Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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Just get over it!

No. 17 #ShePersisted Series
http://louisegallagher.ca/shepersisted

Recently, while talking to my husband about a situation where a friend has crossed one of my boundaries, he advised me to ‘get over it’.

I heard him. I think there’s validity in his suggestion, as long as the ‘getting over it’ doesn’t mean getting over the issue by pushing it down and not giving my friend the benefit of trust to walk through it with me.

Because that’s the rub. Getting over something that I deem as a violation of trust and friendship by simply ignoring it and saying nothing, will not strengthen my friendship with this person, nor will it give me peace of mind. Not finding a way to speak through loving kindness about this issue will strengthen distrust between my friend and I, and if  I don’t speak up, they will never know why I am distancing myself and we will never have the chance to possibly grow through this situation.

In speaking with them about it, we may agree to disagree. That’s okay. But for me to say nothing will leave the root of unease within me, and my relationship with them will continue to be strained.

It is one of the truths I’ve learned from living on the dark side of the belief that I don’t have the right to speak up and set my boundary when I feel someone has invited me to collude with them in making something they’re doing right for me even when I know it is against my values.

It isn’t a judgement of what they are doing – whether I agree or disagree with what they’re doing, is not the issue I need to address. The issue is, my silence. When I stay silent in the face of a situation where I feel my values and boundaries are being crossed, I am giving silent acquiescence that says what they are doing is okay in my life even when it’s not okay in my life. And when I stay silent in those situations, I risk my peace of mind and my sense of walking with integrity.

And that isn’t healthy for me, nor our friendship

My head wants me to believe I don’t have the right to speak up. It wants me to buy into the notion that it’s not a big deal — nobody got hurt. Why bother to right something that’s not all that wrong.

Integrity isn’t about someone else’s actions. It’s about what is the right thing for me to do to value our friendship and to eliminate spaces where I know I am pulling away by silently giving way to behaviours that do not fit my life.

My ego is not my friend in these situations. It wants me to make it all about right and wrong by being the judge of their actions. I am not the judge of their actions. I am the keeper of mine and when I face the fact that I did not set a clear boundary in this situation, I need to address it — and whatever decision/result comes from that, it will be what it is.

The ego’s challenge is — it wants me to ‘get over it’ by staying silent and just pushing the situation away. “They’ll be mad at you if you speak up,” the ego chatters. “You’ll only create waves. Make things worse.”

Fact is, when I’m getting mad at someone for crossing a boundary I refused to set, the person I need to work with most is me. And the best way to do that is to have the courage to speak through loving-kindness by setting my boundary and being clear on where I stand.

Getting over something is very different than moving through it.

For me, ‘getting over it’ means suppressing my feelings, reactions, thoughts.

To truly get over something that continues to eat at my peace of mine, I must have the courage to look at where I feel the rub, and take loving action to walk through the discomfort of knowing where I need to stand is in not telling someone else they’re ‘wrong’. It’s in standing up for what is right for me.

Namaste.

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In pursuit of pleasure

 

If I had a cent for every guilty pleasure I indulged in, I’d not be very rich. I’m not much into feeling guilty about the pleasures in which I indulge. My moniker is, if I’m going to do it, I’d best enjoy it. Otherwise, why bother?

Guilt is too heavy and doing things I don’t enjoy, too tiring.

My thoughts on indulging in pleasures, minus the guilt, comes from a word prompt I read this morning over at Word of the Week. The prompt is “sybarite”. I couldn’t remember its definition, though I knew it was loosely related to being a hedonist, just not quite so far over the side of the pursuit of pleasure and luxury and you wind up in the vale of debauchery.

I look up the definition for sybarite and find my old friend hedonist lurking in the synonyms. Hedonist comes from the Greek word hedone“pleasure,” while Sybarite referred to inhabitants of the southern Greek town of  Sybaris in Italy.  They were known for their love of beautiful and expensive things. Sybarite. Hedonist. Kissing cousins with a side of guilt.

I like beautiful things. I just don’t want guilt to be part of the equation.

To indulge in a beautiful sunset, sitting on a blanket on a beach as the sun sets over the water… pure pleasure.

To savour the aroma and the feel of a hot mug of coffee in my hands as I sit at my desk in the quiet of my morning hours… absolute delight.

To watch an eagle soar. An Orca glide through the water. A dear step lightly through snow-splashed forest. An infant try to catch sunbeams streaming in through an open window. A mother nurse her baby. A dog splash in a river chasing a stick. A cat stretch out along a sun-kissed wall.

These things bring pleasure. And cost nothing more than the time to witness.

Yet, too often, it is the pursuit of pleasures that cost that occupies our time.

We chase after the big career, the next big score, the new job, the flashy watch, the shiny car, the sparkling jewellry, the bigger house…

We chase and in our chasing forget to take time to savour the simple pleasures that only ask for us to stop, take a breath and slip into the silky luxury of their presence.

