VJ’s Weekly Challenge #102: Pace

“Don’t worry Grandma; I can go at a sloth’s pace!” my granddaughter once reassured me when I confessed that I can’t keep up.

So, I’m a sloth. I like to think I’m more of an old tortoise: lumbering but steady. There was a time when I was the hare: fast, but not always winning the race.

Pacing, chronic illness has taught me, is the secret to making the most out of life.

When I look what is happening in the world, I am discouraged by how slow we are, societally, to embrace change, but maybe even in this there is a pace: a rhythm that makes sense.

This week, think about how pace affects your life.

I look forward to your responses.

Now To Work

Indecision, I’ve come to realize, is where the stress lies – that place between possibility and decisive action. Four nights I didn’t sleep, juggling worries and excitement. Now that we’ve acted, put pen to paper, I am able to make lists, and start the packing process. Exhaustion invites sleep.

“It’s a lot of work!” I exclaim to Ric.

“Necessary but worthwhile,” he reminds me.

Yes. In the end we’ll be happy we did it. And once we sell this house then the fun decisions come: What colours to paint? What kind of window coverings? Where to put the furniture?

The focus this week was decisions, and as always, the contributors inspired me with their posts. Check them out if you haven’t already:

A MULTITUDE OF MUSINGS
I Write Her
radhikasreflection
parallax
Eugi’s Causerie II
Stuff and what if…
Heart to Heart
Culture Shocks
Sanjuna
MMAStorytime
Shilpa Nairy
Sgeoil
one letter UP

(If I missed anyone, please let me know. Not all links are working for some reason.)

See you tomorrow for a new challenge!

VJ’s Weekly Challenge #101: decisions

I love our home. It’s the perfect size for the two of us plus our two doggies. We have all the amenities we need. The only thing that is missing, I confide to a friend, is nature.

For two years, we lived in our 41′ motor home, traversing North America and discovering many wondrous places. Nature was our focus. Prior to that, we lived in a small cottage in the city, with a double lot and large old trees that immersed us in a park-like setting. This current home, set between other similar houses, lacks the view.

Shortly after my confession, Ric came home from a meeting and told me that a house in our neighbourhood, backing onto the ravine and hiking trails, is for sale.

“Are you interested?”

Double doors off the dining area open to a large deck spanning the back of the house. The view is pure green – mature trees and shrubbery, with birdsong and wildlife, and not a house in sight. A sunroom, built on the side of the house, provides four season viewing.

What’s not to like?

The house needs work. It’s larger than our current home, which means more costly. Do we need the added expense just when it seems we were working out a manageable retirement budget?

Oh, but that view.

We’ve been waffling about it for the past few days.

Is this manna from heaven – an ask answered; or temptation that will just create more stress?

Decisions, decisions.

How do you decide when faced with difficult choices? What decisions are weighing at present? I look forward to where this prompt will lead you.

To participate, create a post and link back here.

Pause Perspectives

Is procrastination a pause
or fear seeping in?
Let’s take a moment –
broken silence –
a timely pause …
Reflect
collect our thoughts
leave a seed
and remember
wonder
Be like water
like the squirrel
touch the softness
wave goodbye
to the noise
observe
till the end of this ride.

(This poem is an amalgamation of our collective thoughts on this week’s focus: pause. Thank you for the many inspired posts you shared:)

DOES WRITING EXCUSE WATCHING
Reena Saxena
I Write Her
Eugi’s Causerie 1
Sharing Thoughts
Nova’s Namastè 365 Online
radhikasreflection
Heart to Heart
michnavs
Stuff and what if…
MMAStorytime
Zebra’s Child
parallax
Sgeoil
oneletterUP
Zebra’s Child
paeansunpluggedblog



VJ’s Weekly Challenge #100: Pause

The world is a noisy place at the moment, and rightfully so. The bubble of denial has burst when it comes to systemic racism. As people march in protest demanding change, a virus lurks, threatening further losses. And, I haven’t even mentioned the absurdity of political ranting that seems so inappropriately off base right now.

It is tempting to throw oneself into the fray – emotions running high, intellect chomping for a word – and yet, I fear a loss of grounding. We need calm minds, and clear agendas to guide us in such times.

Passions are ignited. Words and actions have a place. Change is afoot. Let us remember to pause – to quiet the noise – long enough to ensure we are actually making a difference.

May your pauses bring you inspiration this week. I look forward to your responses.

What’s In A Name

What’s her name?
Simple question
from mother to son –
recognizing the love-lifted
joy of his countenance.

I cannot tell, said he,
you’ll ask too many questions.
Do I know her?
No, Mom, she’s Somali.
And Muslim.

I felt my whiteness
and all its privilege
slap me, stumbled

Of course she is welcome,
of course it does not matter.

Had no sense of the depth
of my ignorance, how heads
would turn, and vile strangers
attack, and his father shun them.

And how her own mother
would advise her to take his name
when the day of their nuptials came
so that finding work would be easier.

Had no sense of the depth
of my ignorance, how
everyday matters suffer
unfair scrutiny –

hold them in my heart
and pray, knowing my shield
of whiteness holds no sway
to protect them.

