Inspired by change, challenge and creativity

Conversations in the Garden: Slowing The Pace

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“I have reached the stage now where luxury is not in fine possessions but in carefree possessions, and the greatest luxury of all would be the completely expendable.”

~Nan Fairbrother

 

 

At this time of year, the garden is making its final preparations for its annual slumber.  Each successive frost reminds the plants to stop growing and producing flowers.  Instead the plants begin to adjust their energies to their roots…a time to put all their focus below the soil and build up their resources now at the most basic level.  Where there is warmth and nourishment for growth.

 

 

Unlike in spring and summer, where the emphasis is on the outer growth of the plant….the leaves and flowers.  We work furiously in our gardens to prepare for the emergence of the plants.  We weed, cut back and remove impediments so we can celebrate each new bloom as it appears.  And then with the heat of summer, we sit on the front porch to cool ourselves and witness the beauty created before us…nature in all her glory.

 

 

I have spent many days, languishing in the shade of my porch and gazebo to observe the critters buzzing and chirping about.  To hear the gentle wind blow through the grasses, and watch it sway the multitude of flowers.  What sheer bliss.

 

 

DSCN4276But it seems with the coming of late fall and winter, we grieve for our gardens.  Nature lays waste to our precious masterpiece, wildlife retreats and we are left with cold, fierce winds and icy cold rain and snow.  We finish our garden chores and move indoors to find warmth, and a bit of relaxation.

 

 

But instead of kicking back, taking some deep breathes and going within to replenish ourselves, we seem to do just the opposite.  Our lives seem more hurried than when the plants were lush and the garden chores many.

 

 

I find myself impatient, sluggish, restless and frustrated.  Some of these feelings because I cannot be outside in my beloved garden and nature, but more because of the holiday season.  There is so much to do!

 

 

Cleaning, baking cooking, decorating, shopping, sending cards…ugh!  Not a holiday, where the word should conjure up rest, recreation, and freedom from work.  No, quite the opposite in fact.  The feeling of having to rush, rush, rush to get it all done before the holiday is here…not really getting a chance to enjoy the holiday season.  Instead it’s the annual race to finish it all and make it the best, brightest and prettiest holiday ever, takes charge!!

 

 

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Well I for one cannot do that anymore.  I have given it up.  Given up the cards…I send a few ecards to family.  No more baking except for one little dessert for a special meal.  I can’t have the sugar anymore anyway.  I have a faux tree already strung with lights...no judgments please.  I use a few decorations, and have purged the rest so I am not tempted to get them out and go through all the decorating hub-bub.

 

 

So why did I do all this.  Because it just wasn’t feeling like a holiday…the spirit of the winter season and Christmas holiday had somehow been lost.  When I should have been slowing my pace and enjoying, I was actually in high gear with too much anxiety and frustration over all the ‘Have To Do’ things….and it spilled over to family making their holiday less than pleasurable.

 

 

Now instead, I ‘get to do’ those things I love.  Yes I know many people cannot just chuck it all.  There are family traditions, children, grandchildren…but I do think we all need to find a bit of time for ourselves and for our own sanity.  You say you don’t have the time.  Well that is precisely when you need to find some time!

 

 

Start slow and with one thing.  Not sending as many cards perhaps.  Or holding back on some of the baking and decorating.  It really is an individual thing.  Look for those things that no longer give you joy, and start your purging there.  That is how I started.  And certainly keep those traditions you love.  They are important.

 

 

DSCN4277Cutting back on a one or two small things will allow you to slow your pace.  Giving you a needed break.  And did you know that if you slow down as you move through your holiday rituals, you will enjoy them more.  So take a cue from nature and her rhythms to slow down this time of year.  Savor the beauty of nature and the season.  The time spent with loved ones.  Give the gift of time to yourself to renew…get to know yourself and reconnect with your inner core to build your strength below the surface.  Allowing your body, mind and soul to grow again….finding that sheer bliss inside!

