Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


1 Comment

Life is grandson good!

Four generations

I had no idea being a grandmother, or YiaYa as I’m called, would make my heart feel so incredibly full. I had no idea.

But isn’t that just like life? We don’t really know what it feels like to do or experience something… until we do. And then — Wham! It hits you. Life is full of miracles and adventures and incredible happenings that have the capacity to take your breath away and leave you feeling so sated, life before pales in comparison to life now.

C.C. and I drove Alexis and our grandson, Thurlow, to the airport last night for their journey home. It was bittersweet. Spending the last week with him has been a beautiful journey of laughter, joy and Love. Knowing he is going home with a mother who loves him so deeply and to the welcoming arms of his very excited father helps soften the sadness of their departure and though there is distance between us, I carry him in my heart.

The only two creatures in our home this morning who were happy for the quiet were Beaumont and Marley. Both furry kids had their noses slightly out of joint at all the attention paid to the bundle of joy called Thurlow. Marley disappeared into the furnace room throughout the day, coming up at night when the coast was clear to sleep on our bed. Beaumont ventured a couple of licks of Thurlow’s feet, but aside from that, he mostly gave him a wide berth.

It is stunning to watch my beautiful daughter as a mother. She is soft and gentle, caring and relaxed. She takes everything in her stride, singing and cooing to her son as she cuddles and feeds him. She moves with his flow, timing her actions to his needs. She is amazing.

It was also incredible to watch my mother as she met her Great Grandson. She was so excited and thankful to be able to have the privilege to be here to meet him and told him she is looking forward to watching him grow. She turns 96 in August and is hoping Alexis will bring him back to wish her Happy Birthday. I hope so too!

In the meantime, I shall revel joyfully in this state of blissful YiaYa-hood and savour each video call and photo my daughter sends.

Life is good.

 

 

 


6 Comments

Love is here!

Getting sleepier and sleepier and sleepier

The love of my life has arrived.

Okay, well there are others I love. C.C., my daughters, family, friends, pets. But Thurlow my grandson, he holds a special place.

He arrived last night. All 11 pounds of pure love and delight swept into our home with his mother and father, and completely took over our home, and hearts.

I’ll not be online much for the next week. Early mornings are YiaYa time. It was a pattern we got into when I stayed with my daughter and son-in-love just after Thurlow was born.

Alexis would wake up early. Feed him and then lay him in my arms. For the next two or so hours, she would sleep and I would savour my alone time with this tiny being who has captured my heart.

I am in Love and what a wonderful place to be!


3 Comments

What’s holding you back?

I believe that when we are born, our unwritten stories hold the untold promises of our unique possibility.

And then, life happens and the promise of our potential becomes lost in the limits of our reality. We experience life in ways that we cannot imagine and, looking out through the eyes of a child, simply do not make sense. Ill-equipped to handle the sometimes harsh and bitter winds of life, we harden our hearts, build up walls, shut off feeling to cope with what we don’t understand and have no tools to cope with.

It isn’t that life set out to hurt us, it is that we were unprotected for far too long and learned to do anything that worked to keep from feeling the pain of whatever happened to us. In our need to protect ourselves from the pain we don’t understand, we end up hurting ourselves with the very limitations and beliefs we adopted to keep ourselves safe.

To justify wherever we’re at, we tell ourselves stories about how it’s safer this way. Safer to keep our hearts locked up, our feelings stuffed down, our senses shut off, if only because it feels less scary, less frightening, less everything to stay locked within than to risk letting our hearts run wild.

We grow up and fight to hold onto the limitations that we created to keep us from feeling the pain of being lost in a world that doesn’t make sense. We carry on until we are living in a box so small we are suffocating within its restrictions. We can’t breathe. We can’t move. We can’t feel.

But we don’t dare look at the walls of our box. We don’t dare attempt to break free because, remember… and we list the litany of things that life not safe out there… The last time you tried to break free your heart was broken, your hopes dashed, your dreams ridiculed. Remember? And our minds embrace the idea that keeping ourselves safe means locking our hearts and dreams behind the walls of our self-defenses so that nobody can touch us in a way that will hurt us ever again.

And life goes on and we become accepting of the idea, this is the only way it can be. This is the way I am and I am safer when I play the part I know.

But we wish…

We yearn for…

We want…

Freedom.

From the pain of living life one short breath at a time.

We wish…

We yearn for…

We want…

Freedom.

From the pain of walking on broken glass with every step we take.

We wish…

We yearn for…

We want…

Freedom.

From the pain of believing we are worthless, useless, unwanted, unloveable, un-everything we tell ourselves is true if only because, believing in the lie of our limitations is familiar. It’s safer. No one can hurt us if we don’t let them see into our hearts, we tell ourselves. And we shut down.

For years, I spent five days eight or nine times a year, immersed in Choices Seminars as a coach. In that room, I had the gift of being witness to people’s hearts as they opened up to the beauty and magnificence of their truth.

So much time spent breathing into the essential beauty of our human condition has left me feeling, humbled, joyful, grateful, hopeful.

We can change our world, one heart at a time.

