Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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Savour the time with those you love.

I am off to visit my grandson for a few days. Oh. And my daughter and son-in-love too!  🙂

I’m smiling. My heart feels light and though it is dark outside still, the brilliance of this day invades my senses.

I am off and may or may not have time to be here. My grandson and I like to spend the early morning times together as the rest of the household sleeps. It’s my favourite time of day. Just the two of us. Me watching him. Him chattering and playing. We sing and chat and build blocks and I shall treasure every moment.

There is no pklan. No schedule — other than his naps — to conform to. No get here. Get there. There is only this beautiful time to spend with those I love savouring our connection.

I’ll see you sometime soon!

 


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How Dare They!

Recently, I was called a ‘white woman’. It did not feel like a compliment.

Last week, someone suggested some information I provided was not true. In their inference that I was hiding the truth, it felt like I was being called a ‘liar’. Their comments did not sit well with me.

This morning, in meditation, acceptance and surrender opened up into gratitude.

I do not like being called a ‘white woman’ nor a liar. However, when I move into gratitude for the opportunity to grow through the angst of my reactions to these two separate and distinct yet interconnected circumstances, I move beyond anger to a place of calm.

People can only see the world through their own unique lens. Calling another names, or defending against the truth they speak by implying they are lying, is a reflection of where each of us sits in our individual journey towards self-awareness and acceptance.

Feeling angst and anger over what another has done to us is a reflection of where we have tender spots within that need loving care and attention.

I respect where the individual who named me ‘white woman’ was coming from. They are on their own journey in a world of contradictions.

I have struggled to find peace in the situation where someone implied I was lying. This is my reputation they are playing with. My credibility. “How dare they!” I want to cry out, the child within stirring uneasily in memories of the times as a little girl when I was called a liar by my family, even though I desperately wanted them to believe I was telling the truth. And the critter inside my head leaps into action. Hissing wildly, he insists I pay no attention, take no heed of their words. Stamping his tiny little critter-like feet, he echoes my fearful thoughts,  “How dare they!”

Breathing deeply I gently and lovingly remind myself to come home to my heart, to my place of inner truth and grace.

My responsibility is to be accountable for me. My value, my worth is found in how I move through the world, acting with integrity and grace in all things. It isn’t about ‘turning the other cheek. Holding others accountable for their actions is important. Even more important for my sense of self-respect is to recognize where someone else’s words have created angst within me and to address my responses so that I walk in my integrity.

And still, the critter hisses. How dare they!

And my heart responds.

They dare because, like me, they know fear.

They dare because, like me, they have unhealed places inside their hearts and minds.

They dare because, like me, they have known the pain of rejection.

They dare, because, like me, they have known the shame of blaming others and of being wrongfully blamed by others.

They dare because, like me, they have known the angst of trusting the untrustworthy and of acting in untrustworthy ways.

They dare because, like me, they are human.

We are all on this journey of life together, swimming in the waters of our humanity, struggling to find solid ground in being who we are, without fearing who the other is, will somehow diminish or distract from our worth.

We are all worthy. Sometimes, in our fear we are not, we search for our worthiness by daring to express our humanity in ways that harm or hurt or confuse others.

To know our true worth we must dare to confront our own humanity; contradictions and truths, beauty and the beast, ying and yan, dark and light. In our seeing into the darkness that is present in the light, we must embrace unequivocally the truth of who we are. We are human.

Moving into gratitude for my human condition, grace finds me where I’m at, embracing me in the healing waters of forgiveness and acceptance.

Namaste.

 

 

 


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Play. Work. Fun.

My beautiful workspace

I am a ‘nester’. I like to create spaces around me that feel like me, that speak to my essence.

Last night, I entered my new studio space and began to play.

It felt right. Good. Peaceful.

This morning, I pulled my Artist’s Way Creativity Card and for the second time in a week, pulled, Self-Expression.

And the same phrase at the end of it made my cringe. The card reads:

“Art lies in the moment of encounter: we meet our truth and we meet ourselves; we meet ourselves and we meet our self-expression. We become original because we become something specific: an origin from which work flows.”

It’s the ‘from which work flows’ that causes me confusion.

Art-making is fun, my mind whispers, and I can’t tell whether it’s my higher good or the nasty little critter who likes to trip me up. I know it’s him when I hear, “If it’s not fun, don’t do it.”

Sometimes, art-making isn’t all fun. It’s sweat and tears and fears and trials and errors too.

“There are no boundaries” Alcohol ink on Yupo Paper. 11 x 14″ – 2019 Louise Gallagher

Like last night.

I wanted to create a seascape.

