Gobsmacked Goodness


My blogging friend Michael posted something recently that has me gobsmacked.  I love that word…British slang for astounded or astonished.  Not knowing if it was dictionary-worthy or not, I needed to check it out.  Yep, it’s an actual adjective, not a made-up word that my wayward mind summoned, just because.

I’m digressing a tad, but I wanted you to know It WAS the word that popped to mind when I read one of Michael’s recent posts. Gobsmacked was the feeling that rode along as I absorbed Michael’s perspective and it’s stuck with me (his message and the fun word!) because it put my squeaky wheels in motion. I still feel gobsmacked by the wisdom within his post, Joyful, joyful we adore thee but…I promise never, ever to use the “G” word again.  Well, I’ll try, anyhow. 😉

Here’s What Shook Me…Michael Wrote:

“It’s not unusual to find people throwing open their curtains and blinds early every morning, look out across the expanse of gray from frigid sky above to salt stained snow below, and greet the morning with a hearty, “oh hell no,” and climb back into bed. But overlaying that gloom a light shines. That light is the sun. For as cold and gray and gloomy the outside world is at this time of year, it is also growing daylight, extending evening, building hope as we finally have proof positive that longer days are coming.”

Can I be honest?  Michael had me at ‘oh hell no’.  There are days…where my very own mountain of molehills is substantial.  The pesky conundrums and mini-catastrophes, I swear, proliferate overnight.  Waking with the same headache I went to bed with, along with heartless harpies in the form of new worries? Grrr.  And then some. 

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re plagued by gray days this time of year.  I  long for light and I know I’m not alone.  As much as I cherish the midwestern, predictable cadence of changing seasons, I must admit that the endless ‘dark days’ do little to perk up my beleaguered attitude.  Sunshine matters, fresh air matters and both can be hard to come by for a few months every year.

Enter Michael’s pithy post.  He didn’t sugarcoat matters.  His ‘oh hell no’ reminded me that I’m not alone, but it also reminded me that longer days are within reach and that light IS there, it’s just muddled by the gloom that characterizes winter.  Perspective.  Yep – that’s just what I needed to hear, so I thanked Michael – but I’d like to thank him again 😉 for an additional insight, prompted by his words. Blogging buddies are the best!

Michael’s post reminded me that I tend to block negativity when I would do better to embrace and gently confront it.  It doesn’t hurt to acknowledge the sunless days that carry gloom.  I see you, grayness and shroud, but you won’t be around forever.  If I look, the glimmers of growing daylight, as Michael said, ARE there. 

I’ve been re-reading Susan Cain’s Bittersweet, in part due to my loathsome habit of speed-reading, my compulsion, especially when a volume resonates, and I consume too voraciously. Is literary indigestion a thing?  I think it is…my bad habit of reading/gulping. Everything goes down so well, but it’s consumption without savoring.

In my eagerness as I fly though a piece that speaks to me, I annotate like a crazy woman, mercilessly marking up beloved books, leaving a trail for a return visit when I slow down for a more soulful, languishing read.  I’m doing that now and Cain’s explanations of sorrow and longing, the rich examples she provides, are filling in gaps in my ever-evolving checkerboard of self-understanding. 

People often remark about my resiliency, my relentless sunny disposition, despite (or because of?) the losses and dramas in my life.  I don’t think I’m unique, but I recognize (and excuse the therapeutic reference) that I’ve ‘done my work’.  Yes, indeed.  How did I get here?  I believe Cain described it best. Joyfulness can come from a willingness to usher in sorrow, in order to prompt happiness…to send soul and spirit soaring…as paradoxical as that may seem.

In “Bittersweet” Cain shares an endearing story about a two-year old boy who’s clearly an old soul, overcome by Moonlight Sonata when he hears it for the first time.  If you’ve not seen the video, it’s worth a peek. When Cain described the impact, her own feelings about ‘sad’ music, she wrote,

“Upbeat tunes make us want to dance around our kitchens and invite friends for dinner.  But it’s sad music that makes us want to touch the sky.” 

Which brings me back to Michael’s wisdom.  Even the most somber, overcast sky can herald light and hope.  We just need to reach, strive for awareness so that we, too, might ‘touch the sky’.

Vicki 💕

Please visit my personal blog at www.victoriaponders.com And if you want to follow me, you can find me on Instagram: @victoria.atkinsongroup


45 thoughts on “Gobsmacked Goodness

  1. I want to read Bittersweet. Cain’s book about introverts was brilliant so I anticipate the same sort of insights with it. I agree with the quote you pulled about “Joyfulness…can… usher in sorrow, in order to prompt happiness” because it’s only in balance that you can find yourself. Life is a paradox for those willing to accept the challenge.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ahh…I love that, Ally! Yes — Cain’s “Quiet” felt like it was written FOR and ABOUT me! I’m glad you liked it, too. And wowzers…yes…life as a paradox — but we need to find our way to accept the challenges. Great point. Happy Sunday, my friend! 😉😉😉

