Listen to the moon rising

Years ago, (in my 20s) I wrote a a book of poetry I called, “Footprints in Melted Snow”.

It was an out-pouring of my sorrow, confusion, angst, grief, fear, hope…. of not knowing who I was, what I wanted, why I wanted, how I wanted, or even if I deserved to have whatever it was that I wanted, in  my life.

I had married young. It didn’t last. I knew even before I stepped into the church that marrying this man, even though he was a good man, was not the right thing for me to do.

And I did it anyway.

There was a lot of pressure to do it. To commit and though deep inside I knew I wasn’t in that space of making such a lifelong commitment, I succumbed to the pressure.

Months later, I was sick with unhappiness and worst of all, I hated myself.

What is wrong with me, my critter kept asking. Why can’t I be happy?

It wasn’t about him. It was all about me.

One evening, just after I’d started a new job and was working late on my first really big project, my parents and brother and his wife arrived for a visit. My parents lived in Europe at the time so having them come to visit was not like they could just drop in anytime.

But I was hurt.

They had arrived two weeks earlier and gone to visit my one sister’s in-laws who lived an hour away and not come to visit me. They had gone to visit my brother and his wife, and not come to visit me.

And then they announced their arrival and I was working.

I told them where the hidden key was and that I would be home as soon as I could get away. I told them I had steaks in the fridge and all the fixings and to make themselves at home.

When I arrived home, they were sitting around the dining room table eating take-out and drinking.

My father and brother loved their scotch. So did my then husband. We always had a bottle of the ‘good stuff’ in the house. It was almost empty.

My mother and sister-in-law were sharing a bottle of wine and I arrived in the midst of a conversation about… me.

What I was doing in my life that they didn’t like. How I was thinking I was so uppitty and better than everyone else.

I was taken aback. Stunned. Surprised.

Why did everyone else have so much to say about my life? What had I done to any of them to make them think I was such a horrid person?

And I said nothing.

I sat for awhile and listened because they told me what they were telling me was for my own good. Eventually, I told them I was going to bed. I had heard enough.

But even in bed, I couldn’t drown out their voices so I got up and told them that they were welcome to stay but they were not welcome to keep talking about me in that way. I didn’t deserve that and if they wanted to keep doing it, they would have to leave.

They left.

And thus began my journey into discovering “Who am I?”

I couldn’t understand why my own family didn’t like me. I didn’t understand what I had done to hurt them all so badly.

I left my marriage shortly after that. There were a host of reasons for my leaving but mostly, it was because I knew that when I stepped into it, I didn’t know who I was and I most definitely didn’t love myself. In knowing that, I knew I had to find me before I could drag someone else into the mess I saw as my life.

I learned a lot through that process. I learned about self-love. About inner strength, inner truth and beauty.

And I learned about compassion.

I long ago let go of having to forgive anyone for what happened back then. Not one of us set out to intentionally hurt they other. We were simply acting out from where we were at. And we were all carrying a lot of pain. In letting go of telling myself I had to get to a place of forgiveness, I was freed to move into the truth of what I found.

It is as Eleanor Roosevelt said so long ago, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

I have started to work on a new book. It is called, “If I Had Known Then.” It was inspired by my eldest daughter who read my list of “10 Things I would tell my 10 year old self‘ and said, “Mom. It’s so beautiful. You need to make it into a book.”

I like the idea.

I have started working on an art journal using each of the ‘things’ as a theme for each page.

And, I went back to the poetry book I wrote so many years ago and am going to use some of the poems as touchstones to connect me today to the me I was back then and the truth I’ve found in living my life now in the beauty and wonder of all that I am when I speak my truth fearlessly in love with all of me and the world around me.

This is my life. It is a journey through Love. Hope. Joy and Compassion.

I’ll be sharing poems from the book as I move through it and wanted to share this one with you today.


Listen to the Moon

©Louise Gallagher

I painted a picture
of time
but couldn’t find
the words
to describe
of moments
Cast upon the sand
Sunrise exploding horizons
Bursting waterfalls
through time.

Listen to the moon
and you shall hear
Listen to yourself.


20 thoughts on “Listen to the moon rising

  1. Lovely poem…and such an honest, heartfelt story. It took me 55 years to even begin to face the feelings you speak of. Every day I find another layer. Seeing your voice, speaking out to your family reminds me that I need to use my voice when others are dumping their own insecurities on me. We didn’t have voices when I was a child….so I’m learning a new language. Blessings!