Neither sybarite nor hedonist, I want to enjoy my pleasures without exhausting myself chasing after them.

What about you?

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This morning’s post is a writing exercise using the word prompt from Word of the Day.

My desire was to free-fall write without editing. Just go with the flow of any thoughts that arose from the word prompt. It’s a lovely guilt-free pleasure to write without looking for meaning! To write what I sense and feel, not what I think!

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Photo by Teddy Kelley on Unsplash

 

 

 


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Limbs on the One body of Life

We are one people. One planet. One earth.

We breathe one air. We share the same sun. The same moon.

We walk this planet as though the continents, the colour of our skin, the altars at which we kneel, the languages which we speak are what keep us apart.

What keeps us apart is our belief we are not one humanity.

Zen Flash

No automatic alt text available.

“How wonderful it
will be when All Beings
experience each other
as limbs on the
One body of Life.”

~Shantideva~

 

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Aging takes time, and a whole lot of laughter.

“It could be a stress fracture,” the doctor says. “But it’s most likely arthritis.”

He presses on the swollen and inflamed part on the top of my foot. Not so gently I might add.

I pull my foot away.

“Ouch!” I exclaim, before adding kind of jokingly. Kind of not. “I’m not old enough for it to be arthritis.”

He doesn’t sense my ‘funny’. He looks at me. Looks at the computer monitor where my file is open. I imagine my date of birth flashing at him in big red numbers, a sireen blaring somewhere in his head. Age Alert! Age Alert!

He quickly does the math and says, “Yes you are.”

Thanks. I feel so much better.

He does tell me arthritis can happen no matter how old you are, but risk increases with age. Mostly because the soft tissue between the joints wears down with use.

“But I’m not that old!” I exclaim. I’ve checked the data. Sixty-five is the average age for symptoms. I’m not that old.

He looks at me. At my chart, again and replies. “And you’re not that young.”

Yup. I feel so much better.

I went to the doctor yesterday to have my foot examined. I’ve been struggling with lack of sleep for the past few days. It’s been hurting so much it’s been keeping me awake.

I’ve tried ice, heat, stretching, coddling, moaning and groaning. Just about everything I could think of but mostly, I was trying to ignore it in the hopes it would just go away. Time, that wonderful healer of break-ups and other heart aches was not making it feel any better. I decided to have it looked at.

The doctor gave me a requisition for an x-ray and a prescription for an anti-inflammatory cream.

“I love this stuff!” the pharmacist exclaims as she hands me my filled prescription. “The more you rub it in, the better the absorption. The friction heats it up.” I think she might have winked as she said it. I know she was smiling. Big.

She shows me the contents of the little white jar filled with buttery yellow ointment.

“I like to rub it all over my body,” she tells me. Again with the laughter and wink. She looks at me intently. “You know at our age anything that keeps the joints running smooth is a good idea.”

I pretend to laugh with her and take the container. “Does the funny bone get arthritis?” I ask. “Because I’m not finding this part of the journey all that funny. I’m kind of finding it makes me a bit grouchy.”

“Oh don’t let it do that!” she exclaims. “Laughter really is the best medicine.”

Harrumph.

I hobble away and leave the drugstore, climb into my car and drive home.

Beaumont greets me at the door, his entire body quivering with the joy of having someone come home.

Take me to the park! Take me to the park! he says (or so I imagine he’s saying) pushing his body up against me, tapping his head against my hands, insisting I pet him as I try to get through the door.

I’m feeling kind of sorry for myself and mostly try to ignore him.

I lay down on the bed. Rub the ointment into my foot and the excess into my hands, just the way the pharmacist told me to do.

Beaumont jumps up and lays on top of me, placing his head on my shoulder, looking at me with pleading eyes.

Okay. Okay, I tell him. We’ll go.

He leaps off the bed in one giant bound. I envy his youthful joints and energy.

I find a pair of shoes that don’t press against the sore point on  my foot and we drive off to the park.

Outside in the fresh air, throwing the ball for Beau, feeling the softness of the summer evening’s breeze against my face I finally accept the truth of the pharmacist’s advice.

Laughter truly is the best medicine.

I can’t change my age, but I sure can change my attitude.

I laugh at myself, shake off my self-pity and cast it to the wind.

I throw the ball again for Beau and laugh out loud as he races in circles trying to catch it as it bounces on the grass.

Aging, I decide, is a journey best taken with a good dose of humour.

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Photo by Alex Harvey on Unsplash

 


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Living is the Journey

When I was little I used to yearn to be ‘all grown up’. Somehow, that place of being grown up seemed better than the process of the journey to it.

I’m still growing up.

Still learning.

Still gaining understanding, insight, knowledge and a deep appreciation for every step of the journey.

Being ‘all grown up’ is not the journey.

Living is.

