Work in Progress

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” 

Robert Louis Stevenson


I am a work in progress.  I am still discovering this fact, and I most likely I will never be completely finished.  This is the way of life.  Maybe it is why my gardens are forever changing.  They mirror my life.  As I make changes in one, changes are inevitable in the other.  These two are inextricably tied together as I discovered a few years back which is how this blog began.

Lately though I have been getting into the “poor me downward death spiral”.  You know one little thing goes wrong and as you are dealing with it another blows up and it just keeps coming.  You think you can deal with it, but at some point you throw up your hands and start to wallow in self-pity, become frustrated, depressed and down and down we go.  I can tell you self-pity does nothing for me…it has no redeeming qualities except you have a good cry.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I fell this winter at work on a slippery floor and injured my knee which in turn put strain on my other knee, my ankles, my lower back and the cycle of the aches, pains and injuries just keeps going.  There was little gardening going on, and it finally culminated with another ankle sprain last week preventing me from attending a family event I helped plan and was so looking forward to attending.  But I really could not take the plane ride with the pain I was having.  So I had to postpone my trip and seeing my family who are scattered to the wind, and don’t get together too often.

It is not the end of the world, but the “poor me downward death spiral” started in earnest.  Good thing I was sick of the self-pity and the constant frustration, and decided to take control of the situation.  But how to move forward, and do I have the strength to continue to deal with all this… it is not the end of the world and it could be worse, right?

My garden has endured terrible conditions this year, but it has continued to bloom.  Maybe not at the same pace as years past.  Some plants barely bloomed or were a smaller version of themselves, but they have not given up.  There is no pity for my plants.  If they don’t perform, I tend to baby them for only so long before I yank them out, and replace them.  Of course I secretly believe this tends to help them want to perform better in the future.  Perhaps I can take a lesson from these hardy, persistent plants.

These days it feels like I need to break through many barriers, some of them self-imposed.  I have endured far worse and will have to again.  It may take summoning all my strength and willpower to break free, or maybe giving myself some of the compassion I reserve for others.  I might need time, rest, assistance-but it is OK to indulge in these if needed.  And my resistance to a solution is OK too.  It is a natural reaction after all.   I may need more time or a willing ear to listen to my moaning.  I know deep down inside what I have to do, but it is all about the right time for my acceptance of the solution.

It will take some serious self-talk and self-love though.  And once I get through the issues, I usually come to a greater understanding of myself; the lesson I am ready to learn but maybe a bit unwilling at times to face.  I found this wonderful quote that really spoke volumes to me…and it is from one of my favorite American authors:


“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition, it is important with whom you regularly associate. Hang out with friends who are like-minded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives. Similarly, be that kind of a friend for your friends.”  ~Mark Twain

When I seek these friends they don’t placate me or drag me down.  They listen; give me a kick in the pants and offer help if needed.  I have “weeded out” people in my life until I am down to that small group I know I can count on, and who know they can rely on me.

So what are the next steps in my life especially in regards to making some real changes?  After all my family would like to see me, Iam tired of the pity party and my garden is screaming, “weed me”!

Interestingly, I found a recent blog post from Leo Babauta@zenhabits very helpful.  It is called The Three-Day Monk Syndrome.  It goes into how to make significant changes and not just starting something and then dropping it in 3 days or 1 week.  A very interesting read to get me moving in the right direction.  I am the only one who can make gradual changes in my life to help any issue I am experiencing.  So I am starting with small steps, and will be reminding myself daily why I am doing this and keeping the momentum going (as Leo reminds us).  It is nothing radical; just adjusting my schedule to allow myself to start moving every day to build strength and endurance.  I have to start somewhere and I think a 10-15 minute walk is doable.  Once that is a daily habit and the knee is better, perhaps biking again.  Whatever it is, it will be a constant forward movement knowing there may be days I have to drag myself through it or love myself a bit more.  But there really are no limits to what we can do or endure once we put our minds to it.

Note to self:  New Mantra this summer….no limitations!


“All the concepts about stepping out of your comfort zone mean nothing until you decide that your essential purpose, vision and goals are more important than your self-imposed limitations.”  ~Robert White


The pictures here are of recent or continuing blooms in my garden.



Next up on the blog:  I had promised a post with  GBBD combined with Garden Lessons Learned.  That post will be just in time for Thursday.  I felt the need to do a Life Lesson post today instead given recent events.

Then it will be time for another Garden Book Review on the 18th followed by Seasonal Celebrations revealed on the 21st. I hope you will join in for the Seasonal Celebrations meme.

As June ends, it will be time to look at another Simply The Best native plant growing in my garden.

I hope you will join me for my posts, every other Tuesday, at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.  There will be a new post tomorrow.

Please remember, to comment click on the title of the post and the page will reload with the comments section.

All content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

50 Replies to “Work in Progress”

  1. “Don’t lose heart, and take things slowly”; my Mum – a passionate gardener – broke her hip last autumn and this is what I tell her every time we talk. Mending takes time, and the garden can wait… I love your idea to take a lesson from your hardy and persistent plants, and your quotes and mantra are great too. My mantra this summer is “You’re unbeatable!”.
    Get well soon and enjoy the flowers and ignore the weeds!

