Embracing the Long Road

“I have learned to live my life one step, one breath, and one moment at a time, but it was a long road. I set out on a journey of love, seeking truth, peace, and understanding. I am still learning.” ~ Muhammad Ali

It has been a long road back. A road begun when I was turning 55 and realizing I wanted so much more in my life than working long hours in a job I no longer loved. Realizing my body was in bad shape from neglect, stress and working too long days. Knowing I had to keep working toward a retirement of 30 years if I lived long enough to enjoy it.

For the last 9 years, my body has needed tender care to reverse the horrors of stress. And while I am finally seeing a light at the end of that dark tunnel, I am still limited by chronic illness. Not able to travel is probably the worst of the consequences. But my health improves, and that is what I am aiming for at this point.

In 2020 with my mom’s sudden death, I was thrown into a tailspin and I am still trying to get my head above the raging waters of grief. The ground beneath me is becoming steadier and I am feeling more in balance. Feeling into myself, my true self. Not the self living in my mind, but the self I find within my soul.

Each year walking in nature, reading, gardening (on a limited basis) and delving into my creative side through writing and art are what have sustained me. I am now resigned to my small garden at our townhouse, mostly in containers. And I have regular reading, meditation and walking habits. But my creative soul has been speaking to me more and more. Asking me to explore. To play. To allow. To finally EMBRACE the artist that resides within. Embrace happens to be my word of the year, how perfect.

And this year, I am finally partnering with my inner child, my deep creative self, to not only allow me to consider that I am creative, but that I am an artist. To finally say those words, ‘Artist.’ That is hard for me as I have always thought of myself as not artistic.

As part of my new creative identity, I have been embarking on #the100dayproject for the last 4 years. Last year was the first time I actually added art, beyond photography, to my project; keeping a 365-day journal full of watercolor swatches. It allowed me to explore colors and watercolors a bit more. And I was faithful to the practice which inspired me to continue.

This year, I wanted to really dig in deeper into my artist self so I began to color daily with lovely colored pencils which allowed me to continue to explore colors even more. And a funny thing happened about 3 weeks into the practice. I discovered I was excited about art. About coloring. About completing courses I have paid for but avoided. I was finally developing that beginner’s mindset; a sense of wonder and enchantment. And a letting go of perfection, which I found is essential for allowing my creativity to blossom.

I wasn’t going to do #the100dayproject this year, and I was okay with it. But then my inner child whispered, ‘why not?’ Why not indeed I thought. And so here I am about to embark on #the100dayproject for the fifth year in a row. It will be all about doing art daily. My hashtag on Instagram and Facebook will be, #Donnasdoingartfor100days. Simple and open-ended so I can easily keep to my daily practice. I’ll keep coloring and doing art courses and painting more rocks. But I won’t be completing one picture or rock a day. I will simply do art for as long as I want to each day….5 minutes or 50. My inner child is jumping up and down with the possibilities. And it is her excitement, her courage, her pure joy as she plays that sustains me and keeps me on this creative/artistic path.

Posting to social media is a big part of the project. But the posed a problem, as I have been on an extended hiatus from social media since June of last year not really wanting to engage too much on Instagram or Facebook. I do find I like Instagram a bit more as it keeps me more interested, and allows me to watch artists create and gardeners garden. I don’t want to post daily to social media because it is time consuming. So, in keeping with the spirit that you make up the rules for this project, I decided to keep the posting on social media to twice weekly. Beginning of the week and toward the end. I am feeling the pull to re-engage with friends, colleagues and fellow creatives, and doing so throughout the 100 days is a great way back.

I hope you will join me for the 100 days starting February 22nd. It is always interesting to see where a creative project can lead….usually to new and unexpected places. I am thrilled to just be exploring and EMBRACING the artist in me. She is back…alive, well and ready to play!

I am still making vases as the color during winter brings me joy. This vase was created with flowers from a local grocer. My husband has been supplying me with these flowers monthly since winter started, which has been a thrill.

With this lovely vase, I am linking in to the wonderful meme, In A Vase On Monday, at Rambling in the Garden.

All the pictures shared in this post were taken with my Nikon Coolpix or iPhone camera, and manipulated on my iPhone using the apps, Pixlr and Prisma. You can follow my progress with #the100dayproject in my Instagram and Facebook feed.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2023.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

16 Replies to “Embracing the Long Road”

  1. For as long as I have followed your blog (how many years now?!) I have considered you artistic – talented at creating a garden, arranging vases and your photography ‘art’ too. So I am glad you have finally embraced the artist in you Donna! I love the colours in your colouring project – so warm. Just what we need in February. All the best in working through your grief and being creative.

    1. You have been such a great supporter Cathy. And a great inspiration too. Thank you for being there and continuing to support me on my journey. It means so much!

  2. Commitment to any sort of discipline can support the development of creativity, and it seems you’ve learned that lesson well. Best wishes for this year’s project; it’s great to sense your enthusiasm and joy in what you’re planning.

  3. I have read through your post, and can understand your situation. Sorry to hear about your loss following the passing of your mother. I too found that surprisingly hard. I like the fact that your husband gets you these flowers regularly and that using your creativity, you make something even more beautiful for the two of you to share. Happy Valentine’s day to both of you.

  4. Donna, I am finding the same thing—that once you let go of perfectionism, playing and exploring are a hoot. Good for you for figuring out your own parameters for this project. Enjoy all those luscious colors!

  5. What an inspiring post, Donna – well done on beginning to find your self, particularly your inner child. And how intriguing that you say you are beginning to accept the artist in yourself – someone who visited our garden yesterday referred to me as artist in the garden , certainly something I would never have called myself, but it did make me begin to think. You have taken so many steps forward Doona, many of them hard, and it seems you ar beginning to embrace your current journey – well done you

  6. It strikes me that all true artists create for themselves, Donna, and in setting your own rules and standards for what you do, you are embracing art for its own sake, as well as yours. Best wishes.

  7. Donna, so happy you are continuing to explore and find what makes you happy, what brings you joy, what you need to let go. It’s sweet that your husband is making sure you have flowers. Lovely.

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