedding of your outer bark?  What new lessons are you learning?

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of old, 80 foot trees growing in my garden.  The stump at the beginning of the post is of an ash tree that suddenly fell in the garden one day.  It had become too brittle to yield to the prevailing winds.  I thought it perfectly summed up the post.

 

 

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

trees

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.