Conversations In The Garden- On Awareness


A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.

~Leonard Nimoy



My mom is now in the winter of her life.  At 83, her body is shutting down, and she is in need of more assistance in her basic daily living skills.  It has been a traumatic journey for her recently, and given me much on which to pause and reflect.



DSCN0389I think about all she has given me over the years.  I was a sickly child, with asthma from the time I was born.  I almost died of pneumonia when I was one, and was in and out of hospitals from a very early age.  I had every childhood disease imaginable.  And in all that time, my mom never complained, and never once wasn’t there for me.



And now in her most vulnerable time, I try to be there with comforting words.  To give her guidance, to talk about her day, every day I can even though I am almost 3000 miles away.



And I think about my own mortality, now more than ever before.  How much time I have left here on this earth, in this body.  How long will it continue to allow me to do and think about the things I love….even the everyday things like walking, eating, breathing.



DSCN0384As I think about all this, I am drawn back to the Wabi-Sabi principles I learned about in January, in particular Principle 6:  Accept the inevitable.  Life is evanescent.  Before we know it another day has gone by, and then another month and another year….and then more years than we care to think about.




So if life is so fleeting, what can we do to not let it pass us by?  I think this is why I have been in a ‘noticing’ frame of mind recently.  To experience each moment….be present, be aware of my surroundings.  Really look, and deeply listen.  And especially become aware of myself.  Observing how I feel, what I am doing, how I am reacting to my life.  What choices I am making.  What might I want to change or do with my life right now.



DSCN0485And I have found great freedom in this noticing.  I find I am free now to do what I want…whatever that might be.  I am still discovering, even now in my life, that new paths are always showing themselves to me if I can be more aware.



Winter is a great time to reflect on our lives.  This past winter was a brutally cold one.  One that wore on with endless days of piles of snow unrelenting, and a frigid, bone chilling wind that never ceased to howl.  And under all that snow was a garden about to come to life again.  But for a long time though this winter, all I could see were my memories of it as it was held frozen below the landscape of white.



DSCN0516And if I take any lessons from this winter, it is this season will pass and be replaced by a new season, a new path, a new time, a new memory.  As I sit with the window cracked listening to the last of winter’s winds blow through the barren trees, I smell the change it is bringing.



And I hear the birds once again singing in a new season….rejoicing for this new time that is at hand.  A time to celebrate the beauty of what was, and what is to come.  A new garden to be born with new memories to be made.  My life, still before me each new day lived to its fullest.  The possibilities are endless when we are aware, in the moment.  




I am sharing this life and garden lesson with Beth@PlantPostings for her wonderful Garden Lessons Learned meme.  I hope you will join her.





Note:   All these images, of my garden, were taken this February during our brutal winter.  Even in its bitter cold and snow, there was beauty to be found.  The last photo is of my early spring garden last year.



The quote, at the beginning of the post, is the last Tweet Leonard Nimoy made a few days before he died.  I found it inspiring, thoughtful, and in his honor as Mr. Spock, “fascinating”.  May we all, “Live long and prosper”.






I leave you with another thought about aging, acceptance and life.  Feel free to download this photo and share.


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.

End Of Month Potpourri-January 2015


“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” ~Pema Chodron



I had been toying with this idea of have a monthly post that really could be about anything.  Perhaps a conversation with an author, or a book review, a group of photos dealing with a subject that caught my fancy…really the sky’s the limit.  So I aptly named it Potpourri, which can mean any mixture, especially of unrelated objects, subjects, etc.  And coming at the end of the month I named it, End of Month Potpourri.



DSCN8533No pressure trying to find subject matter here.  Just connect with the flow, and what moves me at the time.  Trusting that it will all come together.  And so for this first post it has done just that.  There are photos of some winter scenes that fit a current topic I am studying along with an interview of sorts that follows up nicely with my personal poem from Sunday, Timeless Images.



After a virtual retreat of sorts with a wonderful group of women, I decided to join many of these same women in what is called, Women’s Circle of Joy.   The group is led by, Cigdem Kobu of Peaceful Triumphs.  Check out her website and the Circle as it is not too late to join.



DSCN8500Our first big topic this month has been the concept of  wabi-sabi.    I had heard of wabi-sabi, but honestly had no real idea of what it encompassed.  In essence it is a Japanese idea of the acceptance all things as impermanent, imperfect and incomplete (these are 3 of the seven principles of wabi-sabi).  And that beauty is found in this world of the impermanent, imperfect, incomplete.   Another principle is that of  greatness found in the subtle overlooked details instead of the majestic.  We just have to be still and patient in order to see it.  Something I have been doing in my garden this past year.



