Inspired by change, challenge and creativity

Conversations In The Garden: On Creating a Sanctuary


“Who will free me from hurry, flurry, the feeling of a crowd pushing behind me, of being hustled and crushed? How can I regain even for a minute the feeling of ample leisure I had during my early, my creative years? Then I seldom felt fussed, or hurried. There was time for work, for play, for love, the confidence that if a task was not done at the appointed time, I easily could fit it into another hour. I used to take leisure for granted, as I did time itself.”

~Bernard Berenson



Many days I felt like this.  Hurried, hustled and bounced about.  Feeling time was running out, and I had accomplished little.  And even after I ticked everything off my To Do list, more was added instantaneously.  Never time for leisure, relaxation or rest.





I always dreamed of a safe haven away from the flurry of life….where I could go to get away even for 5 minutes to regain my sanity.  And when I thought about this place I saw the ocean or a meadow….flowers or a beach.  Each of these images are healing for me, and immediately ease my pain and renew my soul.




IMG_5627So when I designed the bones of my garden, I imagined flowers and water there in a special spot…and with it the sound of water.  It was clear that a pond would be the perfect spot to have water and flowers.  And that pond had to have a waterfall, so I could have the healing sound of water nearby, especially since I don’t live close to the ocean.





It was easy to decide where to place the pond….as close to the house as possible so we could have easy access, and hear the water flowing over the rocks.  Where I could sit on a large rock at its edge and look out over the garden of my soul…my sanctuary!





And once created, this place took on a magic all its own.  I discovered that my sanctuary was also a safe haven for others who wanted to share it with me.  They didn’t talk, they just hung out with me in the moment….they were my quiet solitude companions that added their song to sing me to sweet solitude and peace.





I am of course referring to the frogs, toads, birds and insects who also call the pond their home, and their sanctuary.  They bathe here, and give birth here.  And some have made this place their home too.  We commune and talk, but mostly we just sit in peaceful meditation marveling at how incredibly beautiful this place can be.





I look forward to every spring when we put the pump back in, and the pond stirs to life.  To see the tadpoles and frogs awake.  And the lily pads start forming on the surface, knowing the flowers will be along soon.  To watch the reflections in the water.  This is my heaven on earth….my special haven for healing.



Have you ever created a sanctuary for yourself?







Special Note:  The pictures here are of my pond in its first year of bloom.  While it is a bit overgrown these days, it is still my sanctuary, and beloved habitat for so many who share the garden with me.


I will be taking a week off, and will have another post next Thursday, the 26th!  It is a special day for me….



I leave you with a few additional words on creating a sanctuary.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.


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.

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  1. May 19, 2016    

    What an absolutely glorious place.
    A haven to ease a burdened heart and mind.
    Solace for the soul, and eye balm too.

  2. Debbie Debbie
    May 19, 2016    

    Your garden is so beautiful and peaceful looking. I love your quote. Thanks for sharing your beautiful inspirations.

    • May 19, 2016    

      And thank you Debbie for supporting me by reading and commenting.

  3. May 19, 2016    

    When we lived and worked in Switzerland – those times when I could breathe deep into my soul were weekend walks, along the river, thru the forest, up into the hills. Up, out, and away!

    But our 3 gardens have each in their own way been ‘home’ to me and the plants and aimals I share the space with.

    • May 19, 2016    

      Switzerland sounds amazing Diana…..and I agree the garden and critters feel just like home!

  4. May 19, 2016    

    Just beautiful! Enjoy your time off!

  5. May 19, 2016    

    absolutely beautiful!

  6. May 20, 2016    

    Spring in your garden brings so much to life. Very beautiful Donna.

  7. May 20, 2016    

    Thanks Donna….after leaving my garden to fend for itself, I am getting back in touch and having a ball.

  8. May 21, 2016    

    I totally agree with everything about this post, Donna, because it feels so…essential! To make your own sanctuary there with the sound of water nearby is heaven on earth. I’m with you as you get out the pump. Maybe you can make a video of it for us so that we can hear and see it at the same time?!

    • May 21, 2016    

      A grand idea….perhaps a morning video with sound! I’ll work on it Ginnie!

  9. May 21, 2016    

    Your garden space looks delightful 🙂

  10. May 23, 2016    

    I agree for me water is an important part of any sanctuary. Yours is gorgeous! I too have a pond and when our water lily comes out (I only have one!) it is like the whole world is smiling at me, they are such gorgeous uplifting flowers aren’t they!
    Have a lovely week.
    Wren x

    • May 23, 2016    

      Can you believe that is one lily plant that has made itself to home!

  11. May 23, 2016    

    Donna, I can well understand, the beauty of time out, being a retiree

    Monday WRites is live

    much love…

    • May 24, 2016    

      I was out of town so I did not link in this week….glad you liked the prose piece.

  12. May 24, 2016    

    You created a wonderful sanctuary. Your words remind me of an end-of-yoga-class relaxation meditation. I’m almost there just from reading your post! I could have used a place like what you’ve created when I was still working, keeping house, raising kids (although that far back I wouldn’t have even had time to think about needing it). Of course now that I am an old retired person leisure is not in such short supply. But I still love my Yoga classes and going to my “happy place’.

    • May 24, 2016    

      Glad you enjoyed the sanctuary and post Sallie. I created it when I was working a very busy, stressful job…and I so appreciate it even more now that i have more time to spend there.

  13. May 24, 2016    

    I never thought about it this way until I read this, but I believe I created my garden as a peaceful, meditative haven. I began working on the back garden the year after I was diagnosed with cancer, an experience that made living in the moment much more important to me. Being in the garden has always been more important to me than working in the garden.

    • May 25, 2016    

      I couldn’t agree more Jean..the ‘Being in the garden’ is so much more important to me too!

  14. June 2, 2016    

    I sighed when I read this. My former home was on a acre of land with gardens everywhere, including a secluded meditation garden at the far end of the property. These days, I live in a new home and haven’t the time I once did to garden. Thank you for such a lovely post.

    • June 2, 2016    

      Oh your former home’s garden sounds lovely….I am glad I you enjoyed mine Pattie!

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