When fear rises up, choose Love.

photo (43)
Not matter the question, the answer is Love.
Journal theme 3

It was a lesson in fear. A window into how fear motivates so much of what I’ve done in my life.

And it was heart-opening, consciousness raising.

I was sharing with Mary Davis, one of the facilitators at Choices Seminars, the story of C.C.’s marriage proposal. “I didn’t like the way I responded,” I told her. “It was a self-defeating game.”

What games did you play? she asked.

They were easy to name. They included. Get them before they get me. Be the problem. Hide behind confusion (and humour). Play small-Act out. And, one of my personal favourites (in a not so good way) when stuck in fear – Don’t think. React.

What do you want Big Picture with C.C.? she asked, gently.

I want an intimate relationship filled with romance and heart-sharing. I want to feel safe being vulnerable. I want to feel like we’re in this together. That we share the ups and downs, the excitements and the pains, the itty bitty moments and the big ones too. I want him to know me, see me, feel my heart beating. And to know him in the same way. And I want to feel safe.

It’s a big one for me. Feeling safe.

I haven’t known it much in my life. I haven’t given myself the opportunity.

Fear has been a big motivator and in my fear I have often run away, acted out, used humour to hide my heart, smiled to minimize my pain, walked away to avoid my sorrow.

It has been playing on my mind since my birthday party when C.C. got down on bended knee and proposed. There were a lot of things I could have done differently to honour his courage in asking me to marry him in front of a crowd of people. Instead, I dissed him. I took that precious moment and made less of it. Not because I ‘wanted to’. I did it because fear leapt up and screamed inside my head, like a siren warning of atomic fallout, “Take cover! Take cover! Hide! Run! Dive!”

Fear is a powerful motivator.

It’s time to let go of fear and choose Love.

It is time to honour C.C.’s love of romance, of surprise, of being spontaneous. Because, in my negative response is the germ of destruction. In my incapacity to move with grace and ease into the moment, I will eventually kill off one of the parts of him I love the most, his capacity to be romantic, full of surprises and spontaneous.

I have been wrestling for the past month to make sense of my response. What motivated me to call him an azzhole? What convinced me that it was okay to make light of such a beautiful and heartfelt moment.

It was fear.

Fear is the opportunity to be courageous.

When fear rises up, choose Love.

I have decided its time to get conscious of my fears and to rise up in Love.

I am choosing to look fear in the eyes, and the belly, so that I can be clear on what I want more of in my life. So that I can live in fearless joy of all that life has to offer when I stand in Love.

A beautiful man asked me to marry him.

There were a lot of things I could have done differently in the moment of his proposal.

That moment has passed but there are still many more to come as we journey together in Love.

And in each moment that arrives I can step out of my fear and open myself up to hope, joy, wonder and Love.

To have better I must do better at staying present, staying conscious, staying aware in the moment so that in everything I do I connect through the power and majesty of Love.

Because, no matter the question, the answer is always Love.

And when fear opens its maw to call me back, I have the power to choose Love.

My choice. My power. My Love.

 

 

Awakening to Life!

I am full. Replete. Satiated.

My heart flows over with love and joy and contentment. My mind dances with thoughts and ideas and memories that warm my soul and enliven my being, present, complete, content.

I have just finished coaching another 5 day session at Choices.

Five days awash in the human journey, connecting, exploring, celebrating.

It is a happy place to be this  morning and though I’m feeling tired, the tiredness pales in comparison to the joy that bubbles up within me.

I just received the gift of five days of being part of miracles unfolding before me. How could I not be happy?

On Wednesday at noon when the trainees walk into the room, I am always intrigued by the wooden, closed off, shut down aspects of our human condition on parade. How do we stray so far from the magnificence of our human being that we condemn ourselves to walk around believing we are not good enough? Undeserving? Unworthy?

What is it in being human that wants to destroy the beauty and magnificence of who we are? What is it that keeps us repeating, again and again, the mean-spirited, undermining things we say to ourselves to keep us playing small? To keep us from living our dreams?

There are many moments in Choices when my heart feels like it might break from the sheer weight of the sorrow and sadness I feel when I witness how dark the human journey has been for some people. How can anyone do those things to a child? How can we keep beating each other up? Tearing each other down? Ripping each other apart? How can we do that?

But we do. Do those things. We do, act those ways. We do, feel worthless. Unworthy. Undeserving.

We do. Tell ourselves, we don’t belong. We don’t fit in. We don’t deserve happiness, love, joy, laughter.

We do. Build walls. Close off our minds. Construct fortresses of self-protection around our hearts. 

We do. Shut down.

It’s not that we mean to. Do those things. Any of them. Hurt another. Hurt ourselves. Shut off. Close out. Back away. Hide. Run. Freeze.

