It is his way. A message from the other side.

The three sisters.
The three sisters.

The first time he comes to visit it is in the time between restless slumber and awakening.

I am surprised to see him. He has been gone almost 20 years. I did not expect to see him in my dreams, let alone this semi-awakening state.

He smiles, his white teeth appearing between his black mustache, the impish almost dimple on the left side of his cheek puckering-in like the stem side of an apple.

He does not say hello. He does not even seem surprised at my surprise to see him.

“I’ve been worried about you,” my brother says.

“You’re dead,” I blurt out. In retrospect it might have been a little rude on my part but when a dead brother comes to visit unexpectedly, thinking straight is not my forte. Anyway, what’s he going to do about it? Not like he was still around and could whip me with a towel or stick me in a closet as was his yen when we were young and locked in sibling disputes over who was boss of who.

He is older than me. The only son, or as I used to like to say, “The son for whom the sun rises and sets.” Yeah. I wasn’t too mature where my brother was concerned.

My brother and his wife died in a car accident March 27th in 1997. There was a lot of angst and anger and sorrow and unfinished business in the wake of their passing. Having him pop in now, years later, without so much as a hello or even a postcard from the other side feels a tad disorienting.

And for that matter, who knew ghosts could worry?

“Not relevant,” he responds when I ask him about worrying ghosts. “I’m worried about you. You need to take better care of yourself.”

And then, he’s gone. Poof. Just like that.

But I do not question that he was real. That he really did come to visit. He was there.

The next time he comes back I am in the shower.

“Excuse me!” I squeal when he makes his presence known. “I’m in the shower!”

“So what?” he says without batting a single one of the jet black eyelashes surrounding his big brown eyes. “Spirits can’t see human matter. They only see the essence of what matters most. Did you get my message?”

“What? That you’re worried about me?” I want to shrug him off. To ignore him like I always tried to do in our growing up years.

My brother can be persistent and insistent. He can be dogged in his approach to just about anything. When we were young he once dragged me out of a discotheque in Germany where I was not supposed to be. Something about being 16 and underage he told me. I did not want to hear him and tried to go back. He got all his friends to come and make sure I didn’t.

“Yeah, I heard you.” I reply quickly reaching for a towel. I don’t care if spirits only see what matters most. He is my brother.

“Look. I’m not here about your vanity. Pride means nothing after you’re dead. I am worried about you. You need to take better care of yourself.”

And once again, he’s gone. Poof. Just like that.

Later, I tell my sisters about our encounter.

I heard his voice, my eldest sister tells us. Just the other day.

I wonder why he’s visiting, my middle sister asks.

It’s Christmas, I reply. George always loved Christmas.

And he did.

Just as he always loved us. No matter what. No matter where. No matter how difficult our encounters. He always loved us.

My brother came to visit. Twice.

In death as in life. My brother always had something to say, something to tell me about how I was behaving, or mis-behaving. He always wanted the best for me even when I thought he was being a pain, a pill, an interfering older brother who wanted to control me and my life.

I want to ignore him, just as I always wanted to  when he was alive and pestering me with his silly game of ‘name that tune’ or thinking he can beat me at Scrabble.

I want to tell him I hear him. Finally.

I’ve tried every which way to re-conjure him up in my mind, and I can’t. No matter what thoughts I create, I cannot feel his presence though I can still hear him laughing all the way from the other side.

I’m hoping he reads my blog so he will know — Message delivered. Loud and clear, bro.

And then, I smile. He doesn’t need to read my blog to know I got the message. He’s watching over me, just as he’s watching over all the ones he loves.

It is his way.


An Advent Invitation: Week 2

Make time for the sacred copy

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.
David Whyte
The Winter of Listening

It is the second week of advent. As you wait for the sun’s return, as you listen for your deepest knowing to awaken from these long dark nights of winter, listen to your heart. Listen to the silence and winter calling you to know ‘the otherness’.

The otherness of letting go of busy. Of releasing that which pressures you into doing too much. The otherness within when you allow time for breath to arise easily from deep within your soul. The otherness of knowing peace, hope, love and joy is here, right now, in this moment when we stop and breathe into its essence.

This is the time of endless nights growing darker. Of day’s light growing weaker in the soft approach of winter solstice, in the coming light of the child’s birth drawing near.

This is a time when our patience grows thin as we rush about, fighting crowds and traffic, endlessly hurrying towards one more checkmark on the list, one more item scratched off on the gifts we must buy.

Patience is a virtue and at this time of year, a necessity. Yet, we struggle against giving it time to grow, to take form, to inhabit our being present in the darkness of these wintery days so that we can lean into the silence to hear the song of joy being born within our hearts.

