Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

The River


Veiled Dreams Acrylic & Mixed Media ©2014 Louise Gallagher

Veiled Dreams
Acrylic & Mixed Media
©2014 Louise Gallagher

I started a painting. Some might have thought it was done. In fact, one friend did. But it didn’t feel complete to me. It felt like just the beginning.

So I asked for a dream to show me the path, to give me the story to fill it in.

When I awoke, the story began….

On the river, she felt at peace. There was no need to change directions, to shift course. A river never flows backwards and she always felt like the river was moving her in the right direction, no matter where it took her.

There was a tiny part within her, a germ of an idea, a yearning, a wish to be part of the sea of life flowing all around. But the river was seductive. The river held her in its flow, far from shore, always moving. Always flowing towards the sea.

One day, while lying on her wooden raft, drifting upon the surface of the water, she noticed an oar floating towards her. She reached out and caught it as it floated by. She put it on the raft beside her and stared at it. She wasn’t sure exactly how to use it. She wasn’t sure what to do with it. But she liked the design on its wooden handle. She liked the feel of the smooth wood beneath her fingers. And she liked the words carved upon its handle, “Fear robs you of life. Love gives you life. Surrender your fear and fall wholeheartedly into Love.”

She had loved once, and lost. She would never love again, she had decided long ago. She didn’t believe in Love. Didn’t trust it. Love hurt. She was determined to never be hurt again. The light of day gave way to darkness and she fell asleep. Normally on the raft, her sleeps were deep and dreamless. But this night, she dreamt of a great city rising up out of the forest that edged both sides of the river. There were people in the city. They were laughing. Dancing. Singing. They were happy.

She wanted to find them but had to reach the shore. She picked up the oar and began to paddle until eventually, in spite of the river’s pull, her raft bumped up against the sandy beach and she stepped off the raft’s hard smooth surface onto the cool sands. Slowly, carefully, she began to walk through the forest towards the sounds of laughter she could hear far in the distance. As she walked through the forest, birds sang and flitted amongst the trees that were adorned with leaves that shimmered in the sunlight that filtered through the branches. Flowers grew in sunny meadows and deer and other forest creatures grazed on the green, green grasses.

Eventually, she came to the edge of the forest, to the place where a beautiful city of sparkling glass and shiny steel grew up into the sky. Everywhere she looked, people walked and rode bicycles and enjoyed the sunshine and the day. They were happy.

She didn’t understand. How could they be so happy? What were they laughing and singing about? Bemused by all the joy she felt in their midst, she walked from the forest’s edge into the city. What she saw amazed her. People greeted each other with hugs. People shared the food they had, never holding on to more than what they needed to feel complete, enough, full.

Confused by the beauty she witnessed everywhere she looked, she became frightened. She didn’t trust beauty. She didn’t trust people. What if it was all a lie? A dream?

Her fear washed over her. Frightened, she turned to run back through the forest to the river’s edge but the way was blocked. Where once there was a road, a darkness had descended. She turned back towards the city and again there was light and laughter.

She didn’t understand. Looking back, there was only darkness. Looking forward, there was only light.

And then she awoke. Morning had broken. Sunlight streamed down and warmed her skin. She felt the pull of the river dragging her along. She felt the sadness of being adrift begin to descend as her dream began its journey back into the mists of memory.

Lying back against the hard wood of the raft, she reached one hand out to touch the paddle she had rescued from the water the day before. She ran her fingers along the design etched into its handle and felt the ridges of the words inscribed into it. “Fear robs you of life. Love gives you life. Surrender your fear and fall wholeheartedly into Love.”

She remembered the city. The people smiling. The beauty and laughter and joy.

Fear called her back. Fear pleaded with her to let the river keep pulling her out to sea.

But once truth is seen, there is no hiding from it. There is no undoing of truth. The river continued to flow towards the sea, but on this day, with the sun caressing her skin and the birds singing in the trees on the distant shore, she picked up the oar and began to paddle her way towards the shore.

And now, the painting continues, and so does the story.

This is how dreams unfold.

This is how magic begins.

The is where trusting in the process takes me.

This is where creative expression awakens.

Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe in wonder. I believe we are all magnificent beings of divine beauty. I believe we can make a difference in this world, through every act, word, thought. I believe we create ripples with everything we do and say and want to inspire everyone to use their ripple to create a better world for everyone. I'm grateful you're here.

11 thoughts on “The River

  1. Thank you, Louise, for awakening creative expression, in so many ways, in so many places. You are amazing.


  2. I love that story. I love knowing it and looking at the painting!
    Diana xo


  3. That’s the story I saw too! Maybe after you shared it lol. But metaphorically speaking from one writer to another and from two connected souls it sure sounds as if the writer might be just a little bit in love herself! Maybe JUST a little?? 😉
    Because when I am in love I also do my best work;-) and both the story abd the painting are BLESSED and BEAUTIFUL!
    If you sell it, you must include the story! I invision a gallery of your work all with a framed piece of work of your words of interpretation next to each one!


  4. I read an article once written by John Cleese on what is required for creativity (specifically in his case creative writing) and it went something like 1. Time 2. Time 3. Time 4. Time. He was describing the different aspects of time (time to devote each week compared to length of time a project would take in total etc). One aspect he mentioned was to allow for time where nothing is achieved as creativity sometimes takes “time” to come. In those periods you may feel that nothing has been achieved yet it is in those moments of ‘nothing’ that the creative idea begin to flow.


    • So very true Elizabeth. The time — to simply be present without appearing to be doing anything is so critical. Dream time is like that — I’m not sure I work on the paintings so much as I let the paintings work on me and then allow their expression to come through me. Hugs.


  5. Oh thank you, love this post


  6. I am in love with your paintings! I want one!


  7. I wish they had a “love” button. I love your work and your words! Val x


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