We do those things not to hurt anyone. We do them believing we are protecting ourselves. Keeping ourselves safe. And all the while, in our efforts to protect our hearts and keep our spirits alive no matter how tiny the flicker, we hurt ourselves more and more with every burst of anger, dance with depression, and all the other things we do to fend off our pain.

We build walls around our hearts and don protective armour. We act out in anger. We cut off the blood supply to our hearts to keep from feeling all the pain and sadness, fear and anxiety that we’ve hidden behind our self-deprecating laughter that hides our self- loathing, or the sadness that has driven us into depression. So many things we do because we are afraid that the lies we tell ourselves about our worthlessness are true.

They’re not.

They’re lies. And while they’ve been useful (in a very sad and limiting way) in helping us cope with day-to-day living, they’ve also played a part in driving us into the land of the walking, breathing dead.

Life is too short to believe in lies. To live it in a place where fear holds us back from stepping boldly and bravely into the light of knowing, seeing, being our magnificence.

Life is too precious to live it small. To give up on our dreams. To give into a false belief that what we’ve got is all we deserve. To tell ourselves there is no more for us we may as well settle for less.

Life is all we’ve got to live.

And because it is the all we’ve got to live, we must awaken. We must cast off the fear, the self-loathing, the anxiety and sadness we believe is our lot in life. We must cast it off and awaken to the beauty and wonder and awe of who we truly are, who we are meant to be.

We are magnificent beings of light and love and wonder. We are creative. Caring. Kind. Loving. We are human beings of untold gifts, of great wealth and beauty.

At Choices this past week, I got to experience human beings coming alive to the truth of who they truly are. What an amazing, wondrous and joyous journey it was.

And the best part? The journey isn’t over yet. It’s only just begun. Armed with new sets of glasses, the capacity to see the world differently through eyes of Love not fear, and a tool box full of new ways of being and doing this thing called our human condition, there are a whole bunch more people out in the world today living it up for all they’re worth.

How cool is that!

People living their lives for all their worth, doing it their way!

Choices Seminars: When hearts dance, souls stir

Art Journal Page 2 Sail Free
Art Journal Theme 2
Soul Free

Snow covers the ground, deep, white and pristine, tiny crystals shimmering beneath pools of incandescent street light.

Tree branches hang low, their branches sheltering the earth that lays silently in the dark night soon to awaken with the dawn.

We are in the depths of winter. Snow falls. Drifts. Blows. Swirls. Gusts.

People walk, heads bent low to protect eyes from needlepoint pricks of icy matter blowing into their faces. Children play, rolling balls of snow, bigger and bigger, creating snowmen and other creatures of winter joy.

It snowed all day yesterday. Weathermen cast warnings out into the airwaves, their words filled with harsh warning of treacherous roads. Drivers navigated slowly along snow-clogged streets, while pedestrians tread delicately over slippery sidewalks.

This morning, the storm has passed. The world is still. White. Silent.

It promises to be warm again. Above freezing.

Will the snow melt away? A TV reporter asks the weatherman.

No. It’s all in the angle of the sun, he tells her.  The sun is still too low. No matter the warmth of the air, we need the sun’s rays to melt the snow.

Like the snow, our hearts need bright rays of hope, cheerful thoughts, optimistic thinking to melt the walls we’ve built of hurts and pains and fears that have accumulated over the years of our human journey.

Like the snow waiting for the sun to rise higher in the sky, our hearts need our thoughts to find a different angle, a higher view to break through to our hearts.

I begin coaching in another Choices seminar tomorrow. I delve into the wonder and awe of being part of the miracles that happen every time people come together to experience the ‘what is possible’ when they let go of fear of the unknown and trust in the process of discovery that Choices represents.

The five days will begin as they always do. 80+ strangers will enter at noon, their minds filled with concern, their thoughts filled with fears of the unknown. They’ll be telling themselves stories about why they’re there, or why they don’t need to be there. They’ll be worried that someone will ask them to stand up, share a story about themselves, to speak up, to be seen. Some will be concerned that there’s nothing for them in the room. They’ll tell themselves they’re only their because, their mother, father, husband, wife, brother, sister, friend, boss, told them they had to be. They’ll sit in stony silence, waiting for the first break, the next one, and then the next.

And then slowly, as the journey inward lengthens, the light will begin to break through. Slowly, as the angle steepens, the warmth of the sun will penetrate as its rays grow stronger. With each moment passing, the dark winter of the soul will be unburdened. Light and warmth will permeate the air, hearts will break open and Love will shimmer on every breath. Defences will begin to melt, walls of self-protection will break down, and  it will no longer matter whether they stood up and shared, or sat quietly observing never once speaking out, the Love that fills the room will embrace them. And in Love, all things are possible. Dreams awaken. Hearts dance. Souls stir.

