Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


Soaring with Heroes

There’s a wonderful story, by David MacNally which he put to video with Mac Anderson, about an eagle who, in the process of helping her babies fly, must push them from the nest — because if she didn’t, they would stay forever stuck in the belief they don’t know how to fly.  At one point, the mother Eagle asks herself, “Why does the thrill of soaring have to begin with the fear of falling?”

Most things I’ve tried in my life, I have felt fear.

Sometimes I’ve ignored the fear. Sometimes I’ve given into it.

Whenever I’ve given into my fear, I’ve carried with me a regret — because fear is not a good motivator of growth. Fear keeps me stuck.

When I took on my current role as Interim Executive Director at the Family Emergency Shelter and Housing agency where I work, fear kept whispering in my ear, “You know you’ll fail… you know they’re going to find out you don’t know what you’re doing.”

I had to choose to breathe into my fear to get to the place where my courage was calling me to leap; even if I didn’t know if I could fly.

Fact is: Failing is always an option. So is flying.

I have been blessed. In my four months in this role, I have surprised myself with my capacity to lead. And I have been surprised by my willingness to accept support and encouragement from others.

Because that’s the thing about my fear… to hide it, I have been known to pretend I know what I’m doing, even when I don’t. And, when I’m pretending I know what I’m doing, I put up walls that are meant to protect me, but mostly just keep me isolated and repeating the same mistakes again and again.

One of the lessons I’ve learned to appreciate and embrace as I’ve stretched myself into this role is that, it’s not about avoiding mistakes. Mistakes are part of learning new things, stepping into a different role, challenging myself to grow. What doesn’t have to be part of it is, giving up or not attempting it in the first place. What I’ve learned is that as long as I trust myself enough to acknowledge my mistakes and have the courage to not put up walls by defending against them, I am open to receive their lessons. And in that place, grace has appeared again and again in the form of the people around me who are willing to encourage and support me to get back up.

I have had a lot of people encouraging and supporting me throughout this journey. They are the best kind of people to have around. I am so grateful.

Over the next few weeks, I will be stepping out of this role as a new ED will be appointed. I don’t know who it will be. I do know that whatever the outcome, I have been blessed with this incredible opportunity to work alongside some of the most compassionate, intelligent and passionate people I have ever met.

My life is richer for this experience, not because of the things I’ve done or learned or achieved, but rather, because the people I’ve walked alongside have made my journey so much richer with their presence and their willingness to give me a push when I needed it, a hand up when I fell, a shoulder to lean on when I grew weary and a light when I struggled to find my way.

I am truly blessed. I began this journey with fear and have found myself courageously soaring with heroes all around me.





My Heart Vision (a poem)

Mixed media on card stock 6″ x 6″ Louise Gallagher

Rumi’s poetry always captures my heart, opening me up to the simple and provocative truths of our human condition.

This morning, I visited a poem I have not read in a long while, The Water You Want.

The Water You Want  Jalaluddin Rumi

Someone may be clairvoyant, able to see
the future, and yet have very little wisdom.
Like the man who sees water in his dream
and began leading everyone toward his mirage.
I am the one with heart vision.
I have torn open the veil.
So they set out with him inside the dream,
while he is actually sleeping
beside a river of pure water.
Any search moves away from the spot
where the object of the quest is.
Sleep deeply wherever you are on the way.
Maybe some traveler will wake you.
Give up subtle thinking, the twofold, threefold
multiplication of mistakes.
Listen to the sound of waves within you.
You are dreaming your thirst,
when the water you want
is inside the big vein on your neck.

Slipping into meditation I carried the phrase, ‘heart vision’ with me. The following poem moved through me, writing itself into creation.

Heart Vision ©2019 Louise Gallagher

In my heart vision I tear away the veil
that blinds me to nothing
but my fear of falling
into the dark stagnant abyss
where love will never find me

I rise above
the fog of my delusion.

Truth shimmers dancing in the light
of fear held silent
in arms of molten lead
pinioning me to the pain of believing
that I must seek love to find it

Searching for the way I find myself
listening to the sound of my ears opening
to the truth where hope rises
into the mists of my fear falling
into nothing but Love.

Joyfully I embrace
the vision of my heart.


And as a special treat, here is Coleman Banks’ reading of The Water You Want.


On this day, dare boldly to be Kind. Brave. More.

I am lying in the border lands between awake and dreaming.