We cannot change the course of night, just as we cannot change the path of the earth moving around the sun. Winter will pass in its time, and whether we wait with calm heart, or battle against time’s slow passing, the sun will appear upon the horizon, raising itself up into the sky, with or without our permission. No matter how many items are checked off on our list, the sun will return, days will lengthen and nights grow shorter. The cycle of time passing will continue, again and again, in its never ending circle of life.

This is a time when I seek that place of quiet within where I can hear my heart giving birth to the new life I must call my own. This is a time when I yearn to fall into place with the world around me and the world within me. A place where the hustle and bustle of the season wanes as I find that place within where I know communion with the world, within and outside of me. This is the place where I let go of that which I ‘hate’ about me and find the courage to live from my poet’s heart growing up within me. It is in this place I sense the world through the beauty expressing itself through my soul’s desire to give birth to the one I have been waiting for, just as over 2,000 years ago, Mary gave birth to the One the world awaited.

And in that moment of quiet, as I sit in the stillness of the night, a song arises within me, and I find myself settling into my heart. In silence I wait patiently for the sun to return like a mother awaits the birth of her child.

And the world awaits the coming of peace, hope, love and joy to become the essence of my world.

Expectant Silence  (An Advent Poem)
©2012 Louise Gallagher

In expectant silence
the world awaits
the coming
of a child whose birth heralds
a world
of peace

In the quiet
of dawning light
I await
streaming rose and gold
threads of glory
filling the sky
with the promise
of a new day
born in the darkness
of the night

silence descends
light enters

I feel
the breath of the Divine

rising up within me
awakening my soul
with fluttering wings
and with each breath

I become an oasis
of peace



  1. What song is your heart listening to?
  2. Where do you need to stop listening to ‘those who had nothing to say’ so that you can hear the miraculous within you?
  3. What can you do this week to make space for the ‘new life’ that you must call your own to be born? During the meditation, was there a space where you felt yourself letting go of diminishing your presence?
  4. How can you carry that sense of the vastness of your being into the world with you today and for the next week?

For the meditation, please click HERE.

To read Make Time for the Sacred: Week 2, Click HERE.


O Come O Come Emmanuel. Music of the Season.

Like with Pentatonix, any music The Piano Guys publish strikes a chord in my heart.

When I was a little girl I remember my mother singing O Come O Come Emmanuel. It is one of my very favouritest Christmas songs and the plaintiff  songs of the cello with the lyrical lightness of piano that The Piano Guys bring to it stirs my imagination and my desire for Hope. Peace. Love and Joy.

Blessings on your day.

Songs of Christmas wonder and awe

I pretty well love anything Pentatonix releases and their songs of the season are no different.

Here is their version of Carol of the Bells.

While I don’t normally post on the weekends, throughout the month of December I will use the time to sahre music of the season that fills me with wonder and awe. Hope it does the same for you too!

Blessings on your day.

Darkness is light standing still.

Don’t only practice your art,
But force your way into its secrets,
for it and knowledge can
raise men to the Divine.
Ludwig van Beethoven


Almost every morning since my first post at my original blog, Recover Your Joy, on March 3rd, 2007 (Scooping Up The Shadows), I have sat before a blank screen and forced my way into the secrets of my art. Trusting the process for no reason other than I am part of the process, a willing servant to the muse’s desire to have her way with me, I have placed my fingertips on my keyboard and let the words come.

In allowing vowels to follow consonants and making way for thoughts and ideas to dance their way into sentences strung together by words of every imagining, I have forced my way into the secrets of my heart, my vulnerability, my creative essence.

In this commitment to sit at my computer and explore the questions that arise simply because I am committed to being present here in dawn’s questioning light, I have discovered the power and joy of writing it out. Immersed in the wonder and awe of being connected to the Divine essence of my creative soulfulness. Practicing my art every morning has forced me to embrace my humanity and our shared human condition.

This is a journey of revolution and evolution.

I have chosen to take this journey because to not take it would have left me cowering beneath my fear of the dark, hiding in the shadows of my uncertain belief that this life, my life, makes a difference.

In appearing here every morning, in witnessing my words unfold and reach out far beyond the letters appearing on my screen, I have discovered truth shimmering in my fears. Light shining in the darkness.

On Tuesday, Liz at Be. Love. Live. shared a powerful description of the darkness in her post, Here’s How To Stop Being Afraid of the Dark:

“In a black hole, much of the light is trapped inside of the actual black hole, so there is a massive amount of light inside of it. The perception of a black hole is that it would be a physical manifestation of darkness, and yet, the black hole itself is filled with dense light. The vacuum of space, which we perceive as darkness, is filled with matter and anti-matter which is a form of storing light. In this sense, the darkness of the vacuum is just a state of light that is standing still. So it turns out that all of the physical perceptions of darkness around us are just another form of light. This brings us to the fact that the physics, if it is mirroring the spiritual, is telling us that the darkness itself is another form of the light and that darkness is dense light. Darkness is light that is standing still and is stored in a state of readiness to become light. Darkness is potential light and therefore, darkness is the source of light.” – quote fromspirituality information 101 (you can also check out what NASA says >>> here).

