Poetry Sunday: The Landscape is Erased

 

The Landscape is Erased

 

In this late fall the sounds abate,

with distant twitters across a garden gate.

 

 

Long gone is the sound of rustling leaves,

an eerie silence sets the stark scene.

 

 

In the quiet of the garden that must relent,

all that remains is the wind’s lonely lament.

 

 

And the rhythm of the rain is sadly replaced,

with an icy, white sheen as the landscape is erased.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 


I started this poem late last fall when winter started.  And this past week, winter has come too early with 3 storms in a row and 2 feet of snow with frigid temps in the teens and 20s…..making me lament for a bit more fall as we have had very little.

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


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

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

Poetry Sunday: The Waiting Game

 

 

The Waiting Game

 

 

Sitting in the airport

waiting for the plane,

Where is the pilot-

here we go again.

 

 

Waiting for the shuttle,

where are we to go,

Does the driver know the way-

unfortunately, no!

 

 

Waiting for a meeting,

will it be starting soon.

Three hours later and no word yet,

oh lord, it’s almost noon.

 

 

Waiting at the grocery store,

waiting in this line.

Do I really need these items,

my patience is out of time.

 

 

Now the traffic stops again,

I sit and ruminate.

Six lanes going nowhere fast

so I wait, and wait and wait!

 

 

It seems with all this technology,

all the ways to go,

We are not really moving anywhere,

except at a snail’s pace, slow!

 

 

So what to do with all this time,

of waiting and nowhere to go?

 I’ll just make up this little poem,

and remember to just go with the flow.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 

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I wrote this poem a few years ago while waiting a full day to testify in a labor case for a former employer’s dispute.  It was frustrating waiting in a room for 6 hours with nowhere to go and no phone…..just a book and a pen and paper.

As I wrote it, I thought of all the times I have had to wait in long lines…..the end wasn’t quite developed but I was able to revisit the poem and find a perfect ending recently.

 

These pictures are from a recent trip waiting hours for flights….a perfect illustration!

 

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 The Waiting Game.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

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

Poetry Sunday: The Drought

 

The Drought

 

Clouds drift along in the blue-grey sky,

Words and phrases obscuring the sun.

Drifting in and out of my consciousness,

Not wanting to be captured on paper.

 

 

I am like the earth and sky

Seeking balance between rain and drought.

My heart knows when

It will be time to come home again.

 

 

Distracted at present-

A monarch floats into my line of sight,

While a hummingbird peeks through the window

To see only its reflection against the vast darkness.

 

 

For now I am content

To let the words drift among the clouds.

Soon enough they will meld into a storm, and

Rain down freely again, singing on the page.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 

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

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

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

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

Poetry Sunday: Dear Truth

 

Dear Truth

 

Dear Truth:

 

My goodness I was glad to see you!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

© Donna Donabella 2018

 

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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: Given Freely

 

Given Freely

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Smile given freely

No cost exacted save for

Soulful connecting

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Poetry Sunday: 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: 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: Outside The Box

 

 

Outside The Box

 

 

Soften the edges

Erase the boundaries

Ease out to see the light.

 

 

Release the strings

And drop the hard surfaces

Holding you in so tight.

 

 

Kick aside the rubble

Of your shattered dreams

That brought the darkness of the night.

 

 

Yes open to everything

Open to anything

Open to your frights.

 

 

Time to let go

And take those first steps

Time to take flight.

 

 

So step up and away

Breathe the new air

Of all possibilities that will delight.

 

 

Just move outside

That box you are bound to-

To find your exquisite, fulfilled life.

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Poetry Sunday: 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-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-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.

box collage

 

 

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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.

Fearless Living

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

~Pema Chödrön

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

fearless living

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

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.

Innovation in 2016

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

~T.S. Eliot

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

innovation

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

innovate wordle

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Do you have a word to guide you this year?

 

 

cosmos collage2

 

 

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

 

 

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

innovate2

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

Conversations in the Garden: Slowing The Pace

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“I have reached the stage now where luxury is not in fine possessions but in carefree possessions, and the greatest luxury of all would be the completely expendable.”

~Nan Fairbrother

 

 

At this time of year, the garden is making its final preparations for its annual slumber.  Each successive frost reminds the plants to stop growing and producing flowers.  Instead the plants begin to adjust their energies to their roots…a time to put all their focus below the soil and build up their resources now at the most basic level.  Where there is warmth and nourishment for growth.

 

 

Unlike in spring and summer, where the emphasis is on the outer growth of the plant….the leaves and flowers.  We work furiously in our gardens to prepare for the emergence of the plants.  We weed, cut back and remove impediments so we can celebrate each new bloom as it appears.  And then with the heat of summer, we sit on the front porch to cool ourselves and witness the beauty created before us…nature in all her glory.