Forgetting that the plastic sheet beneath me often finds its colours running into my work, I set to work to create a serene, tranquil scene of ocean meeting sea.

Except, purple and fuschia ran onto the page. Purple and fuschia are hard to hide when working with ocean blues and sky. The painting morphed into a mountain scene by a lake. Slightly abstract. Slightly surrealistic.

I decided to experiment.

I reached for the black marker and began outlining some of the spaces. ‘Some’ led to most and the end result became much more grounded and lively.

Play. Work. Fun.

And still, the critter wants me to escape ‘the work’ and stick with the fun.

My higher good flows in with its quiet graceful ways and asks, “If you don’t consider your art and creativity work, what is it?”

My thinking mind immediately leaps to an answer. “It’s nothing.”

“In the Garden of my Mind”. Alcohol ink on Yupo Paper. 9 x 12″ — 2019 Louise Gallagher

And that’s when I realize the truth.  That mountain scene with its many colours and bold outlines is like my brain. There are many compartments, all of them connected, all of them flowing together with each area having a specific and original way of being part of me. There are specific, functioning areas within my brain that comprise its whole. Where I put my attention, where I spend my energy is important.

I can allow myself to be hijacked to the amygdala, the place of fear and primitive responses, or I can consciously raise myself up to my frontal cortex, the higher functioning center of proactive and creative self-expression and executive directionality.

I painted last night. I painted in my new space, savouring the joy of light streaming in through the french doors and Yo-Yo Ma’s cello playing in the background.

I painted and found myself in that place of clarity where I know, who I am is a creative expression of my unique essence.  In my self-expression, definitions of ‘work’ that made it hard for me to let go of my ‘work’ identity flow away, and I become immersed in the joyful work of letting my creativity flow free.

Play. Work. Fun.

It’s a beautiful balance of joy and laughter, creativity and curiousity flowing freely as my fear of my self-expression runs wild with the truth that who I am is an original.

Who you are is original too.

Express yourself. Set yourself free to be. Savour your self-expression and dive in to Play. Work. Fun. Make it part of everything you do.

Namaste.


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Wide open spaces of possibility and other vistas

Alcohol Ink on Yupo 11 x 14″ 2019 Louise Gallagher

I played yesterday. I set aside my list of ‘todo’s’ and immersed myself in the pure joy of spreading colour and texture upon a canvas. Well, Yupo paper to be exact.

Yupo paper is a synthetic sheet of plastic that alcohol inks do not soak into but instead, float on the surface until they dry. It’s what gives them such vibrancy and unpredictability. That, and their chemical make-up.

My chemical make-up has been struggling with the fears, tears, frustrations, angst of imminent retirement. I smile as I read back on what I just wrote. This having an end date without a ‘destination’ is rather daunting! And while I am excited, thrilled, filled with anticipation and joy, this transition time also has its ennui.

Who am I without my title? Who am I without a place to be every day?  People expecting me to turn up, have answers, make decisions, make things happen?

And while I know the answer is “I am all of me and then some”, there is still this place of angst to navigate and cross-over.

It is a threshold. It is part of living because life is filled with thresholds.  Some easier to cross than others. Some harder.

In a workshop I recently took with the incredible Kelly Lee Bennett , she encouraged each of us to create a list of 100 Aspirations.

At lunch last weekend with my beautiful friend Kerry Parsons, she encourged me to leave off determining the ‘how’ of my aspirations until after I’ve spent the summer enjoying life, savouring downtime and alone time and time to play with my grandson and my creativity. “Can you give yourself space to just be present without having to set any goals?” she asked me.

Goals are the ‘how’ of my aspirations. They are the concrete, measurable steps I need to take to create reality to the things to which I aspire.

Aspirations are my ‘why’, my heart-driven, emotional sometimes whimsical thoughts of what I’d love to create in my world if…. my life were ideal, my world perfect. I was living my dreams.

Goals are factual. Aspirations are an expression of my inner self, my feelings and emotions.

Since moving into this home a year ago, I have been planning on having our builder come back to build out my studio space downstairs. One of the deterents has been C.C. and my conversatoins on where to put the studio versus where to put his ‘den’. You know that man cave where he watches sports, drinks beer and throws peanut shells on the floor — okay the throwing peanut shell bit is not true but it paints a true picture of what the space is for.

I need light.

He needs…. whatever light he feels like turning on.

Hence, the debate has been studio in the front end of the downstairs walkout leading to the river or, in the farside where there are no windows.

Not having the studio builtout has resulted in my using the kitchen island as my makeshift studio. It’s 14 feet long so there’s lots of room to paint and cook, but, I do put everything back at the end of every painting session simply becuase I don’t like the mess.