In that room,  dreams awaken and hearts break open to find their own special beat. In that room, I have heard silent suffering become a powerful voice announcing to all the world, I am here. I am alive. I am willing to begin this journey of living my life on the outside of my comfort zone. I am willing to go for the gusto. I am willing to break free of the past so that today, in this moment right now I can breathe freely and soar higher than I ever imagined. Because, it doesn’t matter whether I take one baby step or one giant leap, it is my journey, my flight into freedom and no matter how I take it, I am worthy, deserving, capable of Love.

Choices Seminars is happening at the end of this month, as it does eight times every year, here in Calgary, Dallas and Vancouver.

Everyone deserves to let their heart run wild, their dreams soar, their pain ease.

If you’re looking for tools to help you run wild, set your dreams free to soar, or simply to find out more about the most fascinating person in your world (that would be you 🙂 ) I can’t think of a better, safer, more loving place than the Choices Seminars.

Go ahead. Give it a go. Click this link and find out for yourself!

___________________________

And just so you know, no one paid me, asked me or coerced me into writing this post or suggesting Choices. I just know what incredible value its created in my life and want everyone in the world to experience what can happen when they discover tools to live their best life yet!


4 Comments

And the Moon Beamed

Journal Entry, Wednesday, July 30, 2014  Mixed media on watercolour paper

Journal Entry, Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Mixed media on watercolour paper

And The Moon Beamed

©2014 Louise Gallagher

Patience dear ones, the moon whispered to the stars. It will come to pass. The sun will slip into dusk and your time to shine will come, but first, you must learn to shine in the light of day believing in your own magnificence. one night, the whole world will see the brilliance of your light. But for now, you must practice patience.

And the sun shone, and the moon beamed and the stars twinkled knowing their night would come.

And then, it came to pass that the sun fell into night’s seductive embrace and the stars came out and played Twinkle, Twinkle upon the velvety blanket of night delighting in the lightness of being all that they were born to be in the light of day.

And they shone. Bright.

And the world turned and the sun slept and the moon beamed down upon the earth wrapped in eternity’s embrace.

See my dear ones, whispered the moon to the glittering stars. There is no need to be anything other than what you are born to be. Brilliantly bright and magnificent.

Shine dear ones. Shine.

_________________

As you can see, I wrote this brief story in response to the image I created at a workshop in 2014.

It is a reminder to me to remember, no matter how grim the world-tidings appear, there is always magic and wonder, awe and grace in our world.


11 Comments

When the road looks hard, look up!

Have you ever noticed how even in the midst of what feels like turmoil and strife, there is always beauty?

I have been focused on navigating a challenging situation that requires compassion, finesse and a deep understanding of how to respond to unhealthy comments meant to cause pain and suffering. Yesterday, the situation escalated and by the end of the day, my entire body felt drained. I was done.

When I got home from work, I took Beaumont for a walk and then curled up in the settee by the window that overlooks the river to read. I’m reading, Stones for Schools, a self-reporting book about one man’s journey to change the world one school at a time.

But it isn’t the book, or Greg Mortenson’s story of his travels throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan as he negotiated the building of schools that captivated me. It is the controversy around his retelling of the story and some of his actions subsequent to the books publishing that make me smile in wonderment of the ways of the universe.

See, back in 2011 or so, there were a lot of allegations suggesting Greg Mortenson mishandled the finances of his charity which was building the schools, as well as fabricating events and naming people in his photos inappropriately. 60 Minutes did an expose on him and his charity. It was damaging and reading some of the articles, sad. That such a powerful idea could be tarnished through such mis-management is tragic. Yet, for all his transgressions, the schools still stand, young girls in places where young girls were not educated, are being schooled.

I do not know the truth of Greg Mortenson’s actions, but I do know the truth of what is happening in my world.

I think about the situation I am dealing with and everything falls into perspective. I feel the stress and sadness lift. I find myself looking up to the sky, remembering the power of asking the Divine, the Universe, God, Allah, Yaweh, a power greater than me, to carry the burden so that I can do the work, here on the ground, to deal with what is in front of me.

It is something I learned 14 years ago when I was released from a relationship that was killing me. My life was in shambles. I was broke and broken. Everyday I would walk with my trustee Golden Retriever, Ellie the Wonder Pooch, in the woods beyond my sister and brother-in-law’s home where I was living. I wasn’t in search of answers as much as I was in search of distraction, and being amidst nature is a surefire way to distract me.

Amidst the towering pines and firs of the forest at the edge of the ocean I would lift my eyes to the blue sky high above and ask God to carry the burden of the shame, sorrow, sadness, grief, fear I was carrying. With the burden lifted by an unseen hand or hands, I felt strong and determined enough to do the next right thing and take each step towards well-being, day by day.

It is so easy to fall into the trap of believing that ‘now is forever’. That whatever turmoil and strife we are facing will never end.

Fact is, it does and, even in the midst of the turmoil, we do not have to carry or feel like we own, its weight. We can release the burden and work through the fracas to do what we know is right and best, light of heart and step, by looking up and remembering ‘Now is not forever. This too shall pass.’ And in its moving through, when we hold onto our values, our integrity, our truth, we free ourselves to do the right things for the right reasons in the right way.