  2. We all feel like this sometimes, Donna, trouble is when we feel like this we think it is just us, or worse, why us? Go gently on the knee, be kind to it, and let the garden heal you. Christina

  3. I always try to take care of myself first so I have the health and energy to take care of those around me. I bet by the end of summer you will be walking far.

  4. Oh, I needed this. Thank you for a thoughtful post which serendipitously happened to give me just the right soft kick to remind me that the things I’m dealing with these days are fairly universal. And that the solution is not to dwell on “ain’t it awful” but to get going again, accepting that changes may make a slight course correction necessary.

    1. Oh I am so happy you liked the post and that it also helped you….I hope things get going in the direction you want.

  5. Lots still to come on GEV (and wistful waterlilies in the rain). Watching plans go awry for one reason or another is enough to dampen our spirits, Donna. Not easy too when the garden seems to get on without us (the one I work on has been smothered in scaffolding and painters for 6 weeks) and I have a sense of panic at the progression of the plants. ‘Wait for me’, I want to shout. Always worse when we are injured, down and out but sometimes a tough love shake can be more helpful than a soothing hand [Beware of friends who love it when you’re needy!] The most encouraging saying for me is simply “Tomorrow is another day”. Each morning is a clean slate – how refreshing!
    p.s. thanks for that 3 day zen monk link. Perfectly describes my butterfly commitment!

    1. Oh how awful for you and your garden Laura. Glad you liked the link and I appreciate your encouragement. Each new day is a clean slate!

  6. I think that you have been through some rough patches lately, but you are moving forward, and that’s what is needed to get up again.

    Attitude is everything. You’ve got a good one.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  7. You know I understand Donna..I just got another call from my brother about his wedding next weekend.. just guilt….So I get it..I think it’s Ok to go into a funk once in a while and then stop, reevaluate and move on…I won’t be myself up for being depressed but I won’t let it be for too long either…I know you want to get out there and do it all. If heart counted for anything, we’d all be super athletes..but we aren’t and we are all on the path…ours just has more stones to trip on than some..less than others and hopefully no more cliffs to fall off of..hugs..Michelle

    1. Thx Michelle…ours paths are never smooth but we just keep moving on don’t we. I find my funks also help me solve my issues. 🙂

  8. Donna positive attitude is the first step and you show that in this post, I think if we are in pain it can make everything seem worse, sorry you didn’t get to see your family,
    your garden seems to be coping well lots of beautiful blooms, good luck with the daily walks and don’t over do it, Frances x

    ps I sometimes think of that Bing Crosby song High Hopes,
    …. so anytime you’r feeling low ‘stead of letting go just remember that ant, whoops there goes another rubber tree plant …..

  9. Way back when I was a student, I used to walk up to the University from the station. About 20 minutes up a steep hill. Even then ‘young and fit but not athletic’, after the holidays, the first few days were killing. Now being told about backache and core strength jumpstarted me into doing a few exercises each morning. As the weeks and months go by, the muscles DO get surprisingly stronger. Last year I battled in the garden, getting down to the ground either made my back ache, or my hip. Now – my body works for me and with me.

    I have lots of sympathy for ‘down and out’, when a second injury hits you. Missing a large family celebration is frustrating!!

    1. Thx Diana for your words of encouragement. I know that by gently gardening and walking I will be helping myself. I was happy to see my family via videophone call. It helped!

  10. Hi Donna, Everyone slips into Eeyore sometimes.”Oh Bother” But I know that’s not you . You like me are a piglet “What’s fun to do to day?” . “I have a little Pooh, What’s for lunch” mixed in too. I bet my weeds are bigger than your weeds!!!

    1. Becky you made me laugh so hard…we are so alike and I am trying to tame my Pooh a bit…my weeds are now about 4 feet high in some spots…but oh bother they will be taken care of slowly!

  11. I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling down. I know health issues can be very frustrating and depressing. And not being able to see family is also discouraging. But every day is a new start. I like to remember (although I don’t always) that I need to be working on my next better self. Not sure where I picked that up, but since we all change, we might as well change for the better. You have a great attitude, and are working out of that downward spiral, which we all fall into some times. I hope your garden’s beauty will be encouraging to you. I know my garden is always a place of solace for me.

    1. Ditto Holley on the garden being a place of solace. I love the idea of working on my next better self…as I approach retirement from my job, I think that is the perfect philosophy!

  12. Donna, sometimes when I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, it seems like it’s raining shoes and nothing goes well. I think you’re on the right track by setting a small achievable goal for yourself. The founder of Spark People, Chris Downie started exercising ten minutes a day and started a fitness revolution. I hope things start to go better soon.

    1. Wow that is inspirational that those 10 minutes can lead to so much more down the line…it will be sticking with it but I know I will. Thx so much!