 

 

 

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So how do you slow down the pace right now and enjoy the winter and holiday season?  You can read more of my thoughts about winter in my posts, Winter’s Gifts and Winter’s Moods.

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures, in the first part of the post, were taken this year from my front porch.  The violas, I grew from seed, were a special view as they were planted in multiple vases.  The other views are of my gazebo.  Each of these pictures evokes a sense of relaxation for me.

 

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words On Slowing the Pace.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

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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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11 Comments

  1. December 17, 2015    

    Excellent advice.
    For more than twenty years I have been baking Christmas cakes for family and friends. And the numbers of people who HAD to receive a cake has been growing and growing. I made thirty this year. Lots of them were small, but still.
    Next year? A cake for us. And perhaps one for his family.
    Just as the garden needs to rest, so do I.
    And the insanity is not fun. At all. Which is why all I want for Christmas is Boxing Day. The fuss will be over. I can point hungry people at the fridge and with luck will have a new book to revel in.

    • December 17, 2015    

      Bravo Soosie. We all deserve a relaxing and happy holiday. I love your plan for next Christmas. And family and friends will adjust.

      • December 17, 2015    

        Donna You’re in the wrong country! Have you considered a move to Australia, you’d be amongst kindred spirits?!! It’s a lot more laid back in the sun 🙂
        Happy Holidays, you are doing everything right to have the best one ever!!!
        Wren x

        • December 17, 2015    

          Thanks for the reassurance Wren…and the invite. I often wonder if I am in the right place…I have wanted to visit other parts of the world so who knows….I may just find myself in your corner one day!

  2. December 17, 2015    

    Such important truths you relay here and with the delicate beauty that nature brings…your opening stanza really illustrates the importance of slowing down. I agree with you about the holidays…this year I’m taking it easy on the busy factor…I have to for my stress levels.

    Thank you, for this timely post…it helps to hear that slowing down when everyone is speeding up is actually the more natural thing to do.

    Warm wishes to you for a peaceful season. ♥

    • December 17, 2015    

      I hear you Hannah…I cannot afford to overtax and stress myself either….in this world I don’t think any of us can anymore….and yes, follow that natural rhythm of slow!

      Wishing you a season filled with light, love and peace!

      • December 17, 2015    

        I agree and thank you, for the beautiful wishes. 🙂

  3. susan@life-change-compost.com susan@life-change-compost.com
    December 17, 2015    

    Hi Donna, I understand your feelings so well! One thing that has changed for me this year is that my dad has a terminal diagnosis since Thanksgiving and I find myself actually UNABLE to do anything but take one day at a time. I put 8 wreaths around the porch, a wreath on the door and decorated the mantel. That is IT. Like you, barely a few cards. I feel sorrowful despite knowing that nothing lasts forever. I am so close to my dad and with my little sister passing recently, and mom dying in May of this year, it all feels too much. (Jill and I always used to talk about how she and I would hold each other and be together when Dad was close to his life’s end…) So It is what it is this year. Trying to just let it all come into me gently, working on self-care and staying quiet. We leave soon for his home and there will be a housesitter here. The gifts I gave were all to organizations that give to help third world nations and help women begin businesses. I couldn’t bear to go shopping! So…your post is spot on for me. Thank you for the wonderfulness of it Donna. Blessings to you. Hold your family close.

    • December 17, 2015    

      Oh Susie my heart is breaking for you knowing of this deep loss coming, and so soon after the others. I count myself lucky to still have the family I have. And I will hold them close! I am keeping you close in my heart and shining lots of warm love on you my friend. Don’t hesitate to contact me…I am here. Wishing you peace and light this coming season and year! ♥ ♥ ♥

  4. December 22, 2015    

    What a great post with so much truth! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • December 23, 2015    

      Thank you Betty…Merry Christmas!

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“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” ~ Aristotle

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