I am coaching at Choices this week. I won’t have much time for posting. I’m off to bask in the warmth of miracles unfolding in every breath, and hearts dancing with every ray of light breaking through the cracks. 

photo (42)I’m off to set my soul free.

It is the theme of the second page of my art journal. I finished both sides last night and share the joy of their creation with you here today.

See you on Monday.

Have a beautiful, heart-filled, soul stirring week! I know I will.

.

Soul-free

My heart is the mirror of my soul.
It is the pure essence of my being.
Light. Love. Joy. Truth.
My soul wants for me to be who I am
even when my ego would have me
believe I am not.
Essential. Evolved. Emergent.
My soul knows all. Sees all.
Is all that I am when I live
the grace of the divine expression
of Love that I am.

                         ©2014 Louise Gallagher

Joy is always present.

photo (41)I have been creating. Painting and collaging and colouring in and scribbling thoughts and ideas on my art journal.

Over the weekend, I’ve finished creating the 6 keys themes of my journal:  Joy. Love. Gratitude. Create. Courage. Freedom.

 

The process of creation is one of mindful meditation, intuitive awareness and allowing the process to unfold. As I stood in the studio last night and looked at all six theme pages laid out, I was in awe of the process. From a blank piece of watercolour paper just over a week ago, to having six colourful and for me, meaningful theme pages completed is pretty amazing and a wonderful reminder of what can happen when I get out of my own way. Rather than look for reasons for it not to happen, I chose to let it happen. And it did.

The opening theme of the book is JOY. Last night, I painted the flip side of the Joy theme page and then, filled it in with thoughts and feelings about joy.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be completing the flip side of each page, and then binding the book together. My thought is that as I move forward I can continue to add theme pages, and/or, create a new book.

photo (35)We’ll see what the process unfolds!  In the meantime, being immersed in this experience is enlightening, fulfilling and peace-rendering. It moves me through a meditative state, embracing me in calmness and … joy.

Joy is always present.

Joy is not something we need to go looking for, to buy, or to uncover. Joy is always present and when we stop seeking it, joy finds us in the spaces where we let go of yearning and wanting and seeking to have and to be anything other than who we are.

Joy finds us in the breath between the worry and anxiety and fear and concern that robs us of peace of mind and harmony.

photo (40)Joy is always present. It’s in every moment, and when we release ourselves from struggling to be at one with the who, what, why and how of being our authentic selves, joy opens us up to the wonder and awe of being present within it.

And in that place, we find ourselves embraced in joy, loving the life we’ve always dreamed of, just the way we are.

When the muse calls… the answer is YES!

Art Journal Page 2 Sail Free
Art Journal Page 2
Sail Free

I painted with a group last night. Five of us in my studio. A team/building, let’s have fun outside the workplace exercise for our communications/fund development team at the Foundation where I work.

It was fun. And unstructured, or as C.C. likes to call my way of doing things, free stylin’. He particularly uses that term for my cooking, and in the case of our time together last night, I definitely was free stylin’ it with elan!

I’d set the tables and supplies up before everyone arrived with wine and snacks. We laid out the food on platters, carried it all downstairs and got to work. I showed everyone ideas on what is possible, we filled up our plates and glasses and got playing.

photo (38)What a blast! It was joy and laughter and sharing and teasing and checkin’ out what others were doing and well, it was just pure fun! Even Ellie got in on the action. She wandered around the room, laying her body down at the latest person’s feet who gave her food and, when no one was looking, she even managed to steal not one, not two, but three cheese buns from the source of Calgary’s best cheese buns, The Glenmore Bakery. 

Sigh. Note to self. Do not put food on Ellie level tables. She no longer has the moral persuasion to not steal it. But then, I’m not sure she’s ever had moral persuasion other than to consume whatever she sees when it comes to food!

All in all. It was an evening of great fellowship, team building and creation. Perfect!

For three hours we laughed and chatted and glued on images and painted over and glittered up and scraped away and toasted our creations with a sip of wine and allowed ourselves to play like children. Cutting and pasting and letting what happens happen.

photo (37)We didn’t solve homelessness. We didn’t put an end to poverty and though we didn’t find the answer to world peace, we did find peace with  each other by celebrating our differences, our uniqueness and our capacity to work together, and have fun! 

My studio became a creative hive last night where amidst the laughter and art-making, five people found themselves in that place where our human condition shines brightest at the core of our creative essence.

************************************

And… my technical glitch has been resolved (I learned something along the way too — use your saved filed to upload to Youtube, and don’t attempt to do it directly from Windows Movie Maker, strange things happen in that space).

Earlier this week, at the top of my post, No Small Significance, I shared a verse I’d written in my journal during the course I took last weekend. The next day I received an email from my amazing friend Max who liked the verse and had written a piece of music for it.

I recorded it, put it on Soundcloud and then, as I fell into sleep on Wednesday night, the thought slipped into my mind to set it to video.

