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Conversations In The Garden: On Prioritizing Health

DSCN9200“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos—the trees, the clouds, everything.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh




One year ago today, I was coming home from the hospital after what was to be a simple operation to repair a tricky hernia.  But one overnight stay turned into 5 days in the hospital, and weeks of hell.  Operations rarely go as planned and we can never expect they will…at least I don’t anymore.



But with the help of a skilled healer/acupuncturist, I was able to get my body to start healing itself.  It is amazing what our bodies can do, if we can connect with them.  If we listen…deeply listen and then do what our gut is telling us to do.



DSCN9773When I had the initial pain with the hernia, I knew deep down inside what it was, but believed it would go away.  I didn’t mention it to my acupuncturist or a doctor.  But at a baby shower, a nurse friend convinced me to have it looked at….of course the next morning I ended up in the ER with some of the most excruciating pain of my life…..they were convinced it was something else, but I kept saying hernia….and surprise, surprise it was a hernia.



So when did my health derail….it seemed when I focused more on my job than my health…believing it would all be temporary and that there was nothing to worry about.  And I noticed that my garden also became neglected when I was too busy with work….that neglect becoming a metaphor for my failing health.  Both my body and garden were clogged with weeds, starved for nutrition and needed to be reshaped.  So I finally took my health seriously, and began to pay close attention to my body (and garden), and listen when they spoke to me.



I have been working on getting my body systems realigned and regulated….and I have learned what to do if they are not.  I practice daily meditation…it has been an amazing part of my morning that I cannot go without.  I connect with my body by quieting my mind in meditation.  And my body relaxes too….so important for a strong start to my day.  And this connection to my body is like the connection I have with my garden.  I nourish both with natural wholesome organic foods, and they both repay me in bountiful ways.  Of course my garden actual nourishes me during the garden season as we grow many of our own organic vegetables.



IMG_2360And it isn’t just about getting enough quality food or sleep or exercise.  It is about quality of life too.  Doing what brings you happiness…engaging in creative pursuits and play often….spending time with friends and family.  Having quiet time to yourself to just be in the moment.  These quality of life things, that we sometimes forget, do make all the difference in our healing and health.



Healing is about your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being.  If any of these are neglected, we will not fully heal or maintain our health.  So for me it is a holistic approach to health considering all four of these components.  I advocate for myself and make my health my priority, as I have seen first hand what happens when we disconnect from our bodies and neglect our health.



So I continue to tweak my routines and habits, adding things that will improve my health as I age, one small step at a time.  I have learned it is not a race, but an individual slow journey this path to perfect health.  And we can get to our destination happier and healthier by making our lives, and our health a priority.





Note:   In the Language of Flowers, yarrow represents good health.  I chose pink yarrow, because pink symbolizes the feminine as well as compassion, nurturing and love.






I leave you with another thought about good health and being good to yourself.  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.

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  1. May 21, 2015    

    I have been neglecting myself for far too long. My partner’s health issues have taken priority and I have put myself to the back of the queue. Which means that I am unable to look after him as well as I would like either. One of my doctor’s once told me that for an intelligent woman some days I wasn’t very bright. It was true then, it is even truer now.
    There is a lot of work ahead of me. Necessary work.

    • May 23, 2015    

      Yes Soosie…as women we tend to neglect our own health as we tend to others…I also learned I am no good to others if I am not well….good luck my friend and I wish you good health.

  2. May 21, 2015    

    It’s so easy to get caught up in our lives, ignore those twinges, thinking oh it will go away, it’s nothing… Until it becomes something…..Big.

    I guess that’s a lesson that we all need to learn bit by bit. And after the back surgery…well I’m finally starting to listen before it gets to that point again.

    How can we take care of those in our lives, if we can’t take care of ourselves.


    • May 23, 2015    

      Exactly Jen…we have to tend to our needs too. I am glad you are better and listening to your inner voices too!

  3. May 21, 2015    

    Our bodies have a way of grabbing our attention when we don’t give it willingly. The situation reminds me of some toddlers who haven’t learned the difference between good attention and bad attention – they just want people to attend to them, no matter why.

    My body, if I will pay attention, sends me signals that if I won’t stop and give it good time and attention when I should, it will by golly stop me one way or another, requiring more time and in ways that eventually become non-negotiable. Those debts always come due!

    • May 23, 2015    

      Yes Deb they do come due. Like you my body speaks and if I don’t listen it will stop me in my tracks and howl loudly until I do….oh I listen now.