It’s also meant I haven’t had much space to work with anything other than the inks.

Yesterday, I jettison  my ‘to do list’ in favour of creating a space in the walk-out side of the downstairs for me to paint. (You know, the ‘to hell with waiting to make the decision, I’ll just take matters into my own hands’ kind of move that gets one thing done immediately — and leaves the rest of what needs to be decided until later.)

I am grateful. Relieved. Happy.

Something in my heart went click, like the tumblers in a safe’s combination falling into place.

I have a space, a place. To create in. To dream in. To aspire in.

I have an artist’s space.

It is filled with light. Beauty. Possibility.

I threw away my ‘to do’ list yesterday. I played with inks and then, decided to get busy creating for myself a space where I can come home to the canvas, to my art journal pages to find myself at ease, inspired by the sheer joy of letting my creative expressoins flow freely.

Hello retirement!  Or, as Thelma Box, founder of Choices Seminars calls it, ‘Refirement’.  I am all fired up about the wide open terrain before me as I step lightly into the undefined, unmapped possibilities of my life.

Namaste.


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Hackers and other threats

So…. you know when you get one of those emails that makes you go… What on earth are you going on about?  Okay, well maybe stronger language is warranted given that the email I read in my personal account this morning was from a hacker stating that I was to deposit a certain about of bitcoin into an account, otherwise, they would release all my porn watching history to all my followers etc.

Except… I do not have a porn watching history, which means anything they release will be fabricated too. And threatening me with their perverse idea of what will cause me fear is rather ridiculous as, if I did watch porn then I wouldn’t care who knew anyway as I would have to have found a way to love myself for having watched it in the first place – so why would I fall for their threats of doing something that they think would cause me shame or fear others knowing?

Now I get that hackers are adept at creating something that isn’t to look like something that is. But here’s the deal, one thing hackers should do is become more proficient in the English language and more adept at picking threats that work for the individuals to whom they are sending their threats, especially when those threats are filled with technical jargon I do not understand.

To be fair, I should confess that the email did cause my heart to flutter wildly for a few moments, and for confusion to cloud my thinking.

Which is unfortunate, or perhaps fortunate, given that my meditation this morning was particularly soul-inspiring and enlightening.

In my meditation I was a leaf floating on the surface of a gentle river. I felt peace. Calmness. And then, I became a shimmering body of water that lifted up out of the water, not quite human in its dimensions and form, a radiant stream of water that rose higher and higher above the earth, at peace with all it saw and witnessed as it rose into the deep silence of space.

And as the body of shimmering water rose, the voice of reason within whispered, “There is beauty in all things. Even problems. The secret is to rise above until the problem appears as an integral part of the exquisite mosaic of life on earth.”

And so, having risen above this problem of the hacker’s threats, I settle once again into that place where I am at peace with all that is in my world, including a hacker’s threats.

I cannot change what others do to create value in their lives. I can feel sad for their need to create havoc in other’s lives and I can wish for them a miracle of enlightenment as I am not powerful enough to change the course of those with evil intent. I can also breathe into forgiveness and repeat, as I must when I feel cornered or like I have given way to fear or bad behaviour/thoughts/words concerning another:

Bless them.

Forgive me.

Forgive them.

Bless me.

Finding peace in forgiveness, and gratitude for my many blessings, I remind myself that, “The rest is all just stuff.”

Lovingly, I raise myself up out of the mire of my fears into soulful living and lovingly invite the soul of the ‘other’ to rise with me,

_____________

PS.  Yes. I will still do what is necessary to safeguard my email by taking my computer to an expert (someone who understands both the technology and the lingo is helpful) what I don’t have to do is fret about the outcome. It shall be whatever it shall be and I shall always be me.

Namaste


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How to let go of resistance to surrendering control

Alcohol Ink on Yupo Paper
9 x 12″ (unframed)
Louise Gallagher 2019

I knew it was there. Could feel it. Sense it. Perceive it.

I seldom have to go looking for it. It’s always there. Always lurking, pulling me back, stopping me up, pushing me away from my desire to live life fully in the rapture of now.

It doesn’t have to sneak up, slink in, or crawl under my defences. It just is. There. Here. Present. Even in times like last this morning, when I am deep into meditation, it turns up. I’d say it’s uninvited but seriously, it’s so accustomed to being present, it doesn’t need an invitation.

It just is. My resistance.

And there it was, as I tripped the light fantastic of a guided meditation focused on releasing to surrender, resistance turned up to pull me back from its believe I was at the edge of danger, of falling over the edge of holding on..