So… I did.

When the muse calls… the answer is YES!

Namaste.

Technical Delays

photo (35)I was all ready to upload a special treat today.  And then… technology ground to a halt and I lost an hours worth of work.

Which means… I’ve got to get running and don’t have time to re-create.

So…. instead. I decided to share what I created last night — my first art journal page…

I’ll work on the re-uploading of my special treat later, or it may appear tomorrow morning.

All depends on what the cyber-gods allow!

Which reminds me… expect the unexpected and you won’t be disappointed!

Oh. and to also — stay unattached to the outcome.  🙂

Wishing you an inspiring day filled with unexpected happenings of the glorious kind!

Do what makes your heart happy…

photo (34)Working in the studio teaches me something every day. Life does that too but the lessons from the studio are often more luminous in their quality to inform and awaken and inspire me to colour outside the lines.

I have started to create an art journal. An art journal is a tapestry of life’s happenings told through visual prompts in a journal style book. Instead of writing out what’s going on, the story is created using mixed media pages of words and drawings and collage. Art journals can be store bought books you cover and craft to your own specifications, or you can create from the ground up.

I decided to create from the ground up. Using an empty cardboard cereal box, I’ve spent the last couple of days creating my cover. 

And here’s what I’ve learned.

  1. Be persistent. There’s no better place to start than where you’re at. There’s no better way to begin than where you find yourself in the process — and every step is the beginning right now of what can be. Don’t quit. Keep moving with it until your heart says, I am happy. 
  2. Think outside the box.  Yup, ’cause in this case there really is a box to work with and unless I see it as more than just a cereal box, it won’t find the possibility of transformation.
  3. Allow. — There is no right or wrong in artful creation. It is meant to feed your soul, not someone else’s. Allow what is asking to appear to appear. Allow magic. Allow possibility. Allow light to enter through every crack.
  4. Be fearless. — Who said you can’t put purple feathers there? You’ve never used a glue gun before? Now’s a great time to start.
  5. Explore. — See the possibility in everything. For hoarders this is a great one! Because seriously… there’s possibility in everything! That’s not an old Christmas card. That’s not a useless piece of ribbon to discard… What if and I wonder if… are two great questions to ask when creating a journal. I wonder if… this will stick to that?… What if… I cut out that butterfly from the box my new mascara came in and paste it here?
  6. Stay unattached. — Just as there is no right or wrong way, judging yourself, your work, your creation is self-defeating. And anyway, there is no end point until you say so. If you don’t like where it’s at, keep going. If you don’t like that there, move it, paint over it, cover it up.
  7. Breathe.  No matter what, keep breathing. Deeply.  Continuously. Stay conscious of your breath. Remind yourself to relax. Your shoulders. Pelvis. Stomach muscles. Neck. Face. Smile even! This is fun. Allow your inner child to come out and play and create and explore and enjoy!
  8. Dare Boldly. Unhook your self-critic. Unleash your inner muse. Leap and don’t go looking for a net, let your wings unfurl. 

I’ve never made an art journal from a cereal box before and at first, my mind was stuck in ‘doing it right’. I wanted in fact to quite many times. Right from the beginning. I’d decided to put three words on the cover as prompts for me to remember to always DARE. INSPIRE. CREATE. I messed up. I wanted them to be raised and the paint was too runny and dripped. Ugly, my critics mind howled. I thought about ditching the whole thing but decided  to keep going. I didn’t want to scrape them off — I’d let them dry too long and scraping off would rip the paper I’d used to cover the cereal box.

My daughter Alexis taught me a great lesson in painting many years ago — if you don’t like it, paint over it, she told me one day as I wailed about an unsatisfactory result. That definitely worked here. I decided to cover up the words with the photo from a Christmas card I love. Hmmm… the words made the collage bumpy. Not nice. Want to quit. I kept going. Pasted on some butterflies. Used some sheer fabric, metallic spray paint and a stencil. Border tape. More painting over. Stencil some hearts with shimmer dust. A cutout flower. Couple more. Hmmm…. not so bad. Keep working it.

Okay. We’re happy now. It’s not a masterpiece but for a first crack, it makes my heart happy.

And that’s what it’s all about. To stretch my heart muscles and stir up my creative juices to get me to that point of feeling proud, satisfied, happy, content, mystified by the process and in awe of the magic of creation.

Which is why I then collaged in the word AWE.

Because as I cleaned up my brushes and put away my supplies, I felt awe descend. I’d started with barely an idea of what I was creating, and in the process was reminded once again that it’s not the destination that matters, it’s not the end product that makes a difference. It’s the process.

Which brings me to Lesson 9 —

9. Trust in the process.  Trust in the process, allow magic and Have Fun! Do what makes your heart happy!

I did and I’m grateful!