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.

59 Replies to “Living From Happiness”

  1. Donna,
    I am about to take that “leap” into retirement. I have been thinking about it for a couple of years but kept telling myself I would miss this or that about working. However, my job is not as satisfying as before… is no longer fun as the senior partner retired and now a clique has emerged of which I am not a part. I suddenly have realized that I am being paid to be bored and that is not a good reason to work. I work in an accounting office (administrative assistant) so my goal is to retire after next tax season. Just must get up the courage to say that out loud to those that need to know.
    I look forward to your continuing posts and commend you for your courage.
    Ginger Goolsby

    1. Thanks for your support here Ginger. I can understand cliques and paid to be bored…these also drove my decision as they just add to the dissatisfaction. I wish you much courage as you take the leap. As you say it out loud, it helps make it a reality. I actually put my letter in and was weeks from retirement and withdrew and stayed working. It solidified my need to retire. We each have our own path to retirement…listen to your intuition as it will speak loudly and show you the way. Keep me posted and start to plan out how you want your days to be, your relationships outside of work to solidify as these will replace those at work…these preliminary plans will help ease your way! Good luck Ginger!!

  2. Just lovely… I think sometimes that we try too much, in this life, to force happiness… and I also think it was never meant to be a permanent state. It’s part of life, as is sadness, and when we can revel in it (as you do here), acknowledge it, reach for it, that’s the best thing we can do.

    A lovely place here!

  3. I am just thrilled to join you here, have this new space bookmarked so I can keep up with your postings. That is an awesome image at the top!

  4. Hooray for new beginnings! I will look forward to your Thursday posts, to learning more about dwelling in happiness.

  5. SO glad to be here….i love your new digs!
    Bravo, braveheart, for creating something new and true to your
    beautiful heart:) Cheering wildly in your corner,

  6. Congratulations on taking the big leap!

    I, too, discovered the power of looking each day and noting what I was grateful for. It’s amazing how much it changed my attitude! Thank you for this reminder to keep doing it. I’m rapidly approaching 60, but I only recently realized that I have control over my emotions and can choose how I experience what happens to me!

    I’m looking forward to your weekly posts here…..

  7. Love the new site, Donna! So happy you found your ‘happy’! It is a process for sure. I found mine when I retired four years ago and married the love of my life. I could finally be me, totally, and I was finally supported in my creative pursuits. Wishing many, many years of expanding your happiness and loving every moment of it!

  8. What a beautiful spot, Donna. You’ve created another spot of loveliness and I’m happy to be visiting. Happy launch to you!

  9. Beautiful Donna…and congratulations! So exciting to see you sharing your journey. As I wrote – we have what we need within….and you definitely have the ability to choose happy anytime. Thank-YOU!!! xo

  10. I am so glad you found your voice and happiness. I loved every minute of my journey on Vision & Verb.

    I will be following your journey here 🙂

  11. Happiness is a choice that affects everything in our life. We can’t always control what happens every day but we have total control over how we react to it and the power we give to each circumstance. I love the positive step you’ve made towards finding what makes you happy. 🙂

  12. the pursuit of happiness is certainly a roller coaster! Good to hear how you are settling in to this next stage of your life with so much joy Donna – the flower combo is a well-blanced and beautiful mix of the light and dark

  13. A great read with one of the best reminders for a good life. A friend once told me, “You cannot have happiness without thankfulness.”

    I don’t know what is responsible for my change of attitude – either my own journey for good health and vitality, or possibly more maturity with a few more years under my belt. The things that can bring me joy now have no price tag. Sitting outdoors watching families of birds in my pine tree, with my feet in the grass and sunshine warming my skin… or reading a magical, imaginative story with my children… or if I’m energetic enough, preparing and cooking a meal with fresh, nutritious ingredients… throwing a glider airplane toy back and forth with my boys – it’s now these kinds of things that bring about a contentedness I’ve never reached before in my life.

    I’m looking forward to reading more, I signed up through my email. 🙂

    1. Oh Christie such wise words and a wonderful attitude as these are the things that matter most as you shared. I am so glad you will be along for the ride.

  14. Donna, you’ve created a beautiful place here and I’m already looking forward to reading what will come next.

    I like the difference between living for happiness and from happiness, there is big potential inside all of us for sure. Yet I think that we don’t need to be happy all the time and use the word happiness far two often. Many times we could replace it by “balance” and that would be much more appropriate.

    Good luck and plenty of inspiration along this new path! 🙂

  15. I’m intrigued by the distinction you’ve made here between living in happiness and looking for happiness. It’s not anything I ever thought of before, but as soon as I read it, I thought, “Yes, of course!” It took me back to a time in my own life when my marriage had recently ended and I was looking for happiness in the place that our culture says it is to be found — in another relationship. My search for happiness through love was making me miserable more often than it was making me happy. The breakthrough came when I took a solo camping trip rather than forgo a vacation because I didn’t have a partner/lover to take it with me. One day, I was sitting on the beach in one of the most beautiful places in the world feeling sorry for myself that I didn’t have anyone to share the beauty and suddenly realized that if someone had been with me, I would not have been attuned to all that beauty because I would have been feeling responsible for and worrying about whether the other person was enjoying it. Realizing that the joys and happiness of solitude are different from the joys and happiness of relationships, but no less real was the start of my transition from being an unhappy person looking for coupled love to being happily single. I’m loving this new blog, Donna.

    1. Jean your being here is so wonderful! It took me a long time to stop searching for happiness in relationships, but it took retirement to stop the continued search in my work…as we have both discovered it is not in any of these places! Thank you for sharing your story with me.

  16. Hi Donna, what a very interesting post and most definitely from the heart. Lots of food for thought. Love your new blog and I will be joining you here each week. Thank you so much!

    1. I am so happy you have stopped by Tatyana. I think a big part of the reason I started this blog is I learn from so many people who are kind enough to comment…thank you!!

  17. Hi Donna,

    I’m pleased to have discovered your blog today by linking from Sandra Pawula’s site.
    My eye was drawn to the word “happiness” since I”m currently writing on that topic too,
    but also I gravitated to your love of photography and exploration of retirement.

    Since retiring in 2007 I have explored a number of endeavors: writing, travelling,
    hosting a radio show, all with their lessons of life.

    Congratulations on your step into a new phase of life. Since you’ve already discovered
    that happiness is an inside job, I know you’ll continue to expand and bloom.

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