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  2. Wonderful post, Vicki! I think the saying is very true: the grass is always greener on the other side. Here in Phoenix, the sky is clear, the sun is blinding, and I would give anything for a gloomy grey morning. Tradsies? Cain’s Quiet resonate SO deeply with my, but Bittersweet didn’t strike me the same (though I think I’m the type she’s writing about), so I’ll need to pick it up again sometime. The anecdote about Moonlight Sonata made me chuckle… it’s a beautiful piece; however, we’ve been staying with my in-laws for 11 months, and it’s the only song my FIL plays, in 1-hour intervals, 3 times per day. After 1,000 hours, “touching the sky” is NOT how I would describe the feeling the song invokes hahaha! 🤣😂🤣

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    1. Oh my goodness…that sounds like torture, Erin — you’ll need to fill us on as to why Moonlight Sonata is played on repeat that way? Uplifting…to a point…but??? And yes to the ‘tradsies’, LOL, except the snow this morning IS pretty picturesque — like frosting – so I shouldn’t complain! And yes…I hear you about “Bittersweet”. There were parts where I skipped around a bit, as it felt occasionally repetitive…maybe just a teensy bit forced? xo and Happy Sunday! 🥰❤🥰

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      1. Oh…oh…oh! I missed that part — that he’s the pianist. Gotcha. Oh my. Reminds me of when our daughter was young…she loved piano but the repetition is A LOT. I’m with you now! 😂😊😂

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  3. Thank you for such kind words and inspiration Vicki. You gave my words a beautiful clarity. I too love the quote about joy ushering in sorrow to prompt happiness. Maybe it’s just in my own screwed up life but my greatest happinesses didn’t show up until I first tasted life’s most bitter sorrows. Keep reaching for the sky!

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    1. Appreciate you, Michael — your post was so lovely…and I’m with you. As much as we don’t want to deal with the messy, sorrowful stuff, it’s a part of my journey, too. Thanks again for being an inspirational blogging friend! 😘😘😘

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  4. Bittersweet is on my tbr and I’m guessing I’ll read it sooner rather than later. I often say that getting out of bed every day and getting dressed is a real victory that people don’t give themselves enough credit for

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    1. LA — yes! I agree. Just greeting the day – in whatever way we can – is a great first hurdle to clear. Here’s to cheering one another on with all of those seemingly small victories. Sending hugs – hope you have a great day today! 😘

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  5. Thanks for your thoughts, and Michael’s thoughts as well, as you speak to the juxtaposition between positivity and that dreaded word: negativity! I think I’ll put Bittersweet on my TBR list Vicki. I found a great deal of wisdom in Quiet- originally recommended to me by Colorado daughter who found it to be her anthem when trying to understand herself as a teen/young adult. I find myself now in bittersweet moments that come out of nowhere and wonder- Is it my age? Is it my growing awareness of a not so stellar childhood? Is it still a nagging let down after divorce? Is it the simple memory a song evokes? I know when I have those moments, usually accompanied by tears that often seem overwhelming my first reaction is to be stoic and hustle the feelings off while everything within is saying “sit with this and ask why”. When I do embrace those moments there’s usually a light bulb flashing on at the end!

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    1. Oh, Deb! Thank you for sharing. I also felt Quiet helped me understand aspects of myself. So good! I’ll be interested in what you think about Bittersweet. Most of all, thanks for sharing that you, too, have bittersweet moments…and I love that you often receive a lightbulb of insight from them. Xo! ❤️

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  6. There’s so much to love about this, Vicki! From Brian’s post (so good!), to not blocking negativity – but as you said, to “embrace and gently confront it.” Powerful stuff there, as it allows us to move past and forward, and to make room for the sunnier parts of life. As to Cain’s works, I’ve never read them, and am tempted to head to the Kindle store right this second. But alas, I’ll have to learn vicariously for now. I can NOT add one more book to the ones I’m already reading. 😆 Which reminds me – the indigestion is a real thing. Love how you phrased that. Thank you for all of this, Vicki! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kendra! Michael’s post was so real, from the heart. It helped me put some other pieces together — the best of what we do for one another as blogging buds! Appreciate you! 😘😉😘

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  7. What a beautiful post, Vicki! Your writing, your wisdom from Bittersweet and Michael, evokes an image of a cycle for me. If we never allow the downs, we can’t go full circle to the ups. It’s a hard lesson for me, one I’ve resisted for many years so I appreciate feeling the comraderie with you! Wonderful post! ❤ ❤ ❤

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  8. From where I stand, the down moments can motivate us. Unfortunately, the darkness of the sky is not only a signal of coming brighter days in the Midwest, but a climate change report card with a failing grade.

