“Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back.” ―John O’Donohue
The past two years I have been on a personal quest. A healing of sorts for my body, mind and spirit. And it wasn’t until the death of my mom, unexpectedly, that I began this quest in earnest. Her loss took me down deep to the depths of my despair. And in order to find my way back, I needed to heal….but what needed healing? Turns out quite a bit.
So I did a lot of writing, exploring and communing with nature and other soulful women in circle. I read a lot and walked for miles. But the healing was slow. This past year it seemed there were finally some breakthroughs and breakouts. I felt like I was beginning to fit into my skin again….more the skin from my childhood where I felt free to be my true self. Getting to know again what I loved, what I missed and what I dreamed.
And it turns out there were things I hadn’t thought about for years….jigsaw puzzles, coloring and art through a few online art exploration classes. And then there was a rekindling of my love for writing through journals and reading through a #the100dayproject born from a 365 day challenge (reading 21 minutes a day, every day). That accomplishment alone had a profound effect on me. I read a lot already, but these 2 reading challenges helped me look back at my love of reading and forward to today exploring more genres and authors. I also love to keep track of my reading in Goodreads.com and their reading challenge. This year I read 90 books. And all this reading has lead to my townhouse block neighbors, another dear friend and me forming a Book Club. I’ll keep you posted here and on social media about the first book we are reading and discussing for January (safely and masked up).
With journaling, I began to find my voice again. I took a great journaling class from Susannah Conway (which is repeating again January 10th), and it opened me up to the artsy fun side of journaling. Writing what you want, and embellishing your pages with stickers and washi tape. My inner child squeaks with glee with all this. I began a One Line A Day Journal too this year (it’s a 5 year journal) and have stuck with it. I just began year 2, and it’s fun to see how each year compares as you look back to what you wrote. I also wrote daily in a gratitude journal from Promptly Journals. Previously I worked through their Grief Journal.
I also have been trying to nail down some important habits that will also help with my healing. To practice them daily prescriptively and devotionally. To know I can stick with something for all 365 days or so many days a month. Habits I want to get better at like daily meditation and more walking. And new ones like yoga and art journalling….that last one scares me most of all. I’ll post about these habits and the what, why and how I am working on these in a post soon….yes, I am even working on getting back to my blog so this is not an empty promise. PROMISE!!
As for the breakthroughs-well I lost my garden. How is that a breakthrough? That I will explain also in another post. Suffice it to say, I had to take out most of my plants and give them away as the company from whom we rent our townhouse decided they wanted uniform beds with a few plants, covered with landscape fabric and stone. I was able to keep about 11 plants, most where they were originally planted in the garden and some in containers. It was an unexpected blow, but one I found I could understand and accept the lesson/gift.
The breakout came when fellow blogger and friend Beth Stetenfeld and I finally decided to put forth our book for publishing. We wrote the book a few years ago. Or should I say we finished it a few years ago, but late fall of 2021 was finally when we took the big step to submit it to publishers for consideration. More on that at a later date. It is a long process, and not an easy one. But definitely it has been worth the learning, setbacks and frustrations that have come up. Hoping to hear someone loves it and wants to publish it. But we are realistic and may decide to publish it ourselves.
As I look back on this past year, I am also looking forward to the dreams and goals I have for myself. And as part of this process I pick a guiding word for the year. This year I have chosen ALLOWING. A strong verb that helps me focus back to my core and to give myself permission to do the hard things. The things that scare and delight me. That fill me with doubt. That I typically have closed myself off to. To surrender, gain clarity, trust, have courage, feel the exhilaration of the freedom for having done so. Say yes more, acknowledge and give myself the giant shove I need. I have plans for this blog and my poetry blog….and I am allowing those plans to percolate and crystalize. It is a new adventure unfolding this year….and I am as giddy as my inner child, Donna Marie, to take the first steps wherever they lead.
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.
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