Darkness is light standing still. Densely packed, full of potential. Fully embracing its source. And that source is light.

How Divine.



Gifts. Surprises and other secrets.

It was midnight when I finally decided I had to stop. To continue working on my project would risk errors and omissions. I was tired.

And happy.

It is coming together well. And no, I can’t tell you what it is… C.C. might hear! And it’s a secret.

Ask anyone, I’m not good with secrets. Especially my own. I get so excited about what I’m keeping secret I feel compelled to reveal all if only to release the tension building inside me!

Take Alexis, my eldest daughter’s, visit home in a couple of weeks. When we’d booked her flights last week, we agreed to not tell her sister.

On Sunday, when my youngest daughter and her boyfriend were here to watch the GreyCup Game, I let it slip, I had a secret.

“What is it?” my youngest daughter asked.

“I can’t tell.”

That set off a torrent of questions and insistence that I must tell. That it wasn’t fair that I wouldn’t.

I didn’t. Tell. But man, I really wanted to.

And then, on Monday night, after figuring out Lele’s life is way too busy to try to spring a surprise visit from her sister on, Alexis resigned herself to telling.


No more secret and we can actually figure out calendars to ensure we have time for everyone without having to make up reasons for wanting to know everything she’s doing when her sister is here!

But I’ve still got the project I’m working on for C.C. this Christmas. I’m dying to tell him. I’m dying to get his feedback as I work on it, to share in my excitement of creating it.

And I can’t.

That would ruin the surprise. And everyone loves surprises, right?


I do not like surprises.

It is quite possibly because I am a control freak, a better surprise giver than surprise getter (as long as I can keep the secret of the surprise from getting out!).

It is also possible that my aversion to surprises stems from what I once called the uncertainties of my childhood. From the many times my father would plan a trip and somewhere between Point A and Point B, decide everything had to change. We had to go somewhere else. Or, worse yet, stop the trip completely and return home because he was not happy with something that had transpired along the way and determined the whole trip was a bust.

My father was not much of a planner in the first place so trips were naturally fraught with uncertainties. Like, where would we stay that night?

I remember in my teens travelling behind the Iron Curtain when it still stood as a bastion of communism. We were travelling on our British passports because my father didn’t want the Canadian government, for whom he worked, to know that we were exploring the world behind the curtain.

Problem was, while he’d planned for the subterfuge, he hadn’t planned ahead. In Prague, we couldn’t find a hotel and stayed instead at a youth hostel complete with no door on the women’s sleeping room which was also the access point through which all men had to pass to get to their sleeping quarters.

It was not a comfortable sleep.

He also hadn’t planned on the government learning of our trip. When the security police came to visit, my father was vocal in his opinions of their prying into his private affairs which did not bode well with his security clearances.

My father always had strong opinions and loved to challenge the status quo.

I used to think it was because my father didn’t like to plan things out when in fact, it was more that he loved surprises. He loved spontaneity and following the call of the unknown. He loved the freedom of the road, the uncertainty of a destination and the exploration of possibility without limiting it to the known.

My father taught me well the art of suprise.

I am creating a surprise for C.C. this Christmas. I want to tell him all about it. To give it to him early. To engage him in its creation.

I won’t.

Because part of the creation is the gift of not knowing the outcome. Of not having a script that says, “when I do this [give him his gift], he’ll say this…”

Part of the joy of the surprise is keeping the secret.

And I do like to surprise myself with my capacity to grow and shift and learn to be 100% accountable for my journey.

And part of my accountability with the gift, is to keep it a secret until December 25th.

But wait!  His birthday is only 5 days away!  Maybe I’ll make it a birthday present!

We’ll see how long I last with the surprise!


The ocean refuses no river.

river copy


The ocean refuses no river.
The river refuses no life.
Life refuses no spirit.
Spirit refuses no Love.

I’ve started a Christmas project for my beloved which means, that when I awoke at 4am and could not get back to sleep, I slipped into the office and began working on my project.

Which also means, I became immersed in the creative spirit and didn’t notice the time!

Imagine! I’ve been at my laptop for 2 and a half hours and I haven’t even had a coffee yet.

And now, we break for a musical interlude while Louise goes makes herself a latte.

I’m back with eggnog latte in hand and words flowing.

The first line of Ocean by Mirabai Ceiba is, The ocean refuses no river.

Just as the ocean refuses no river, the Muse refuses no offering.

We are all creative.