    It was not always so. Winter within living memory offered brightness as well as shortened days painted in gray. Yes, spring and warmth will come and make me as happy as the next guy, but if we want to recapture a fading world, it is best for all of us to recall Rilke’s admonition to each of us, applicable to a climate change he did not experience in his time: “You must change your life.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for this, Dr. Stein. The impact of climate change and as you said so poetically — describing once upon a time winters as having “brightness as well as shortened days painted in gray”. I feel the urgency and love this call to action – to “recapture a fading world”. Indeed. Grateful for your comment! 😊

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  9. My first reaction before I even started reading was “Yay gobsmacked!” My favorite word—please keep using it! My last last reaction was wiping away tears while watching that adorable little guy listening to Moonlight Sonata. In the middle, I was with you in “oh hell no” mode. But at my age, I’ve discovered that for me, “oh hell no” means yeeha!! A gray day is good reason to park myself in ye olde lazy girl, hunker down, and suck my thumb into oblivion. I love it! And finally, there’s a great analogy here about morphing from dark to light—which is exactly what we’re doing during this tremendous time of planetary shift. Before I go, I’d like to pass on a little message to fellow lightworkers: AMP IT UP! The world needs more light. Let light and joy reign, even in the face of the gray. 💕

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Julia! Yippee — both for your treasure trove of sweet comments and your love of ‘gobsmacked’. I really wondered if it was one of my many “Vicki-isms” – my made-up words. (I love doing that and I suspect you do, too!) And yes…dark and light and learning to park on the days when you feel like doing so. Love that! Most of all, thanks for taking a look at the video — it’s been around, I think since 2018 – but it still ‘gets me’ every time. And cheers to lightworkers, everywhere. Time’s a wastin’…get to it, people! Or as you said — AMP it up. Yes, yes! I’m with you! Hugs and love…and lots of light! xo! 🥰💕🥰

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    2. I like these words that carry so much emotion with them, so I’m with you “yay gobsmacked” 🙂 Isn’t it better to express how one feels rather than say something like “My blogging friend Michael posted something recently that [was nice to read].” Which version conveys how you feel about it, the gobsmacked one or the “nice-to-read” one?

      There’s no contest there. I love that you felt strongly about it and were able to convey it to us, too: thank you!

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      1. Another oopsie—twice in one day! That last “yippee” had a mind of its own, pushed the post button, and left the rest of itself behind, which was—yippee, gobsmacked, Vicki-isms—it all makes for fun and interesting reading so bring it on! That’s quite enough from me for now!

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  10. Lol … I guess there are words in every regional/national dialect that are different. Words we use we take for granted … gobsmacked being one. I sometimes wonder if words I use are local to Scotland or more international 🤔

    I’ve got a copy of Quiet on my bookshelf, but not read it yet. I suspect that might be about to change.

    There are so many good things in your post, Victoria, it was a pleasure to read 🩷

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    1. Thank you, Brenda! Both you and Julia are helping me with my vocabulary today! 😉 Yes to differences around the world…language is fascinating and without my dictionary look-up and you and Julia chiming in, I was still a little doubtful that I was using the word properly. (And…I may not be able to stop using it — it’s such a good one — but is it actually used much in Scotland?) As for Quiet — I hope you read it and like it. I can’t wait to hear what you think. Most of all, thanks for reading and for your kind comment. I always look forward to reading comments from you – here and all around the blogging spaces we frequent. xo and big smiles! 😘😘😘

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      1. Yes we use gobsmacked in Scotland, but we also use “gob” quite a bit in Scotland to mean mouth, so definitely use it. I guess you could use flabbergasted in a similar context

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  11. Yup, one of those words you read and it knocks you off your feet, that’s it. Gobsmacked! Now I’m jealous that I haven’t been able to figure out how to use it seamlessly. I’ve definitely started to see it more and more. Cool! Loved to the usage of “oh, hell no” too!” As I’ve written, I need the sun. I’m doing a little self-diagnosing here, but I’m pretty sure I suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Need the sun or I go crazy. You give me the pathway forward though: embrace and gently confront it.

    And yes, you’ve added another book to my list. I have a few guilty pleasures on my nightstand and I’ve just added James Pennebaker’s Opening up by Writing it Down and Susan Cain’s new one needs to be there too. If anything like her first, it will be a challenge to put down. My plan to get through the gray days this winter: embrace and confront it, mix in a little bit of my son’s military wisdom (It is what it is), and add a little bit of sports and lots of reading. You rock Victoria. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No….YOU rock, Brian! 😉Thx much — yes — Quiet was an awesome read and I got a lot out of Bittersweet, too. As you said, too many books, not enough time! And cheers to your son’s wisdom! I like it – he sounds smart like his papa! 😘😉😘

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  12. We’ve had maybe 2 days of sunlight this month and the forecast shows gray days leading up to January 31. I hear you and Michael on the oh hell no and clinging to the hope for sunnier days. But the sun is there, hiding behind the gray, waiting to poke its head and rays out once again.

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    1. Ah…Ab! YOU are a ray of hope and light! Appreciate the reminder…the sun WILL shine again…but wow…you’ve been experiencing plenty of gray days, haven’t you?! Maybe Feb 1 will usher in a little sun ☀️ — here’s hoping! 😉

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  13. Literary indigestion is real! 🙂 I can relate to loving a book so much that I go through it too quickly.

    I usually actually enjoy gray days but I’ve had enough of them recently- and we haven’t had any snow here either- just rain and gloom- but Michael is right.

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    1. Thx, Todd — good to know I’m not the only one who zooms through good books! And yes, that whole “misery loves company” business? Seems like there are a few of us in the gloom, glum club! 🤪

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