  13. Keep your pecker up Donna, hope you are feeling 100% very soon. Frances, did Bing Crosby also sing Frank Sinatras hit, High Hopes.

    1. Frank did sing the song too…Thx Alistair for your encouragement..feeling better as soon as I wrote the post.

  14. Can I just say something here? This is something that has bothered me for a long, long time. 🙂 Here goes:

    The terms “self-pity” and “pity party” really, really REALLY bother me. I wish we could put a permanent ban on them. We all feel badly from time to time and when we use those pejorative terms, we’re only kicking ourselves lower. I think it’s good that you recognize your situation and even embrace it. A compassionate, listening can go a long way. Looking deeper into why we feel the way we do, this is good emotional intelligence.

    The people commenting here are so wise. I hope you feel encouraged. My garden is also screaming at me so I hear you there. Just one day at a time… Take care. Hugs.

    1. I hear you Grace. We can get down on ourselves and with little help. I needed a good kick in the right direction and the wonderful community out there of bloggers and readers certainly are supportive…I count you as one of the best Grace..thx for all your support.

  15. I am sorry to hear so much has been going wrong in your life lately. I am glad you posted about it because it seems to have helped you work through some of it. And I just read what Grace wrote, and have to agree. You are well on your way to a better life because you are seeing ways to improve your situation. Good luck and hope to see you in better spirits soon.

    1. Just writing the post made me feel better right away and gave me the push to move through this…life can give us such highs and lows and I seem to learn so much from those lows…thx Donna.

  16. Physical problems that prevent us from doing what we want are very hard to accept when you are used to doing everything so easily. My best friend’s father who is a doctor always said that when they tell you it will take 8 weeks to recover, you have to remember that the most recovery occurs in the first two weeks so it is important to do everything right during that time. I always found that advice encouraging.

  17. Hello Donna, i hope when you get these you are over with those disgusting disturbances. Your body just needs a little time and some understanding. I have not been posting nor commenting because my PC was out of order and my laptop is not cooperating either. Now, my laptop is helping me a bit. I just realized that because blogging and commenting has already been a habit, it is a bit stressful when cut. I think this goes true with all our habits, just like our habit to feel we are very well, and we can do what we want to do. My lower back is aching as well, but i’ve learned to have it as part of me, hahaha! I am sending positive energies your way, you will be fine. Just keep thinking you are in the best of health even if some parts are not cooperating too! God bless.

    1. Andrea thank you so much for your lovely wishes and all that positive energy. I know I can use it. I now what you mean about not being able to blog, comment or do what we once could…very frustrating. Glad you were able to comment here…your comment helped a lot! Hope your computer troubles clear up soon…positive energy being sent your way now!

  18. Donna – this post was quite painful to read at the beginning. I’ve always admired the honesty in your writing and the way you learn lessons from others. All the foundation work that you have invested in your garden will hold it in good stead till you get better.

    1. b-a-g thank you for this comment. One thing my parents impressed upon me was honesty with others and self. I can hear them saying,” so you have a problem, what are you going to do about it”. Of course they would give a hug first. I am accepting my garden as is for now. Even being able to work a little helps me feel so much better…that and a good Dr report today…healing is progressing and will take 8-10 more weeks.

  19. Donna, I’m sorry you’ve had so many frustrations to deal with, especially in such short order. Good for you, though, for using them to help you find your own way out! Sometimes I find that external limits, especially health issues, can help you find greater capacity and freedom in other areas. Hang in there, and enjoy those walks!

    1. Thx Stacy and I agree…it was imperative for me to find a way out and to learn from it…I am enjoying the walks and have had a good report from the Dr.

  20. Donna, I started my blog under similar circumstances. I was at the beginning of a one-year sabbatical that I had been looking forward to as much needed R&R after several extremely stressful years as chair of my department. But before my sabbatical even started, my mother was hospitalized. Then the tenant who was subletting my house in Gettysburg got seriously ill and had to move back to Michigan to be cared for by family. Then my septic system failed. I found myself getting more and more stressed out — until I finally gave myself a good talking to! I realized that my insistence that this was supposed to be a year of much-needed relaxation was just adding to my stress levels; once I let go of that dream, I found the realities of life easier to deal with. Our gardens not only provides us with live-in-the-moment beauties; they also provide great inspiration for how to bounce back from adverse events.
    I’m sorry to hear about your sprained ankle and hope it is healing quickly.

    1. My goodness Jean that was quite a year of things to deal with…..yes that good talking to is needed from time to time. Things happen and we deal with them just like with the weather (like this year) and critters in the garden. Some years the deer leave the hosta alone (not many) and some years they just keep coming back. Thx for your kind words. The ankle feels so much better and I am slowly taking walks on it.

  21. Life is too short to be around negative people. I hope you continue to bloom and grow….that your pain will disappear soon and you find joy.
    I am trying to get a new habit of yoga (got a new DVD) and baby steps is certainly the way to go.

    1. Thx so much Janet for your inspirational words. The walking is baby steps but at least they are in a forward motion. Have fun with yoga!

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