    • Ah yes — the not having a voice as a child. Me neither. But I did learn to smile through everything! 🙂 someone asked me awhile ago if my smile had always been so genuine. I thought about their question and realized that no, it wasn’t. Where as before I used to smile to keep people from seeing me, now I smile to let people see into my heart.

      Hugs Willow. thank you for sharing.


  2. I felt sick to my stomach when I read that you came home to them talking about you and then worse yet, how they chose to leave instead of stopping the talk about you! I do however like how all of this will lead to a very interesting sounding book!
    Diana xo


    • It bothered me for years Diana until I realized I was the only one carrying the sadness of it! 🙂 Now I realize it wasn’t about me. What I do is about me — and what others do is about them and when I come from a place of Love — that is all I need to pick up and let go. Hugs my friend.


  3. As Diana said, I felt sick to read how unsupported you were – yet it also deeply resonated with the horrors of my first marriage and the lack of support all around me. Thank you for sharing this courageous and eloquent story of a part of your journey into the wonderfully wise and delightfully witty woman you are today. You do so much good in the world Louise, and your sharing helps show the way to remove ourselves from hurtful situations and create the life we want.
    xo hugs, Gina


    • Thank you Gina — I love that you see me as witty. 🙂 I must tell my daughters — I tell them I am soooo funny and all they do is roll their eyes. 🙂 I am so incredibly supported today Gina — and that is what counts. Life to now is what got me to now and wow — what an amazing journey it’s been. Hugs my dear friend.


  4. I love your poem! And I hate that you were so mistreated by your family. I think a lot of us may have experienced a similar upbringing. I suppose we are “different” but I just don’t understand the assumption of being uppity or thinking we are better than everyone else. I know I have never thought that and from what I can tell I doubt you have either Louise. Well…you said it beautifully….These are all the things that have brought us to where we are! Much love to you!!


    • Thank you Lorrie. I love what you said about ‘different’. That was always my challenge. I wanted to fit in and feared embracing my different! Now, I love that I see the world through my unique eyes and heart and that within me is the space to create room for others to see through theirs. I think that is the difference we make when we let go of judging ourselves and others and simply let Love be the answer.

      Much love to you too my friend! I am grateful for your spirit (and your difference) here!


      • Oh Louise…Thank you! I’ve never felt more “alike” or accepted in my life than I do here. Funny…you said “the difference we make” and I just thought that maybe to be able to “make” a difference….we have to “be different!” Like you, I spent a lifetime feeling like I did not fit in…especially in my family. But at this stage in my life I embrace all that I am, all that I ever was. Much love to you dear kindred spirit! Thank you for all you show me! Blessitude 🙂


      • I love that we have connected Lorrie — I read your words and feel that same ‘alikeness’ shimmering all around. It buoys me up, comforts me and inspires me to continue to be true to my path. I think it is the gift of finding kindred spirits — we lovingly support one another into being all that we are. Much love to you too my friend! Blessitude. 🙂


  5. To me, there is a difference in forgiving ‘one-off’ unintentional incidents, compared to intentional hurts, large emotional upheavals, or repeated occurrences. There is a difference in forgiving ourselves and forgiving others. Much ‘advice’ in books or by therapists proposes that one needs to forgive a wrong in order to heal and ‘move on’. I have read a book recently that says the opposite. That psychologist claims we need to heal first and then we can forgive. Forgiving before we have healed can make us resentful because they ‘got away with it’. Also a compassionate person forgiving wrongs over and over and over can lead to abuse.
    For unintentional hurts, as you described above, once we have healed and are strong within ourselves, miraculously we find that we no longer feel there is a need to ‘forgive’.


    • Someone said to me recently that forgiveness is the way to love. You have to forgive first and then you can love yourself. I disagreed. I have to love myself first — as unforgiving and unforgiven to find the courage, compassion, strength to forgive. I also don’t think forgiveness is about the other. In forgiving the man who abused me, I let him go. He is still accountable for his actions. And so true — when I am strong within myself, when I stand in love, forgiveness is not necessary because as Neale Donald Walsch writes — the soul can never be hurt. ♥


  6. The first part of your post really resonates with me as I am spending time with my family in Scotland. Your words are so wise and centering Louise! Thank you ❤
    I love the book idea and art journal!
    Val x


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