(What’s in a Name first appeared here in February of 2019.  It fits with this week’s focus of privilege. )

Thank you to all who participated in this week’s challenge:

DOES WRITING EXCUSE WATCHING?
PoetryPalette
I Write Her
MMAStorytime
michnavs
COLOURFUL PIE IN THE SKY
parallax
radhikasreflection
Sharing Thoughts
Stuff and what if…
Sgeoil
paensunplugged

See you tomorrow for a new challenge!

VJ’s Weekly Challenge #99: privilege

“A store in town has activity books for the kids; can we go?”

Now that we’ve expanded our bubble, I’m thinking of ways to entertain the grandchildren. I haven’t set foot in a store for three months. The idea excites me.

“Better put on something decent,” I tell Ric laughingly. I pull out a top I bought last summer and haven’t worn yet and throw on a pair of capris. Luckily, they fit.

While we’re in town we pop into the spice shop, and then the hardware store. We wear our masks, only touch what we’re going to buy, and don’t linger near anyone. Armed with purchases, and feeling chuffed that we’ve supported local businesses, we head home.

That’s when I realize I had my pants on inside out.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I moan. Ric glances my way and shrugs – he’s not the most observant.

Then, I laugh. The privilege of being old.

**

And there you have it: your theme for the week. It’s not necessary to use the word ‘privilege’ in your post, and any form of creativity is welcome.

Look forward to your responses.

Heart Full, No Words

“I sleep all night with my eyes closed!”

This from our four-year-old granddaughter in response to the question of whether or not she could sleep at our house.

We’ve expanded our bubble. It came in response to our oldest daughter’s concerns about her child: “She’s not interested in doing anything, won’t eat, can’t sleep, and complains constantly.”

“Sounds like depression to me,” I told Ric.

“It’s been three months and we’re all staying isolated. Let’s invite them here.”

What joy to hold a granddaughter in my arms.

“She’s her old self again,” her mother remarked. “This is what she needed.”

We didn’t stop there. We offered to take the other two.

Three granddaughters, all slightly older, all with so much to share.

We hugged, we laughed, we ate, we played, and in the aftermath, hearts full, bodies exhausted, there are no words.

Just radiant gratitude.

**

This week’s focus has been: no words. Thanks to all the talented contributors. So much to gain and share here:

oneletterUP
parallax
POETRYPALETTE
Sgeoil
SteampunkCowCorn (Absenta, la Fée Verte)
MMA Storytime
radhikasreflection
paeansunpluggedblog
michnavs
Reena Saxena
Heart to Heart
Hearing The Mermaids Sing
Khwabo ka Sapna
I Write Her
syncwithdeep

See you tomorrow for another challenge!

VJ’s Weekly Challenge #98: no words

From my place of privilege, I sit and watch George Floyd beg for breath, call out for his mama, and know that I can never truly understand the plight of another, and that I, by virtue of my whiteness, am part of the problem. I have no words adequate enough to express what I am feeling.

I tried. I sent out an expression of disbelief, of horror, and the response came back: This the best you got, white woman.

The author is correct. The comment deserved. I can turn off the TV and the issue moves into the background of my suburban, peaceful life. And no matter how much that image, and his voice haunts me, I am still safely distanced. Such is the nature of my sin. I am guilty of turning a blind eye; pretending.

Racial profiling doesn’t just happen somewhere else. It happens to young men in my neighbourhood – pulled over every time they go out, because we whitey’s are suspicious. It happens the moment we turn on our screens and watch a crime drama where the perpetrators are men of colour.

And it will continue to happen as long as we are willing to look away.

Today, I feel helpless. Inadequate. Guilty.

Today, I have no words.

***

This week’s focus is inspired by the events unfolding in the news, but is not limited in its scope. There is much in life that leaves us speechless – both tragic and awe-inspiring. This week, think about the moments that leave you searching for words. Responses can be written, photographic, artistic, or musical. I look forward to your input.

To the Man-Boy Who Publicly Declares He Is Not Afraid of Death

And what will you feel
when death,
as you proclaim,
passes you by

Targets
a beloved aunt,
an elderly neighbour,
a nephew with asthma

Will you pause
to ponder your part
express regret
for misplaced pride

Or preoccupied
with your own rights
sporting chest protruding blinders
will you deny accountability?

“The president doesn’t wear a mask”
you pronounce the words as gospel
too young to recognize that choices
have consequences, irreversible

Risks, by nature, require careful consideration
recklessness an unworthy motivator
Reward is in the conquering – fear, doubt
No treasure gained when tragedy ensues.

***

Life is risk, and always there is consequence, and sometimes reward. Risk-reward has been the focus this week and I thank all for participating. My risk is putting out a challenge each week, and the reward is you!

Please check out these wonderful contributors:

Hansel & Gretel – Part 2, I Write Her
Not Yet, MMA Storytime
Memories From Afar, POETRYPALETTE
The woods are lovely dark and deep…, Heart to Heart
Tall Trees, Sgeoil
The Moth, parallax
Volunteering, THE BAG LADY
Patience, one letter UP
Presence Missed, Stuff and what if…

See you tomorrow with a new challenge!