Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

Shifting patterns


You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose. Eric Allenbaugh

Mother Earth: Please forgive me 10" x 24"  Acrylic on Canvas 2014 Louise Gallagher

Mother Earth: Please forgive me
10″ x 24″
Acrylic on Canvas
2014 Louise Gallagher

When I was a little girl I was filled with wild enthusiasms, sparks of imagination and bursts of creativity. I was seldom quiet, was in constant motion and asked questions continuously.

A favourite game was to time me to see how long I could stay quiet without asking a question. I usually lost.

In an effort to gain peace from my constant chatter, my family chided me for being so noisy, so bubbly, so chatty. Dinner table talk centered around my father’s opinions and my brother’s counterpoints. There wasn’t much room for a girl to butt in, though I tried. Inevitably, I’d end up swallowing my tears, forcing a smile upon my face and pretending I wasn’t bothered by their ribbing.

Smiling, swallowing and staying silent became a habit. A not particularly healthy one, but one that kept me feeling ‘safe’, even when stepping into danger.

Breaking childhood habits, reordering traits, and rearranging responses is a prerequisite of a happy adulthood.

It’s also, at times, hard work.

You can take the childishness out of the adult but you can’t make the childhood disappear.

My pattern of dysfunction around ‘criticism’ can easily be triggered by my daughters’ responses to what I think of as me being ‘funny’ and then my automatic judgements of what I deem to be their judgements of my behaviour. One incident several years ago was the catalyst for my getting conscious of how my behaviour wasn’t working for me. I had gone to a reading of a play involving my eldest daughter. After the reading, I was goofing around, pretending to mimic my eldest daughter’s character in the play by speaking in a funny accent. As we walked down the stairs from the rehearsal hall, I chattered away in my accented voice, which, in retrospect, knowing my daughter’s serious nature and how passionate she is about any work she’s involved in, could have been deemed as mockery, versus the funny I was attempting to be. . My daughter, conscious of the people on the stairs below us, hushed me up. “Mum. That’s rude.” she said.

My visceral response was triggered by a long ago pattern of feeling less than, of feeling hushed as a child.

I shut up. I sulked.

Not a pretty pattern.

Awareness is the first step in changing any habit, in breaking patterns.

I am aware that my response to any criticism from my daughters triggers my feelings of childhood angst, of feeling belittled and mocked. Of being silenced when all I wanted to do was laugh or play or talk.

Has nothing to do with the circumstances I’m encountering today and everything to do with the trigger points within me.

Martial arts master Sang H. Kim suggest we, “Practice change. Change your hairstyle, change your breakfast cereal, change your jogging route.”

Changing how I perceive criticism begins with practicing accepting criticism in an open state. To be open I must Breathe and ask to be open. To expand, not contract.

Coming down those stairs I let down a wall that was holding me back from being all I desire to be. In my push to ‘be funny’ I was doing the very thing I had experienced as a child — ridiculing the efforts of the people I love.My daughter worked hard on her role in the reading. In my teasing, I was mocking what she did. And, I was embarrassing her by offending strangers with my imitation of the language of the play that happened to be part of their cultural heritage.

I don’t have that right.

On the surface, the pattern here is not my response to her criticism. It is my effort to ‘be funny’ and feeling like I was not allowed to ‘be me’. Beneath the superficiality of ‘being me’ is a deeper, darker need. My desire to be seen, heard, witnessed, honoured and cherished.

As a child, I acted out to gain attention.

As an adult, I sometimes do the same.

Time to break the pattern. Shift it up and switch it around. Time to act in ways that honour who I am and what I want to create in the world around me. As my friend CS often asks, “What’s the ripple you’re creating with that?”

I want to create ripples of calm and peace, love and harmony. To ‘be the change I want to create in the world,’ I must  become the stream, let go of damming up the flow and become vibrantly alive in the repose of being me, exactly the way I am, without fearing no one ‘sees me’.

It’s time to sink beneath the habits that create the ripples on the surface of my life and dig into the flow of what creates the more of all I want to live lovingly in the rapture of now.

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.

14 thoughts on “Shifting patterns

  1. I think it’s so important for kids — especially girls— to learn to speak up. Always love your words of inspiration, even if I don’t get around to commenting each time!


    • Thank you Lisa! It must be dinner time in Moscow now. Hope you have a wonderful evening. did I mention I’m living vicariously through you? 🙂 One of the places I’d love to visit. And yes, speaking up, giving voice, being free to be who we are — it is vital we teach young girls in particular, the gift of their magnificence!

      Enjoy your evening.


  2. Your continuous self-reflection and self-awareness is such a beautiful inspiration for me. Thank you for sharing your struggles, challenges, and determination to live an authentic life of peace and honesty. Love and light to you. xx


  3. I love how you’ve highlighted the importance of the stories we learn about ourselves as a youth. Using your story … acting out was simply a reaction to a need “to be seen, heard, witnessed, honoured and cherished”. A need to overcome some internal story like “I don’t matter”, “I’m not worthy” or “I’m not important”.

    As adults, it is amazing the power these stories (and our polar opposite reaction to the stories) have over us. Yet when we explore into the stories and ask ourselves “is that true for me?” as you have done in this story we unplug that power and can live essentially and “create ripples of calm and peace, love and harmony.”

    Such great insight Louise!!


    • It is such a powerful question to ask Ian — “Is that true for me?” That question always finds me in those places where I lovingly get to see myself — not as the story would have me believe, but as the truth of who I am. And you’re right — it is a polar opposite reaction that is amazing! 🙂 Hugs


  4. I love this and totally relate to it. I enjoy teasing people, not in a mean way, and I feel accepted by the group if they tease me back. But sometimes this teasing has caused hurt like with your daughter being serious. I too don’t take criticism well. I love how Choice’s reframes it as ‘feedback’. Very powerful. I think Thelma Box says ‘our ability to grow is directly related to our ability to give and receive feedback.’

    Through your life and how you have grown you, I am going to paraphrase what the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. When we receive comfort from God, we can then comfort others with the comfort we receive from God. The way I see it, because you are further along on your journey than me, you can shine a light on my path, to make my journey more enlightened.

    When the Wright brothers discovered flight and invented the plane, their plane is certainly not like the planes we have today. Each generation has improved on that initial discovery.

    Thank you for sharing this it really sheds light on how my interaction with the world has been shaped by my environment growing up.


  5. Louise, Thank you so much for sharing your inner journey into the land of childhood hangovers and old control patterns! Its good work, definitely not easy but transformative. The work I have done in the past was around my relationship with my mother, and it inspired me to write a blog on bringing peace to mother daughter relationships. You may want to have a look http://www.MotherWhisperers.com
    Its no longer active but there is some juicy stuff in there for healing ourselves. Val x


  6. When I am in in the place of weakness and feeling low, any advice given to me I take as criticism; whereas when I am in a place of strength and hope, I take the message with its intention of love and care. I love how you use “calm, and peace and love and harmony” to get you to that place of strength.


    • That is so true Elizabeth — if I am out of esteem, everything feels like criticism! I am learning to breathe into the spaces between to find myself where ever I am! Blessings my friend. I love the strength in your words and being in the world.


  7. It takes such bravery to change one thing? Doesn’t it? I solute you for always working, striving to be better, even though you are already awesome! I love watching you on this journey since it is such an inspiration to me!


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