A Heavy Heart


“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have—life itself.” ~Walter Anderson


I have come to recognize the tell tale signs of grief.  They sneak up on me and cast me down into an abyss that I struggle to climb out of.  It has been happening for the last 16 years since my father died.  They are momentary lapses into sadness for no apparent reason.  And luckily these melancholy moods don’t last as long as they once did.


It is hard for me to deal with grief because my dad was the one I could talk to when I was heart broken over the loss of a pet or a relationship.  Or when there was a tragedy in the world and I was at a loss as to how this senseless act could have happened.  He knew I took these sorrows hard.  That my heart would shatter into a million pieces because I wore that heart out on my sleeve for all to see.  I loved completely, and so the loss was also as complete.


I had not intended to write this post.  I actually had two other topics I was wavering between, but I just couldn’t write them.  Something was blocking me, and it needed to be let loose.  I really had no idea what was going on with me just that I was in a very low place.  And then it became clear what was happening as those tell tale signs appeared again.


DSCN1597With the recent happenings in the world I am feeling very vulnerable.  Feelings of great sadness seem to bubble up at strange times causing me to withdraw or hide inside myself.  And I know these actions will not help, but for now all I can muster is to lean in again and let the tears flow and the love pour out into the universe hoping it will have an effect.


I am fighting the urge to curl up and just stay numb, not even venturing out into my garden which at least usually brings me some sort of solace.  And I can hear my father’s words helping me fight my way back….I can feel his strong arms hold me up, and I draw upon the strength of loved ones whose mere offering of a hug are sometimes just enough to bring back the smile and light my heart again.


The key for me at this moment is to appreciate life itself.   Yes it seems the most important thing to feel right now.  Sharing my hope for peace, treating others with kindness, spreading loving thoughts and actions out into the world help keep me strong…keep me resilient.  These actions are helping me move on and heal….and maybe in my doing of these seemingly trivial things the world will heal a little more too.  At least I hope it will….it is all I have at this moment.


Special Note:  The marigolds pictured above represent grief.  Such a sunny flower that somehow brings me solace.


The picture below is my gift to you this week.  These words helped me know that we must keep the love going…after all as the Beatles said so many years ago,

“All you need is love….love is all you need.”



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


Living From Happiness


“Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.” ~Chuang-Tse


I don’t know when it all started, but for a very long time I was not a happy person…or should I say I could not maintain any sort of happy feeling for very long.  My happiness was a barometer that measured how things were going in my life.  It came and went with relationships, jobs, family issues, you name it.  It was just beyond my grasp where I only felt it for brief moments. Happiness would slip away as quickly as it came, hidden, masked, covered up somewhere replaced with long periods of sadness.


What a horrible way to live…glass half empty and draining fast.  Of course I numbed myself with many things especially sugar and carbs.  I bought things that I thought would make me happy.  I stayed super insanely busy so I didn’t have to deal with or feel life.  All of this didn’t serve to make me happy, but added to my sadness.  Until a very wise man and healer said to me six years ago, that I was killing myself and that I had the power to stop it.


But it can be impossible to stop a runaway train, once it has a head of steam and it is careening downhill.  And that was how my life was feeling.  My health began  to unravel with the stress of work and life so I said enough, I am done.  It was time for a change.  Time to jump off and either get a new job or retire and start a new career.   For me the decision was clear; it was time to retire.  But knowing when it is the right time and getting up the courage to jump is the hardest part.  There is a tremendous amount of doubt and fear with a change such as this.


So in these past several months of retirement, with time and the continual support of those closest to me, I began to see glimmers of light around the edges of my life.   I was beginning to recover from the crazy ride.  And now that I wasn’t speeding through life anymore, I suddenly saw my surroundings clearly.  Life was front and center and I was breathing that slow steady breath that connects you to your deep core.  A light suddenly switched on, and I had one of those big aha moments.


DSCN0821So what did I discover.  Happiness is not something you can seek because you already have it.  It is waiting inside of us.  Waiting for us to connect to it.  But what is the secret code for accessing this inner joy?  The big shift came when I truly began feeling and expressing gratitude daily both in spoken and written word.  And it was not until I began writing it down every day, that I had my lifeline.  It sounds too simple, I know, but it isn’t.  Not really.  It does take a bit of time and practice.  And some patience.  But it is there waiting to be rediscovered.  That sense that you can live your life from your inner happiness.


Now not every day is great, and I have my sad moments because lets face it that is life.  But I no longer dwell in the sad places.  And when I need to connect more to that light, I spend time with things that give me a boost….I read for pleasure, I watch nature right outside my window, I spend time among the flowers and veggies in my garden, I cook from scratch and try new recipes, I talk with loved ones who are so far away….so many things that keep me engaged with happiness.  Each of us accesses happiness in our own way through our own life lines so the key is to find your access points.


Another boost for me is writing.  I had been toying with the idea of writing another blog for a while now.  But I kept thinking am I ready?  Is this the right step?  But I knew deep inside it was the right time and place to start anew when word came that Vision and Verb would be shutting down.


And here it is…the end of that lovely experience on Vision and Verb where my voice suddenly and clearly was present.  It had found an outlet and it was not to be silenced.  And now it will continue on this blog where it can grow and expand with me as I run, walk, skip, plod and sometimes crawl down this path.  This blog is my conscious effort to open to the flow of happiness and share stories, conflicts, challenges and creativity with you as these have all led me to find my inner joy.


I hope you will join me here every Thursday as I share my stories, the stories of others through their blogs and books, and share how I am expanding my happiness through new outlets of creativity.

I leave you with a special saying and photo that I hope you will save and use.



Special Note:  The yellow of the flowers means optimism, happiness, hope.

The heliopsis in the top picture are said to be the happiest of flowers, and in the language of flowers they symbolize loyalty and constancy.



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



Just a short little post to say hello and welcome to my new blog.  I will be writing once a week on Thursdays about things that make me happy and inspire me.  I hope you will pop in and be part of the conversations.


And why did I pick the name, Living From Happiness?


I have found my life is so much better when I live from happiness with gratitude rather than living for happiness.


“When you’re happy for no reason, you bring happiness to your outer experiences rather than trying to extract happiness from them. You don’t need to manipulate the world around you to try to make yourself happy. You live from happiness, rather than for happiness.”

– Marci Shimoff