 

 

I have spent many days, languishing in the shade of my porch and gazebo to observe the critters buzzing and chirping about.  To hear the gentle wind blow through the grasses, and watch it sway the multitude of flowers.  What sheer bliss.

 

 

DSCN4276But it seems with the coming of late fall and winter, we grieve for our gardens.  Nature lays waste to our precious masterpiece, wildlife retreats and we are left with cold, fierce winds and icy cold rain and snow.  We finish our garden chores and move indoors to find warmth, and a bit of relaxation.

 

 

But instead of kicking back, taking some deep breathes and going within to replenish ourselves, we seem to do just the opposite.  Our lives seem more hurried than when the plants were lush and the garden chores many.

 

 

I find myself impatient, sluggish, restless and frustrated.  Some of these feelings because I cannot be outside in my beloved garden and nature, but more because of the holiday season.  There is so much to do!

 

 

Cleaning, baking cooking, decorating, shopping, sending cards…ugh!  Not a holiday, where the word should conjure up rest, recreation, and freedom from work.  No, quite the opposite in fact.  The feeling of having to rush, rush, rush to get it all done before the holiday is here…not really getting a chance to enjoy the holiday season.  Instead it’s the annual race to finish it all and make it the best, brightest and prettiest holiday ever, takes charge!!

 

 

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Well I for one cannot do that anymore.  I have given it up.  Given up the cards…I send a few ecards to family.  No more baking except for one little dessert for a special meal.  I can’t have the sugar anymore anyway.  I have a faux tree already strung with lights...no judgments please.  I use a few decorations, and have purged the rest so I am not tempted to get them out and go through all the decorating hub-bub.

 

 

So why did I do all this.  Because it just wasn’t feeling like a holiday…the spirit of the winter season and Christmas holiday had somehow been lost.  When I should have been slowing my pace and enjoying, I was actually in high gear with too much anxiety and frustration over all the ‘Have To Do’ things….and it spilled over to family making their holiday less than pleasurable.

 

 

Now instead, I ‘get to do’ those things I love.  Yes I know many people cannot just chuck it all.  There are family traditions, children, grandchildren…but I do think we all need to find a bit of time for ourselves and for our own sanity.  You say you don’t have the time.  Well that is precisely when you need to find some time!

 

 

Start slow and with one thing.  Not sending as many cards perhaps.  Or holding back on some of the baking and decorating.  It really is an individual thing.  Look for those things that no longer give you joy, and start your purging there.  That is how I started.  And certainly keep those traditions you love.  They are important.

 

 

DSCN4277Cutting back on a one or two small things will allow you to slow your pace.  Giving you a needed break.  And did you know that if you slow down as you move through your holiday rituals, you will enjoy them more.  So take a cue from nature and her rhythms to slow down this time of year.  Savor the beauty of nature and the season.  The time spent with loved ones.  Give the gift of time to yourself to renew…get to know yourself and reconnect with your inner core to build your strength below the surface.  Allowing your body, mind and soul to grow again….finding that sheer bliss inside!

 

 

 

slow collage

 

So how do you slow down the pace right now and enjoy the winter and holiday season?  You can read more of my thoughts about winter in my posts, Winter’s Gifts and Winter’s Moods.

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures, in the first part of the post, were taken this year from my front porch.  The violas, I grew from seed, were a special view as they were planted in multiple vases.  The other views are of my gazebo.  Each of these pictures evokes a sense of relaxation for me.

 

 

 

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

slow

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-Adieu

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Adieu

 

 

As we begin our walk through autumn paths

take time to sit and watch the leaves turn;

hear them gently touch the ground in a whisper…adieu.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2011

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This continues my lament of Autumn now moving toward our cold, snowy winters which can show up even in November.  I am just buttoning up the garden in early November as the weather gets chilly, misty and gray.

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.

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

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures were taken in my garden this year at the end of October.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about Autumn as it heads to meet Winter.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

adieu

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 Perseverance

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

~Winston Churchill

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

teasel collage

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

on perserverance

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-Shadow Side

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Shadow Side

 

 

“Do you know your shadow side?”

She one day asked of me.

A perplexed expression held my face,

While hers was hard to see.

 

 

“It is not a place of uncertainty, or one of fear my love.

It is not an illusion, or a great mystery born in the night stars above.”

 

 

“No it is but a reminder, to show the way that is true.

To surrender, let go, lighting the path, the path laid out for you.”

 

 

“So fear not your shadow side my love, for it tells of great promises inside.

Embrace the darkness and set your shadows free with arms stretched open wide.”

 

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2015

 

 

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This poem came out of some inner exploring during a July retreat online.  I had never thought about my shadow side, and why it might be important.  And while it has negative connotations, I find it helps me to see the light, the positive in life and to help me connect with my intuition.

 

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.

 

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 my shadow taken last fall as I explored my garden that was going to sleep with winter’s icy kiss.

 

 

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

shadow side

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.