stratus

by vickie takei

The water is sparkly like diamonds

the wind supplies a constant source of playfulness on top of the water.

Birds are flitting and flirting among the trees

hobnobbing generous bird feeders full of easy snacking from homes of hibernating humans.

The Winter Rose dons her crown jewels of bloom in the sunshine in varying degrees of color.

I spot one bloom with a brave lone and hungry bee gathering food in the dead of winter.

Too slow to snap a photo of this little guy

he flies as if drunk or half-asleep

– able to get to another bloom before I am able.

The oak trees still hold onto their crispy light brown leaves

and there is a constant low rustling of a paper sound

they seem to be able to emit like rays of sunshine never end.

Where is that little bee’s hive?

How does he know to come out of its snowbird home to forge for food at this time of year?

Many trees are pure outlines of limbs against the Carolina-Blue sky

and there is layer of low white clouds that appear to have been chopped right across the top to create a flat

surface for the entire span of the horizon.

These clouds are so low and faraway the are actually below the tree line.

Squirrels continue to roam and scour ninja-like and are the epitome of tenacity,

never giving up.

 I witness their acts of flight more easily

now that the cover of the canopy of trees have disappeared.

There are red berries in patches in the woods.

 The glorious Golden Hour of Summer seems to linger all day long…

At 1pm the sun shines like an 8:30 sunset at the beach on an never-ending summer.

Shadows long.

Light spreads like a large homemade picnic blanket on a warm day.

The trees appear to be dancing, swaying, resting, prepping for the seasons that lies ahead.

150-200 feet high evergreens and pine trees.

They have done this song and dance for some many years

and hold wisdoms and history that allow them to appear

not to fret

about their past,

or their future, but

live in the moment and sway, not snap.

Dear Tired Mama,

One day you will miss this. I promise. So, tired mama, today as you race around town from activity to activity, as you whip together snacks, meals, send in treats for your children’s class, as you sit in carpool, while you sit in the car waiting for them to come out, while you wrap presents at midnight, as you bake cupcakes for the class, clean the house, as you continue to drain your wallet to fund their lives, as you worry if they are ok, as you wait for them after curfew, as you drive them to 5am sports practice on weekends, as you worry about their broken heart, as you wait for them after curfew, as you throw away the milk container left in the fridge with no milk left inside for the 100th time, as you grocery shop, as you grocery shop, as you grocery shop, as you make doctor appointment after doctor appointment, as you lecture, as you listen, as you replace the toilet paper roll, fill the gas tank, ignore your teenager’s rolling of the eyes, fight over pee-pee in the potty or cleaning up accidents in their pants, bathing, picking up toys, falling into bed exhausted, reading Good Night Moon for the 6 millionth time, as you do “one-two-three” swing with our partner till your arm aches, cleaning sticky fingers, sticky couches and sticky floors, doing laundry, folding tiny clothes day after day after day, when you hold your breath as they drive away in the family car solo for the first time, as you beg your teenagers to get to bed before midnight, as they take off with friends to a party, as you clean up glitter off the floor, as you half asleep stumble to their crib to feed them again, you will miss this. I promise.

Living with Soul

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum – Or, maybe it was on the way to 2021?

Sitting quietly reflecting on 2020 and what I desire most for 2021, I heard my word for the New Year – Soul. 2021 wants Soul. Living from our core, our center, our heart. Living from Soul – is this the same as Purpose? Is purpose a noun? A verb? Is our purpose something we get to define or is it the day-to-day actions of how we do everything? Is purpose passion? Does our Soul express through purpose? Is there a universal purpose we all come in with different expressions ultimately oriented toward the same purpose? A meaningful life? Evolution of the human spirit? Perhaps there is no one answer, perhaps we will never know, but it sure is fun to entertain.

I am always delighted by the way once you make a grand declaration or statement, “Honey, I am quitting my job and we are running away to Costa Rica!” The universe almost immediately pricks up its ears like a deer in the woods and says, “Ok…let’s do this!”

One of the blessings in life, I believe, if you are granted, is to continue the roller coaster of life into the second half of life. It has been said the 50’s and 60’s can be the reward for those who have “done their work” in their 40’s. I am starting to believe that. The load starts to lighten. Control is abdicated. Surrender is sweet. There is an ease.