I don’t want to get up. I’d rather stay snug and cozy in my bed, listening to my husband’s breathing, Beaumont’s snuffling from where he sleeps on the floor on the far side of the room.

A thought floats into my mind. There are many ways to raise a child and only one place to do it. Home.

Work rises early.

A family emergency homeless shelter never sleeps.

I must get up.

I get up.

It is still dark out. January days slowly lengthen. Morning has yet to lighten.

I paddle barefoot into the kitchen. Beaumont follows.

I turn the kettle on so I can make a cup of hot lemon and honey. Beaumont pads over to the far side of the dining room table, by the deck doors, plops his body on the ground and goes back to sleep.

Mug of hot lemon and honey in my hand, I light the candle on my desk, settle into my chair and fire up my laptop.

Outside, the river flows quickly beneath the bridge. A city bus travels westward. I cannot see the passengers inside. The lights of several cars follow. Unseen, the city slowly awakens farther to the west.

I sip my honey and lemon. Take a deep breath. Close my eyes. Quiet descends.

David Kanigan of the I Can’t Sleep blog shared a quote this morning from Kelsey Danielle of Misguided Ghosts.

I felt my soul stir in her words. My heart give that little flutter like when you meet someone for the first time only to discover you have a world of friends and experiences in common. Possibilities of friendship expand.

I move into that space of familiarity, comfort. I begin to write.

Morning awakens. The day awaits. It is filled with unexplored opportunities to be kinder, bolder, braver, more.

On this day, Dare boldly to be kind. Dare boldly to give your heart away. Life is calling you to awaken.




How to have a joy-filled day.

Gratitude is the gateway to joy.

It opens our hearts, softens the rough edges where resentments, disdain, criticism and a host of other challenging emotions convene to create discord in our lives.

Gratitude is healing.

This morning, I conducted a gratitude experiment.

I decided to verbally thank everything in my path as I moved through my morning.

“Thank you bed for holding me softly during the night,” I said as I got up.

“Thank you lamp for casting your light when I turn you on.”

“Thank you toilet for providing a hygienic vessel for my body to use.”

. “Thank you water for flowing into the tap so I can wash my hands.”  “Thank you tap for being there when I need water.”

“Thank you sink for catching the water and returning it to its necessary pipes.”

And the list goes on. From thanking the kettle that heated up my water for tea to the friends who gave us the kettle as a wedding gift almost four years ago, I verbally, out loud, thanked everything that made my morning ‘work’, including the gas that turned on our stove so I could heat up the water for my tea. The laptop upon which I type and the Internet that carries my words into the ethernet and onto other people’s computer screens. And Beaumont who appeared by my side as I typed and nudged my elbow in search of a cuddle..

Needless to say, it took me longer to get to my desk this morning.

Thanking all things in my world out loud takes time.

But, as I went about my home thanking the various things I used to prepare myself for the day, it truly did impress upon me how very lucky I am to live in a world where I have these things to make my world easier. I am grateful.

And, it definitely caused me to laugh out loud.

Laughing out loud filled my heart with joy. Providing, gratitude is the gateway to joy.

May you walk in gratitude. May you have a joy-filled day.

And thank you for being part of my world.



We are Love.

Deep in the silence, I cried. Deep in that place of quiet meditation, the beauty and exquisite nature of my journey brought tears to my eyes.

“Louise. What do you know?” my soul asked.

I dried the tears on my cheeks and replied. “Resistance is futile. I am. Love is.”

It was one of those moments of utter clarity. Of knowing. Of being.

We spend our lives struggling to make sense of our lives. We spend time and energy doing whatever we can to create value in our world. To live on purpose. To be of significance.

All of these things are important. They are our journey and they make a difference in the quality of our journey — but not our existence. For, no matter what we do or become or say or acquire or create, when all the doing, all the struggle to be, to have purpose, to know our ‘raison d’etre’ is over, one irrefutable truth remains. We are. Love is.

No matter what we do, when we leave this earth, when our bodies dissolve into tiny atoms of matter, it matters not to the Universe what we did or had or created. What matters is that we existed, no matter how briefly or long, we existed. And in our very existence, we were and always will be, Love.

And that is what brought me to tears while deep in my meditation. The energy. The beauty. The profound depth of our exquisite nature. We are. Love is.

And in this journey of our lifetimes, what we do in our daily lives enhances the quality of our journey. Never the quality of our essence. For always, our essence is perfect. Our beings are divine.