Just for today, let go of looking at some other place you’d rather be and settle into the space you’re in right now.

Breathe deeply of this moment right now and treasure each breath, step, sight. Savour each passing moment and fill it with gratitude, harmony and delight.

Namaste.


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Are you stealing your own future?

Some time ago, I read a story about a man who was a very famous thief. During his career he stole an estimated $10 million in jewellry and other valuables from people whose names appear on social registers and tabloids. Unlike Robin Hood of eras past, he did not steal from the rich to give to the poor, he simply stole from the rich because they had more to steal. He was caught, spent 25 years in jail and when released, got a job in a burger joint. That was his life.

When interviewed by a reporter some years after his release from prison, he said he realized, in hindsight, he didn’t just steal from the rich, he stole from himself. He stole his future, the things he could have done to make a difference in the world, the things he might have done to be different in the world.

And he couldn’t get that time back.

What things are you doing in your life, or filling your time with, that you can’t get back. Where are you squandering your time? Stealing value from yourself?

Where are you like that thief?

For me, when I don’t meditate in the morning, I am stealing my well-being from me.  Which means, I’m devaluing my future.

If you don’t meditate, or simply sit in silent contemplation every morning for a few minutes, it’s a good practice to get into to create value in your life. Try this…

Make a commitment that for the next week, starting right now — (always begin where you’re at) — that you will stop, close your eyes (if your hands are on the keyboard simply leave them there, the key is to simply STOP what you’re doing and be still).

Now, deep breath.

In. 1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.

Hold – 1. 2. 3. 4.

Out. 1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.

Slowly. Deep breath.

In. 1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.

Hold – 1. 2. 3. 4.

Out. 1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.

Keep breathing. Slowly.

Relax your shoulders. Your neck. Your body.

Close your eyes.

Focus on your breathing. In……. Out….. In….. Out…..

Focus on the feeling of the air coming in through your nostrils, notice its coolness. Notice how it fills your lungs. Breathe. Slowly. In…. Out….

Count ten breaths in and out. Follow the flow of ten breaths in and out.

Now, open your eyes and continue on.

Do that every day — to begin with, once a day for ten breaths. But, try to add a couple of more exercises throughout the day. Do it three times a day if possible — but commit to doing it once a day for a week.

And then, next week, double the breaths. In….. Out…. 20 times

And if one day you forget, Begin again. Always begin again.

See. I just did it and I feel the benefits of the quiet flowing within me. I feel positive energy moving with grace and ease throughout my being.

Try it. It will make a difference.

Because, when I don’t take a few minutes every day to consciously create peace and harmony, within me and all around me, I am squandering the time I have to create peace and harmony, within me and all around me.

Gotta go. The day is calling me to approach in wild-eyed wonder to the beauty of every moment unfolding with miracles of life all around.

Namaste.


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To walk in beauty, count your blessings.


I am walking at the park with Beaumont, The Sheepadoodle, throwing the ball whenever he deigns to drop it for me.

As is his way, his run out for the ball is fast. Lightning quick.

Running back… not so quick. Not so direct.

It doesn’t matter. He makes me smile. Laugh. Feel good.

I keep walking. He keeps running circles around me, dropping the ball whenever he pleases. Unless I ask him to of course. Then he is quick to comply.

It’s our thing.

I breathe in the air. The smoke from the fires burning fiercely to the west is not so heavy this evening. There is a breeze blowing. The leaves on the trees rustle like a thousand worshipers whispering prayers to an unseen deity. The air is coolish on  my face. My hair blows around my eyes.

We keep walking. I keep throwing. Beaumont keeps running and fetching.

I feel rich tonight. Full. Filled with the enjoyment of spending time outdoors, walking with this dog who has brought limitless joy into our lives.

Earlier in the day, someone asked me about a man I knew years ago. Is he your friend, she asks?

I laughed. Not by a long stretch. He was a a cohort of the man who almost killed me, I tell her. Neither of them were good or honest people.

She is relieved. He had once hurt her badly. She could not imagine how we could be friends if I called him friend.

I tell her how my life is so much richer, fuller, complete since that experience. How, while at the time it was awful, terrifying, now I am grateful to have come through it. To be able to carry with me all I learned journeying through those dark times.

Years ago, I walked this same park with Ellie, the Wunder Pooch. My life at the time was filled with fear, uncertainty, horror, angst.

I didn’t savour the wind on my face, my hair blowing into my eyes. I didn’t hear the whisper of the leaves or see the sky above filled with limitless possibilities.

I didn’t laugh at Ellie’s antics or throw a ball.

I walked, steps heavy, every cell in my body filled with dread, my heart and mind consumed by the darkness that seemed to fill my entire world.

The darkness has lifted. The winds of fate have changed direction.

I walk in beauty now.

I am grateful.

I am filled with richness, loving-kindness, joy.

My world is a sea of limitless abundance.

I am blessed.

Namaste.

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