  4. May 21, 2015    

    We can do a lot to keep ourselves whole, but even the best, most balanced self-care isn’t always enough. Many health situations are just out of our control, and sometimes healing is more a process of coming to terms than of recovering. I’m glad you’re finding health and balance on many levels after your nightmare of an operation last year. Especially knowing just a teeny bit about how stressful your former job was, it’s good to see you enjoying all those lovely, quality-of-life things!

    • May 23, 2015    

      Absolutely Stacy…thank you for reminding me about the reality of life and how sometimes we have to learn to accept health conditions and live within their limits. Even my asthma as a child kept me from so much and while I came to terms with it and learned to live with it, it was hard….many hugs to you my friend.

  5. May 21, 2015    

    You are on a good path. When work is first, much of life suffers. The shame is, a profession has to come first in most cases. It just takes juggling to fit all in that makes one happy and healthy. I always had a job that I loved, and loved going to, so that was a snap.

    • May 23, 2015    

      It is a shame Donna but as you say important to like one’s job….I loved my job as an educator until the final 5 years. Then it was finding a way to brave through each day as I was so close to retirement and there were precious few jobs.

  6. I think that you’ve touched on the basics of life in this post!

    • May 23, 2015    

      And I am grateful I discovered these finally Deb or maybe rediscovered is a better term to use.

  7. May 22, 2015    

    So true! It’s easy to take good health for granted.

    • May 23, 2015    

      It is indeed….so important that we put our health first.

  8. May 22, 2015    

    I loved reading about your story. I am a breast cancer survivor. I too ended up with issues after surgery. I guess we are all different and different things will happen to us. I love hearing your journey after. I have not ventured into meditation but I can see that I might need to so do.

    • May 23, 2015    

      It is a wonderful healer Terri and there are many free resources out there…send me an email if you want some more info.

  9. May 22, 2015    

    after sliding into stressed out bad habits during the renovation, my creaking shoulders are prompting me to get back to my morning routine of stretches. And getting back to my ‘usual’ healthy diet.

    • May 23, 2015    

      Isn’t it amazing what we do when stressed…our survival brains take over….good to hear the stress is diminishing Diana.

  10. May 23, 2015    

    I can so relate to this although in my case it was my spirit that had been damaged/diminished and it has taken a while to repair…

    It is only recently that I have started to fully emerge into the lightness again.

    • May 23, 2015    

      Yes this is so important Cherie…when any part of our health (spiritual, mental, emotional or physical) is damaged it can affect our whole health…I am so glad to hear you are finding the lightness again.

  11. May 23, 2015    

    Yesterday, I went with some friends to a local garden renowned for its lilac collection. As I stepped out of the car and inhaled all that wonderful lilac fragrance, I was filled with a sense of well-being — a powerful reminder of the connections between health and connection with nature.

    • May 24, 2015    

      Sometimes I just have to breath deeply in nature of my garden and suddenly I feel so much better….amazing what that lilac fragrance can do Jean!

  12. May 24, 2015    

    you are so right, I’m a a turning point now. I have to stop and listen or it will not end well. Thats why I have taken up my photograpy again.

    • May 24, 2015    

      Good for you Lotta…following a passion is so important!

  13. May 24, 2015    

    It’s so easy to just hope issues will go away…glad you got treatment and that you’re on your way to making life changes!

    • May 24, 2015    

      Thanks…it is so important to listen to those inner voices!

  14. May 26, 2015    

    Sometimes, we need to do more of what we ‘need’ than what we ‘want’. We can all learn from others.

  15. June 6, 2015    

    I am so sorry to hear of your pain and suffering. The more I learn (and experience) about the medical system the less I trust it. I recently read that when doctors go on strike the death rate drops. =/ heh.Years ago mMy husband was having some trouble with his gall bladder. His doctor ‘s only solution was to remove it. We both felt that seemed a radical solution so he chose instead to see a traditional Chinese medical practitioner for a second opinion. Years later he so far has been able to not only manage this condition but keep all his internal organs. One of the things I thought was kind of funny was the advice his new doctor gave him. When asked what he could do to take better care of his body his doctor said, “Everyone knows this stuff..” But your post brought out soemthing a lot of people overlook. Sure, we should all eat good healthy food in moderation and exercise but we also need to relax and provide some space for joy.

    • June 6, 2015    

      I am glad to hear your husband was successful in keeping his gall bladder. Many times my experience has been that western medicine just treats the symptoms with invasive techniques and fails to look at the whole person and alternatives that have been successfully used for thousands of years….especially our emotions.

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