No matter your belief, or colour of skin or size of your bank account or education, there is a sacred place within each of us that is our creative core. It is a sacred chant singing within us of our unique beauty, wonder, brilliance. In your sacred chant singing of your uniqueness is the creative expression of you rising up, just as it rises up within all of us, calling out to our hearts to dance free, to spin about and laugh and turn cartwheels. To sit in silence and dream. To leap for joy and be.

The ocean refuses no river and the river refuses no life. And in that knowing is the truth — The sacred knowing that this life, this beauty, this brilliance is mine, and yours and each of ours to live as best we can, as best we allow, as best we do in Love.

No matter how small, how big, how rusty or difficult, how tired or weary, how young or old, the ocean refuses no river.

In the river’s flow, the open heart refuses no Love. The open mind no knowing.

And life refuses no body, not me or you or him or her or them.

In that acceptance, in that awareness is the knowing, deep and profound and healing. We are not alone. We are one with life flowing in the ocean of Love that is in, around and of us. Each and every one of us.

The river, and the universe, refuses no life.

I started a special project for my beloved’s Christmas gift this morning and became lost in the wonder and awe of creating, of allowing ideas to flow, wonder to arise and the Muse to have full reign over my being present, aware, alive.

It feels great to be alive this morning. Great to breathe. To sit in silent contemplation. To be in awe. To be creating.

The Muse refuses no offering and the universe refuses no life for every life is a unique expression of Love.

What a blissful knowing to carry me into my day.




Who’s in charge of your light?

It was one of those projects that brought out my victim thinking with ease.

Don’t blame me if I don’t get it right. Not enough time to do it. Not enough direction. Not my fault. Yada. Yada. Yada.

At one point, I was into such full-blown victimhood I arrived home from work one evening and told C.C. “That’s it. I can’t do anything right. I quit.”

Ah yes, the critter and his exquisitely timed whispers of self-doubt and fear.

The critter has had my lifetime to perfect his art of making sure I do not step too far from the baseness of my fears. He is extremely adept at finding those soft spots, those vulnerable places where I am feeling less than. He likes to fearlessly leap into the fray without a thought for what’s happening inside me, with me, for me. With his mind always set on defending against unseen intruders, moments of insecurity, breaths of doubt, he’s always ready to shore up my defences against the world’s onslaught and protect me from others..

Problem is, he doesn’t really think about what’s best for me in the now. He’s always measuring everything today against what happened back then. He doesn’t see me as an adult. He sees me only as a defenceless child that he was responsible for protecting and sheltering through life’s storm.

In the here and now, the critter does not stop to ask, What’s the mature, adult, kind and caring way for me to respond or behave in this situation?

His brain matter is grounded in less than thinking. Where there is abundance, the critter fears lack. Where there is possibility, the critter sees hopelessness. And while his intentions are in his thinking, ‘good’ — He’s protecting me and keeping me safe from harm. — the outcome of my outbursts while under the influence of critter brain is never fruitful. It is always destructive.

No matter how I like to slice it, what the critter always does is undermine my self-efficacy and my willingness to turn up, do my best and be accountable for my journey.

The critter, who likes to be in charge of my victimhood, does not like being accountable. He does not like for me to take responsibility for my actions, or how I turn up.

He’d prefer if I am going to turn up, that I do it with a big sign that says, “Not My Fault!”

That way, whatever happens I can deny all culpability, accountability and responsibility. That way, it’s always the other guy’s fault, no matter who the other guy, circumstance or happening may be! Which is rather convenient if I don’t feel like being my true self and would rather just have someone else take control for a while.

The critter’s not into my ability to be present in truth, honesty and light. He’s into his ability to shield me from what he deems the harsh realities of life and the vagaries of humans to create chaos, pain and shame where ever we go.

He cannot see that my responsibility is to standing in truth, honesty, light… Love.

He can only see the dark abyss of my deepest fears. The critter can only see the pains of the past and at all costs, believes he must shield me from it happening ever-again in the present.

Fortunately, I found my balance. I found my solid ground in turning up, paying attention, speaking my truth, and staying unattached to the outcome.

I am no longer giving into the critter woeing me to play the victim. Sure, there are vestiges of his cloying nature evident in my short-temperedness and edgie responses to what are simple questions or normal circumstances. I’m quietly, lovingly wooing those edges back into place. I’m quietly, lovingly smoothing out my temper with reminders of my capacity to play harmoniously, play fair, play kind in the world.

It is an ongoing evolutionary process.

Now, to apologize and be accountable to those who bore the brunt of my ill-humour and thoughtless attempts to give the critter reign over my being present in truth, honesty, light and Love.

‘Cause, the critter is not in charge of the light. If he were, he’d throw a dark blanket over it to keep the light from burning out.

I’m in charge of my light. And the truth is, my light will not burn out when I give it air to breathe and love to feed its fire.