Inspired by change, challenge and creativity

Conversations In The Garden-On The Freedom To Soar


“If you let go a little you will have a little happiness. If you let go a lot you will have a lot of happiness. If you let go completely you will be free.” ~Ajahn Chah 



As the New Year dawned, I was excited for all the adventures and changes that I imagined were ahead of me.  But as the days stretched out in front of me, I felt as if my enthusiasm had already waned.  I thought, ‘really, how could this be already’….’had I chosen the wrong mantra’.  No.  I knew in my heart that I was meant to use the word Soar this year as a mantra.


So what was wrong?  Why wasn’t I feeling any different?  Yes, I know it is not like magic when we start a new year, and presto things are changed.  But something crucial was missing.  So as I read and reflected a bit, I noticed that I was still tethered to the past.


With gardening we sometimes get tired of our garden…plants die, others become thugs and soon the landscape changes.  If we neglect our space, the weeds take hold and push out plants until our garden sometimes becomes unrecognizable.


DSCN0471That is what I noticed this past year as I lived with my garden for a year.  While there were many flowers and plants that made the garden beautiful, there were far too many weedy patches that needed a bit of work if I was going to see any semblance of a garden again.


As it is with my garden, so it is with my life and the weedy patches there.  Old habits, old thought patterns, old assumptions and judgements were cropping up along with old emotional reactions.  And when I dug deeper, I saw I was still surrounded by the old clutter.  Things used in a prior life that no longer served me in retirement.  If I was to stretch my wings I needed to clear out the old, to make way for the new.


Ready to let go and move on now, I am changing some key habits especially at the beginning and end of my day.  And my garden is integral to these new habits.  While I continue the work to transform my garden into more of a wildlife garden, I am looking for more spots where I can hear the birds, watch the hummers and butterflies, hear the water falling into the pond as the frogs croak their greeting to the sun.  The garden is a haven, a sanctuary where I plan to start each day.


I also want to plant more flowers that I can use for a cutting garden.  I have found making a weekly vase such a soulful experience.  Wandering, observing, creating…such deep meaningful pursuits with the satisfaction of a beautiful arrangement to see throughout my day.  I have enjoyed it so much that I plan to make more vases more often spreading them throughout the house.  Bringing more of the garden indoors will be a new habit.


DSCN2570I am even thinking about making it easier for me to do a bit of writing in my sanctuary.  The gazebo is a perfect spot that is underutilized so I need to find a way to be able to sit there, listen to nature and write…especially poetry which I write with pen and paper.


And ending my day in the garden…sitting, reflecting, perhaps writing in my journal, watching the sunset and playing more with the waning light as I try to capture it with my camera.  All wonderful ways to close the day.  And before the mosquitoes come out to stay, there are months of wonderful bug free nights where I can sit and gaze at the night sky.  Something I long to do more of…such a powerful end-of-the-day ceremony.


I have always had a tendency to observe myself living rather than actually experiencing life…mostly because of fear or crazy, self-imposed work habits.  But now I am feeling the need to free myself, to no longer miss out on this life.  And these new habits cultivated in the garden will go a long way in helping me spread my wings finally, and take those tentative first steps out of the security of my nest and experience the new life waiting for me in the sky.



Note:   I am using bees in flight in this post to help emphasize the idea of free flight and soaring in the garden.




I leave you with another image of my word of the year, Soar.  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. January 15, 2015    

    Sounds heavenly, Donna! I have a very long way to retirement but envy your carefree days of garden/sky gazing. Enjoy every minute 🙂

    • January 15, 2015    

      Loredana I think if I was still working in an office, I would either have to find a way to soar or get a different job….and it seems I am so busy writing and learning these days that I forget they are so carefree as well. I guess this is what it feels like to live your joy finally!

      • January 15, 2015    

        Yes, my office job and commute to NYC can be stressful at times. Thank God I have poetry & photography as outlets. I miss having a garden and hope to get back to gardening one day. Stay blessed 🙂

        • January 15, 2015    

          Oh you wonderful blessed woman….your garden dreams will be yours some how one day!