For the last 4 or 5 years I have felt my usual modus operandi of living out loud shift more inward into a season of “personal wintering.” I have always been a fan of the dark, winter, cold, silence but recently it has been my habitat. With the turning of the calendar this year, I felt my season slowly shifting, like the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere return to the sun after the Winter Solstice to a warmer place.

So, my word came clearly. “Soul“.

Living from Soul. Living from the Heart.

And, then the Universe began her gifting.

Continue reading

You’re Actually Doing Good!

Have you felt distracted and unable to focus more than usual in the last two weeks/months? Check.

Have you felt down or sadder that usual in the last two weeks/months? Check.

Have you had difficulty focusing or concentrating in the last two weeks/months? Check.

Have you found yourself eating more or less than normal, drinking to excess and/or participating in activities like these more than usual in last two weeks/months? Double check.

Have you found yourself having either difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual in the last two weeks/months? Check.

How about you?

These were some of the new screening questions I completed prior to my annual doctor well-check yesterday. Honestly, I was thankful for the inquiry. While driving to my appointment, I was thinking about how to raise the topic with my doctor –  about how I have been feeling “off” and wondering if maybe I needed a little help with the difficulty I have been having concentrating – my more than normal fatigue and exhaustion at times and this overall feeling of anxiety that seems to be a constant companion lately. I am usually a pretty positive person with a lot of energy and stamina, but, not lately.

My doctor came in and I could tell she had read my intake and said, “so, what’s going on?” She listened as I shared my experiences with Covid, raising teenage daughters, anxiety over the state of our country and upcoming elections, cancelled plans & trips, uncertainty for future, isolation from friends and family, going through menopause, homeschooling our children, inability to travel…

After listening, she asked, “do you still find joy in anything?” What a great question! Do I still find joy in anything?

I said, yes! I still enjoy my morning walks, journaling, happy hour sunset booze canoe cruises with my man, fall leaves/light and although I rarely watch T.V. our family has discovered a series called Schitt’s Creek and we are loving it.

She smiled and said, “you’re actually doing good!”

I’m actually doing good? Do go on…

She went on to say nothing about right now is “normal” and that if she had to guess 95% of her patients that have come in over the last few months feel exactly the same way.

To NOT feel distracted, overwhelmed, tired, fatigued, unfocused and maybe down is the exception. It’s ok – you’re actually doing good. This provided me with some context, validation, and peace of mind to know I wasn’t alone. These are extraordinary times. So many people are dealing with all the normal stressors of life – marriage, kids, money, jobs, deaths, births, and change ON TOP of a world gone up-side-down and we are all doing ok.

We know that whatever this looks like on the other side, we will learn, grow, evolve, and change. We will mourn some of the losses and embrace what works better for us as a society. So, for now, ask yourself “what still brings me joy?”  And, do that.

If you feel nothing brings you joy. If you feel so down and dark that you see no joy, light, hope or future – seek support. There are professionals, friends, family and support groups to partner and support you through these times.

You’re not alone. We are in this together, friends. We are doing good.

Until next time, RockonLIVING,

Vickie

Have A Plan

Regardless of the November election outcome, there is going to be a huge group of people feeling angry, hurt and perhaps depressed. This is assuming the results are considered legitimate and one of the candidates acquiesces to the other. We know this could go on for weeks, weeks…

The phrase “have a plan” has been circulating around this election cycle in regard to having a plan to vote – it may be time to “have a plan” for the results. Be proactive. Time to start thinking through things you will do after the election to best cope with whomever our country decides to put in office.

This post comes inspired after a family discussion at dinner the other night about “having a plan” if our party should “lose” – how we can be proactive in handling the results.

I, and many others, found ourselves ill-equipped to handle the feelings we experienced following the 2016 election. In addition, this election is also having an impact on my three teenage daughters and many of their friends. They are engaged, paying attention, have strong opinions and wishes for this election. Although few of them can vote, they are invested.

Even in “good times” election cycles can feel noisy, divisive, loud.

2020 has been unlike any other year, right?

