Finding The Productive Path


“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”  ~ Steve Jobs



I am a couch potato by nature meaning I enjoy just sitting.  Sitting and and reading.  Or sitting and glancing out my windows at the gardens and nature around me.  And I love to sit and watch old classic movies from the 1930s and 40s.  It is my ultimate escape from work, worry and engagement with others.  I use it as a numbing technique when I am overwhelmed or need to shut myself off.


And since retiring, I have found I needed that numbing for a while.  A cocoon to encase myself as I healed and rested.  Being a workaholic for so many years, it would seem it would be hard to sit still.  But not so.  It was easy to fall into the habit.  Not have an agenda.  Not have any set ambition for the days, the months ahead.


Oh yes I had my garden blog and I had big plans for my garden, but life intervened and my health issues forced me to rest more than I had planned….No you are not going to go out and spend hours, days and weeks beating up your body to make-over gardens.….They are not ready, you are not ready.  So this was what I was relegated to do…just sit.


DSCN4201So I did just what my body told me to do for 5 months initially.  Then this summer, I broke free a little and allowed myself to explore more with photography.  And I started this blog as a vehicle to continue the exploration, the creative endeavors and the healing.  But I never stopped mostly sitting and observing.


It had become part of me this waiting and looking.  This quiet time to see deeply into the landscape of my gardens and my soul.  To see what would be the productive path.  What I want to do and love to do, not wishing for a different life or hoping things would change.  But a deep knowing this was what I wanted to do now.


And there will come a time soon when I will be ready to move on again.  To add the next steps in my journey.  But developing the habit of waiting, looking and now intuitively knowing has been more productive than any other work I could have done.  It is the lesson of slowing down I had not been able to master.


Now not just “busying” up my day, but following what the heart and soul desires.  Floating through the day like a butterfly searching for the sweet nectar.  Then alighting there to drink it in until full.  Moving only when the sun sets, to start again the next day to find my next source…my desire.  It can be anywhere you know as long as you take time to sit and look for it.  And I will know it as it waits for me to follow along again floating on the wind.



Note:  Goldenrod means encouragement in the Language of Flowers.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I leave you with another thought about living a full life.  Feel free to download the photo and share.


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.

18 Replies to “Finding The Productive Path”

  1. Donna, this was so beautifully written. I just love it. I know I am a couch potato, and while you spend time reading, I’m spending my time on the computer. I would probably be better off reading. I have lots of good intentions, but somehow I’ll walk by the computer and there it is calling me to check on something.
    I’ve also gone through the “numbing period’. I really think that’s good because it allows you to clear your head and re-focus where you want to go. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Oh Sue it makes me feel good to know another couch potato. I also spend lots of time on the computer but more for what I call “work” at this point…maybe fun too! I agree we need some numbing time to help recharge and refocus.

  2. I’m impressed with the self-knowledge you’ve shown in allowing yourself to heal and taking whatever time was necessary. There are no rules. I watched my husband on the porch swing, just thinking and reading, after years of being beat up by the Intel philosophy of using people up. He gave them enough of his life. You seem to have an intuitive sense of watching yourself during the day to see where the energy flows. That is the gift of an artist. It also takes a lot of down time at first to know our own natural rythyms, (sp!?!) what we do when no one is watching, how we flow with our day. And if this winter, you are a couch potato, then so be it! Things are brewing in there….of that I’m sure.

    1. Oh you are so sweet to me Susie. I know my brain is always going…now my soul is getting a voice. And the slowness of the day is a wonderful tonic. I am trying to find my natural rhythms – ugh I can never spell this word without spell check- 🙂 And those rhythms are finally starting to find me now. It will be interesting going through my first fall and winter in retirement.

  3. I asked myself the Steve Jobs question as soon as I read it. For much of my life I would have said No. A wave of gratefulness swept over me when I answered Yes. My husband says taking naps is my hobby, but really it is giving myself a quiet interlude. I need them to function well, emtionally, cognitively and physically. Elders are considered wise for a reason, it is because we understand the deeper truths in life.

    1. That is good news Susan. I know before my retirement I would have answered No which is why I needed to retire. I am also learning to take a few naps. Not a napper usually, but I might get to like it.

  4. I’ve always been a person who needed time for quiet and reflection. As a child, I was so good at escaping into a good book that my mother forbade access to my books until I had finished my chores. Walking has also provided time for quiet and solitude since childhood. The walking partner, ear buds or cell phone conversation while walking are not for me; I want my mind totally free to wander. I almost never turn on the television just to channel surf and see what’s on; I make an occasion of sprawling on the couch with hot tea, an after-dinner sweet and a favorite television program or movie. Time for reflection strikes me as one of the gifts of this stage of life. Like you, I’m not in any hurry to fill all that time up with things to keep me busy.

    1. Jean I love learning how others relax and reflect. I am finally getting back to walking which I love for quiet time alone too although my husband needs to get out so I am bringing him along now. Like you I escaped to books as a child and was frequently found under the covers with a flashlight. I don’t often channel surf either, but I have certain things I will watch like old movies.

      I crave those alone times for reflection and I love the idea of it is a gift. I still have to fill in your sentences from your latest blog post and will get to that tomorrow, promise. I wanted to ruminate about it a while.

  5. There are a lot of that are happy to “sit”. I love to read and to daydream. I don’t get bored. I have found that since I now work only a few hours a week that I have to have a little more discipline with my free time. There are little things like housework and laundry, and the like, that still need to be done. Still, I am quite happy with my quiet life. Enjoy your new freedom to be who you want to be.

  6. yes. It took me a long time to be aware of these things. Now it is the way I live my life. I think one needs to reach a certain age before figuring all of that out. It does seem a shame that it takes so long though.

  7. Oh, Donna, I love this post so much, especially the part about learning to wait and intuitively know, and not “busying” up your day. The Quakers would call it “not outrunning your Guide” — not letting your busy brain drown out what your soul tells you about right direction and timing. Beautiful.

    1. Stacy I am so pleased you liked this post. It was one of many that just flowed as my soul spoke to me. And I love how you equated it to what the Quakers say similarly; “not outrunning your Guide”. Perfection!!

Comments are closed.