I choose miracles

I choose to believe that life is a miracle. That I always have a choice as to what I do with me, my life and everything in it. I have the power to choose how I respond. How I react to circumstances, to other people, to trials and tribulations — I have the power of choice.

When I choose to look at my life as a miracle, I see miracles reflected all around me.

Now, it’s easy to fall into the habit of not seeing ‘the miracle’. It’s easy to see the fault lines, the pressure points, the sore spots that irritate me and cause me stress.

Whatever I’m seeing or experiencing, I always have the choice in where I put my attention. It’s my choice to not focus on the negatives and find the values in all all things.

So, for today, I shall walk through each moment celebrating the miracle of life in everyone I see and meet and interact with, including me. For today, I shall walk through each moment knowing what I do with my life is always my choice. I can celebrate, or complain. Congratulate or condemn.

The choice is mine.

It’s up to me to choose wisely because in my choices, I can destroy joy or create the joy, happiness, contentment, peace I want to have in my world.

The question is: Can you see the miracle of you reflected back in the eyes of everyone you meet? Do you choose to be like Chicken Little, constantly fearing the sky is falling or do you choose to see rainbows dancing in the wake of your passing through each moment causing waves of happiness and joy?


Let kindness start with me.

Years ago a friend asked me, “If there were one word on your headstone that completed this sentence, “She was a_______________woman”, what would you want it to be?”

Kind, I replied. Definitely kind.

When I look back on 2018 I look for where kindness has cast ripples outward, creating gentle sailing for those around me. Amidst their smooth waters I see currents where discord arose because of something I did or said. I choose forgiveness and keep moving into my heart. As I move into the moment, casting my thoughts to the year ahead, I whisper a prayer of gratitude for so many opportunities to learn and grow and make a plea for courage and strength to carry me forward.

Let kindness infuse each step. Let kindness be my ripple effect.

From kindness, acts of courage, of compassion, or greatness evolve. Joy rises, within me and around me. Love radiates from me and through me and all around me.

From kindness, I soften my heart, gentle my words and smooth my spirit’s journey. When I look more kindly upon myself, I see the world as a kinder place.

From kindness, I step softly into the world, conscious of where my footprints tread, conscious of the footprints I leave behind. May my footprints disturb no one with ripples of discord.

Ah but, you say. In this world, how can you tread anywhere without disturbing someone? Don’t you have to be a ‘yes girl’ to not disturb anyone? Doesn’t that make you weak?

Not when I stand true to my beliefs. To my values. Not when I express my truth, in Love, without fearing the outcome.

But… Isn’t that like not leaving your mark on life? On the world? Don’t you want to make a difference?

Yes. I do. Want to make a difference.

And I want my difference to be remembered in how people feel about themselves, their lives, their possibilities. Not about me.

Working at a homeless shelter I am greeted with countless opportunities everyday to be kind. To be caring. To be compassionate and tolerant and fair.

With those we serve.

Where I am not so kind and caring and compassionate and tolerant is with the people on ‘the other-side of the street’. On mainstreet. The world ‘out there’. With those I consider, in my judgement and not so kind viewpoint, should know better.

When we know better we do better.

And sometimes, I view some of those I meet on ‘mainstreet’ as lacking in the knowing they need to do better.

And sometimes, in my determination of what ‘they lack’, I am less than kind, less than compassionate, less than tolerant.

Hello? Who am I kidding? Who am I to criticize?

I cannot be kind with some, and not with others and think of myself as a woman of integrity. I cannot create compassion in some corners of my world and carry discord in others without jeopardizing my peace of mind. And when I am intolerant with some, including myself, I am creating a world of discord around me.

It is the 100% accountability factor.

To be a woman of integrity. To radiate joy and peace and harmony throughout my world, I must move through myself and every moment, every encounter in Love, creating a ripple effect of kindness, compassion and tolerance all around me.

It is the way to happiness. To peace of mind. To calmness of spirit and soul. It is the way.

Because, no matter how much I might think I’m fooling myself that what I am saying is ‘the truth’ when I speak disrespectfully of someone else or treat them with little care or thought of the impact of my words or actions, I am acting without integrity. I am not being kind.

And so, I turn the mirror back to me and look lovingly upon the cloudy imperfection of my reflection.

In loving kindness, I accept the one I see and let go of the fear she will never be enough.

She already is. In all her human imperfections.

We all are.