Many of us would not describe our country in “good” times – maybe more like transformative times.  Transformative into what? This is a question mark. We know and can feel we are “in” it – but time will tell where we land.

Each family/person has coping strategies unique to what fill them up and now is the time to get your creative juices flowing!

To help get you started,  here are some things we came up with to help us move forward “win” or “lose” in just a couple weeks:

Social Media & Network News Pause

Win or lose, our family has decided to:

Take a social media break for two weeks following the election to give our nation’s and personal collective emotions time to cool a bit.

To hold space and grace for others and how they will be processing their experience. Respect it – it is personal.

In addition to a social media pause, we will turn off network news, be sad/happy, cry/laugh, talk, be angry – feel all the feels.  We will process in private. The processing may be similar in some ways when a family suffers a loss– you grieve – in private – with the people you love and trust. We will hold space for one another.

Focus on Home and Comfort

I have committed to having good food, meals and snacks ready – comfort food – we will bake –  we will put up our Christmas Tree – listen to Christmas music – we will make Christmas gifts – fill out Christmas Cards – we will start watching Christmas movies.

We will enjoy hot chocolate.

We will sit by our fireplace and play games.

We will write our Senators and House of Representatives and share our thoughts, feelings and wishes for our country moving forward.

We will request family members whom voted for the other party refrain from engaging us in conversation, for now. Give us space.

We will create art.

We will sleep more, rest more.

We have invited friends that are life-giving over to our home already, now, to be together for dinner.

We have made a two-week calendar and scheduled activities centered around home – bonfires, outdoor movies, binge watching old movies (Harry Potter, Star Wars, High School Musical), revisiting some of our favorite childhood Pixar and Disney movies, spend time outdoors, learn how to make homemade soy candles and ride bikes at our art museum.

We will daily give thanks for all we are grateful for.

We will journal.

We will light candles of hope.

We will host a gathering of hope at our home with friends/family grieving or celebrating to show love and light and support for our country’s future.

We will commit to volunteering in organizations or in ways that reflect our hopes and wishes for our country.

We will continue to explore the idea of leaving the United States to live abroad. This is a tough one for our family. I have a hard time even typing it, but in the spirit of transparency and honesty this is a conversation in our home with our teenagers lately.

We will read the words of Martin Luther King Jr and explore ideas of nonviolent activism and how that will look in our home.

We will choose love.

The election is around the corner. Being ahead of the outcome, may be one way to help us move forward.

Be proactive. Brainstorm and make your plans now. Talk to the people you love and come up with your plan on how you want to handle this November’s election.

Gather all supplies NOW so they are ready to roll the day after election.

Being ready is a key step – don’t wait until you are in it – have everything ready to roll!

Even if your party “wins” or the election is not having as much of an impact on you, many of these activities are awesome and something to enjoy during the cooler months and isolation of the pandemic and the end of year holidays you may celebrate.

Much love and light to you all.

Here is a song my beautiful brother-in-law sent to me – a most hopeful anthem called “Love Will Find A Way” by Mike Love & artists.

Until next time, RockonLIVING friends!

Vickie

The Promise

“The Promise” by Tracy Chapman

If you wait for me
Then I’ll come for you
Although I’ve traveled far
I always hold a place for you in my heart

If you think of me
If you miss me once in awhile
Then I’ll return to you
I’ll return and fill that space in your heart

Remembering
Your touch
Your kiss
Your warm embrace
I’ll find my way back to you
If you’ll be waiting

If you dream of me
Like I dream of you
In a place that’s warm and dark
In a place where I can feel the beating of your heart

Remembering
Your touch
Your kiss
Your warm embrace
I’ll find my way back to you
If you’ll be waiting

I’ve longed for you
And I have desired
To see your face your smile
To be with you wherever you are

Remembering
Your touch
Your kiss
Your warm embrace
I’ll find my way back to you
Please say you’ll be waiting

Together again
It would feel so good to be in your arms
Where all my journeys end
If you can make a promise
If it’s one that you can keep
I vow to come for you
If you wait for me

And say you’ll hold
A place for me in your heart.

A place for me in your heart. 

Until we meet again mom, Happy Mother’s Day.

Miss you every single day.

Vickie