It has been fascinating trying to wrap my brain around some of these principles.  And this idea of wabi-sabi, really isn’t too far away from my current view of my life and the world around me.  Take the pictures in this post.  They are of recent scenes right outside my window.  Snow changes the landscape and adds a subtle beauty because it is impermanent.  And what better representation of imperfect than seedheads of flowers long gone.



DSCN8732Recently, I was given the distinct honor of being awarded recognition for my new blog by a reader Julie@Gardening Jules.  Now in the past I usually shied away from accepting awards, but I have changed my mind these days.  When someone praises my work, I try to acknowledge that praise.  So in going with the flow, I am accepting this award.  Thanks Julie!



It is called the Leibster Award, given by bloggers to other bloggers to say, ‘hey I like what you do.’  Now there are rules, but I am one to sometimes make my own rules.  You have to answer questions posed by the blogger and then choose 5 blogs you want to pass the award along to with questions you pose to them.  I thought answering Julie’s questions would be fun as you can always learn so much about other bloggers this way.  But I am unsure who I might give this award to as it is for newer blogs, and most of the blogs I would nominate have already been nominated.  So I reserve the right to perhaps do some interviews of bloggers I would like you to meet, in a few future Potpourri posts.




Here are the questions Julie posed to me….



1. Do you encourage wildlife to your garden?


Absolutely I do.  I have been revamping my garden to make it into a habitat for wildlife.  You can read about that in my Wildlife Lesson posts, on the first Thursday of the month, and in my Gardens Eye View blog.  I think it important that we share our space in a way that is mutually beneficial and does no harm.



2. Do you grow organically and use natural methods?


That is the only way I garden, eat and live.  I have found my health is better, the planet is better and my garden grows better using these methods.



3. Any tips for recycling plastic?


That is hard as we have laws here where we have to recycle our plastic and even pay a deposit of 5 cents on each bottle of water.  It encourages people to return them to get the deposit back.  But instead of using plastic containers and bottles, I use a modern stainless steel thermos for water, and glass containers more and more in which to store food.



4. Any recommendations for flowers to arrange in your home?


Grow as many flowers as you can, both annuals and perennials.  Use foliage from bushes, trees, groundcovers and plants.  Grow bulbs indoors during winter.  And don’t forget seedheads, twigs and dried grasses.  I think any plant material you arrange is beautiful and can be very wabi-sabi especially with those twigs and seedheads.



5. Have you tried edible flowers?


I sure have.  I love pansies, chive flowers, nasturtiums and borage flowers.  I hope to try more flowers this year.  My favorite so far is nasturtiums.



6. A favourite fruit recipe?


I am simple when it comes to fruit.  I like it fresh and plain.  I will bake apples sometimes with cinnamon.  And I love to add fruit to salads.



7. A favourite vegetable recipe?


Currently I am enjoying roasted veggies and veggies in soup especially winter squash and root veggies.  I also posted a favorite veggie recipe on my garden blog last month.  And I’ll have a veggie soup recipe, on February’s Journal post, the first Monday in February.



8. Do you like to create anything other than flower arrangements using natural materials?


I have never been too crafty so my answer is no.  But I would love to try a few new ideas once I see any that move me to create.  Of course if I stretch this a bit, I do create photos using natural materials as subjects…I know….I told you it is a stretch.



9. How do you feel about growing natives or non natives?


I am passionate about growing natives and they are essential for creating a thriving, diverse habitat for wildlife.  I continue to learn about them, and incorporate them in the redesigns of my gardens.  But I also still love my herbs, roses and other non-native flowers as long as they are not harmful.  I got rid of all my Buddleia because they were invasive here, and I had hundreds of seedlings yearly everywhere that I did not want growing in the woods that are protected behind me.  I even had some coming up last year and it has been about 4 years since I got rid of them.



10. Any recommendations for an unusual fruit or vegetable that is good to eat?


I like fresh grown fruits and veggies so I can’t think of anything too terribly unusual.  We have been growing different colored veggies like purple carrots and golden beets.  Both are tasty and a milder flavor of the original.



11. Do you have a good view from your home?


We bought the land because we have a protected wild area behind us.  And I designed the garden so we could see it from all the windows in the back of the house where we spend the most time.  You can see the meadow, wildlife, gardens and pond from the house.  So I think it is a fantastic view for a suburb.


But you judge for yourself….here is one view you can currently see from inside looking out at part of the back garden.




So there you have it some photos, some thoughts on wabi-sabi and my interview for the Leibster Award.  A true potpourri.  Thanks again Julie and I promise to do some interviews here to make up for the 5 blogs not nominated at this time.



Note:   All these images, of my garden, were taken in the month of January from inside the house.




I leave you with another thought about perfection and imperfection, one of the principles of Wabi-Sabi.  Feel free to download this photo and share.


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.