Lightened of the burden, with our values guiding us, and our hearts wide open to Love, even the fiercest tempests cannot blow out our light.

Namaste.

 


7 Comments

Changing a habit is hard. I can do it!

I am working on changing a habit.

It’s hard.

I like sleeping on my stomach. It’s something I’ve done most of my life, even after a C-Section!

My back hates it. I mean really hates it.

Sleeping on my stomach is a sure way to give my sciatica free reign.

I need to change the habit.

Problem is, I often roll over in my sleep only to wake up when the familiar deep ache in my lower back gets so painful, it wakes me up.

Rolling back over isn’t easy. I need to move with care to ensure I don’t A) scream out in pain and awaken C.C., Beaumont and Marley the Great Cat.  B) my lower back doesn’t lock up.

So, I’ve devised a method to keep myself from rolling onto my stomach while conscious and asleep.

First, as I get ready for bed, I tell myself how much benefit there is sleeping on my back or side. I do this for a long time. Every time the critter sneaks in and whispers, “But you can’t go to sleep if you’re not lying on your stomach”, I face him square on and say gently, “It’s okay. You’re just afraid of change. I can do this.” And then I do it. (Yeah my team!)

Second, as I get into bed, I turn on the heating pad and place it behind my back — the warmth keeps me in place and helps me fall asleep. (My heating pad shuts off after half an hour. It’s the perfect gateway to falling asleep.)

Third, when I wake up during the night, and find myself still on my back or side, I turn the heating pad back on. It’s preventative.

So, why am I telling you all this?  Because changing a habit in one area opens the door for other changes too.

And if you’re like me, there are areas of your life where some of your habits don’t really add up to a whole lot of positive influence on your happiness and well-being.

Like, playing Spider Solitaire every night when I get into bed. I’d much rather be reading a book, but I’ve acquired this habit of reaching for my IPad…

Time to apply some habit changing karma to my night time routine. Because, quite frankly, if I can change a lifelong habit of sleeping on my stomach, some piddly little thing like Spider Solitaire is a piece a cake.

Eons ago, Socrates wrote, “The soul, like the body, accepts by practice whatever habit one wishes it to contact.”

And that’s the thing about changing a habit. Our minds, bodies and souls are engaged in keeping the good, and the unhealthy ones, in place.

To change one, we must begin with putting it in contact with something different — like my heating pad for my back.

For me, beginning with a habit where the stakes are high (I dislike being in my body when my back is out) has given me the momentum and the courage to start looking at other habits that, while perhaps not as debilitating as my stomach sleeping habit, are not having a positive effect on my life and well-being.

In shifting my stomach sleeping habit, I have proven to myself, I CAN do it. I can take on a hard task and make change happen for the better.

I’ve also shown myself that changing a habit from ‘bad’ to ‘good’ reaps benefits — my back is not as sore in the mornings and it’s much easier to get out of bed too!

Do you have a habit you need/want to change? What’s your secret to making it happen?


14 Comments

Happy Birthday Nan! You are Magnificent!

Years ago, when I desperately needed a friend but was too scared to reach out, she never faltered. She was there.

Even when my friendship cost her dearly. Even when she knew I was running scared, running away, running into disaster, she was always there. Willing to listen, to pick me up, to give me love and care, support and kindness.

Today, Nan R is celebrating her birthday.

I don’t see as much of her as I’d like to these days. Work. Life. Different circles have diminished our time together, but not the love and gratitude I carry in my heart for this amazing friend whose concern for me once made me lie to her about leaving the man who was trying to kill me.

It was towards the end of my journey through that hell, just before the man and I disappeared for 4 months. She was convinced he was a psychopath. Showed me all sorts of evidence to prove he was. Her love and concern for me felt so heavy on my heart. I couldn’t tell her how undeserving of her care I felt. How empty.

I also couldn’t tell her I was so lost in his abuse, I couldn’t leave him. When she asked me to promise to leave him, I promised her I would.

I broke that promise. Instead, when he told me we had to leave the city and I couldn’t tell anyone where we were going, I silently went with him.

Months later, it was her call to the police that lead to his arrest and my freedom.

It was her home I came back to visit the first time I returned to the city.

It was her love that carried me through those first difficult and challenging months of trying to find myself again after his abuse.

She never judged me, blamed me, shamed me. She always accepted and loved me.

It is her way.

My friend Nan turns another year older today. And while the number of her years on earth may have changed, what has never changed is the incredible beauty and loving kindness that she shares so generously from her heart. What remains constant is the incredible capacity she has to make everyone feel special, cared for and honoured.

No matter the time or season, Nan creates beauty all around. And while she may not talk about her gifts, she is a talented designer, poet, writer, singer, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. She’s funny. Smart. Quick witted. She is a magnificent human being.

I am so grateful for you my friend. Thank you for your enduring friendship. The laughter, tears, good times, and not so good times too! Thank you for always being the one I can call no matter the time or gap between our visits to ask, “How about a cup of tea?” Thank you for being such a beautiful light, that even when I didn’t believe I deserved it, I knew your love never dimmed. Thank you for being you!

Happy Birthday Nan!