  2. January 15, 2015    

    I’ve just popped over from Susannah’s Find Your Word FB page…
    I find it so interesting that your Word is Soar and mine’s just the opposite Delve. Aren’t humans such interesting creatures??
    Lovely to ‘meet’ you 🙂
    Here’s my blog post on my Word if you’re interested

    • January 15, 2015    

      Oh Claire how wonderful of you to stop by…I will pop over to read about your word too. Actually for me to Soar, I have to Delve as well…it is interesting how our words work find us and why!

      • January 15, 2015    

        It is indeed! Miraculous even 😉
        Thank you for stopping by and leaving a lovely comment on my blog. It’s very new, so I really appreciate each and every comment!
        Blessings and love as we each soar and delve, soar and delve x

  3. Jen Jen
    January 15, 2015    

    Donna this is so beautifully realistic. Living your life and then blogging/writing about it is the path to happiness indeed.


    • January 15, 2015    

      Dear Jen you do so understand and appreciate this as you do it too my friend. Thank you for such words of love!

  4. Debbie Debbie
    January 15, 2015    

    What a beautiful post. We often times let thoughts and things of the past bring us down, but I love your word “SOAR”. It automatically, goes upward to “fly with the eagles”. Thanks so much for always sharing such lovely thoughts.

    • January 15, 2015    

      Oh very nice of you to say so Debbie. It is one of the reasons I picked the word…it makes me fly right away!

  5. January 15, 2015    

    A very wise and perceptive article Donna; it’s pretty hard to tackle the external without major work on the inside! Glad you are meditating. I loved your desire for a cutting garden. That was always my dream here and I’m almost there, but not quite. With gardening, there is always so much to learn and do. But I know what you mean: going out and picking flowers for the kitchen window or your bedroom is heaven, isn’t it? Take good care, you sound happy and productive!

    • January 15, 2015    

      Heaven is a perfect description of picking flowers for a vase. I have been meditating daily for over a year now and I just started a daily journal. I love it.

  6. January 15, 2015    

    I’ve kind of thought that winteris one of the best seasons for gardening because it kind of forces us to slow down and think. Sometimes that means dreaming of new things. Sometimes it helps us think about what to stop doing. Love the colour in your bee photos. And I couldn’t help nociting that in the first one with heavy heavy pollen sacs the bee can still take flight — soaring off …

    • January 15, 2015    

      Isn’t that such a great picture Debra….I couldn’t get over the load of pollen and it was still flying…what a great model for soaring!

  7. January 15, 2015    

    Love it. My garden is my haven and my sanctuary. But in need (as I am) of considerable work…

    • January 15, 2015    

      Oh I so relate Soosie…but oh it is such fun to work on both!

  8. January 15, 2015    

    How lovely, Donna. How rich. And my heart thrums when I read you are journaling every day.

    In the process of making major life shifts, myself, and I’ve realized that the weeks since Christmas have been not unlike a vision quest. I’ve been fasting from an overabundance of activity, reading, journaling, and visualizing. One book which I’ve found very exciting: Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza. Using discoveries in neuroscience and quantum physics as a foundation, he lays out an orderly approach to leaving behind old habits, especially emotional ones. Quite exciting.

    Reading the reflections you share about your journey gives me, and I’m guessing many others who read this blog, a sense of being in this sea of discovery and conscious change together. Thank you!

    • January 16, 2015    

      Thank you so much Cheryl for your words of encouragement and support. It is so heartwarming and reassuring to know that there is so much community being formed here and I look forward to the folks who stop by and share so much of their special journey.

  9. January 19, 2015    

    I like the way you think, and I’m sure all you dream will be just down the road. I would love to hear more about the garden changes. I have to start thinking about cleaning out beds soon, has to be done early here. I also like your “soar” photo, spreads inspirattion!


    • January 19, 2015    

      Thank you so much Emily….I will be presenting my garden changes at my garden blog during the year so do drop by there…the link is on the sidebar. Hugs to you too for your lovely visit.

  10. January 20, 2015    

    I love soar and the bees with their pollen baskets are perfect…

    • January 21, 2015    

      I think so too Michelle…an inspiration that even laden down we can still soar…

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