I wanted to give it a kick, but seriously, I was deep in meditation. Violent responses are not appropriate!

Resisting the pull of my resistance, I breathed deeply.

Surrender thy will, the voice of knowing whispered. Surrender thy will.

I didn’t want to. Surrender. Surrender means to give in. To let go. To release my control.

I don’t like giving up control.

Surrender thy will, the voice whispered in a loving stream of consciousness that floated out all around me into the star lit morning sky. Surrender thy will.

I resisted.

And tears flooded my eyes.

Surrender thy will.

I breathed. And surrendered and was bathed in the beautiful light of Love that radiated out from my heart into the night. And in that light I was One with the One. I was immersed in the power of the moment where I was completely, totally, at peace, right where I was, exactly as I was born to be. In that light I was the One I was waiting for. I was the reflection of Love that flowed in and all around me. And I knew, without fear, without hesitation, without question, we are all the beauty and the magnificence of our being who we are meant to be when we let go of resisting our magnificence, our beauty, our Love.

In the radiant light of knowing nothing other than to surrender, I felt my heart break open, my soul shift in delight, my spirit spread its wings. In its beauty, I found myself surrendering my will to let Love be all that I am, all that I know, all that I become when I release my resistance to Love.

Softly, the voice within whispered, “There is no need to resist. No need to hold onto control. To hold back on surrender. There is no need. There is nothing unmet, nothing unknown. There is no need to need. Breathe into the light and surrender Thy will to Love.”

Namaste.

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My word for this year is ‘Surrender”.

It continues to be an enlightening exploration.


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In the bottomless well of my ignorance

My inspiring, soulful blog friend Joyce Wycoff wrote  last month in a beautiful post titled, Love Letters to my life #8: The Joy of Being Unqualified, “I am grateful for my bottomless well of ignorance which gives me such splendid opportunities to learn.”

How divinely inspiring. To be grateful for my bottomless well of ignorance. How freeing.

In that bottomless well there are so many questions unasked, unanswered, unknown. So many questions that do not need answers, just the exploration. There are so many ideas to explore and so much learning to grow through the exploration without any need of finding the end of the thread that lead me down the path of discovery into the waters of life unlived.

I am trying on her words this morning. Wearing them like a veil of possibiity. Like a good luck charm.

Think about it.

No matter how many years add up to our limited time on earth, no matter how much wealth we have or have not accumulated, how many cars sit in our garage or how many designer handbags line our closet shelves, we all share this infinite capacity to learn, grow, evolve. We all experience this bottomless well of ignorance that can never be filled — not because we can’t fill it, but rather, because this big, beautiful, crazy, messed up world is full of things we cannot know, cannot fathom. We are alive in a universe of infinite proportions and we, mere humans, cannot divine all there is to fathom of the beauty and magnificence of this world before the adding up of our days expires into dust. How exciting!

I needed Joyce’s words this morning. Needed their sense of infinite possibility.

I opened my work email before coming to this page this morning. (I know. I know. What on earth was I thinking?) I opened my email and found a couple of items that need my attention and for a moment, in all their clamouring for answers I do not have, I felt frustration rise, confusion descend. Momentarily mired in that space of… how on earth do I respond to this?… I lost sight of my bottomless well of ignorance.

And then, I had the wonderful good fortune of going to read Joyce’s words, and I smiled, my heart opened up, the tension that had started to build in my shoulders at the thought I did not have readily available answers, eased.

No matter how many days I have tucked under my belt, which seems to be ever expanding with time’s girth, I don’t have to have ‘the answers’. I just have to be willing to experience the journey of exploring what I do not know. I just need to be willing to dive deep into the bottomless well of my ignorance to explore what is possible when I don’t assume it is answers I’m searching for, it’s the experience.

In that space of unknown questions infinitely lurking behind ready to pick off the shelf answers, I choose to heed the invitation to stay open to the infinity of the unknown, letting my curiosity pull me into exploring the possibility that clarity will embrace me when I stop fighting the confusion of not knowing. Reveling in not having answers, I take this journey, fully unqualified, savouring my lack of travelling finesse.  How divine.

I am grateful this morning for my bottomless well of ignorance. That beautiful, dark, secret-filled place where I am free to dive deeply into what lies beneath the surface of living life intentionally doing what I am supposed to do. Letting go of ‘supposed to’ or should, I untether my spirit and soar into the depths of my heart beating wildly in time to the rhythms of what cannot be divined in the light of day and can only be discovered when I let go of swimming with my feet firmly planted on the ground.

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Thank you Joyce for reminding me to be grateful for all there is to discover when I let go of having to know the answers!