About Louise Gallagher

I believe in wonder. I believe we are all magnificent beings of divine beauty. I believe we can make a difference in this world, through every act, word, thought. I believe we create ripples with everything we do and say and want to inspire everyone to use their ripple to create a better world for everyone. I'm grateful you're here.

Why I Art Journal

Art Journal page – created in 2015

I am a visual thinker. I imagine/see/experience things in my mind’s eye – what’s in front of me, what’s behind me, what’s inside me, what’s beyond me – before I get to the touching, feeling, knowing stages.

It is my pathway into understanding, learning, growing, evolving. It is as much a part of me as my heart, limbs, skin, bones.

Which is why I art journal.

Art Journalling is my pathway to embracing all of life… its sometimes inexplicable, ineffable and incomprehensible moments as well as its exquisitely moving, breathtaking ones.

It brings me home to my heart. It reminds me to let go of judging and move with grace into acceptance, gratitude and trust.

Art Journalling soothes me, excites me, awakens me to the wonder and awe that is everywhere, in all things, in all ways of being present with, in and of life.

And… it reminds me to stop looking for ‘the path’ and let the path appear as I create.

Another gift of art journalling is its awakening of the muse within me because, while I often speak of her as being ‘out there’ she is actually ‘in here’. Within me, all around me, everywhere. Through art journalling, I connect with her flow and find myself unravelling the knots that get tied up in my thinking I know the way, I have the answers, I get it.

Art journalling reminds me, there is no need to ‘get it’. The gifts are in letting go of ‘getting’ to fall effortlessly into BEING. Of it. With it. Within it. All.

That’s why I art journal. It keeps me grounded in my heart and whole body and out of my thinking mind. It fills me with hope — that there is a way through everything even when I think all hope is lost. It brings me great peace full of the possibility in all things, all people, all life. And, it brings me into deep, abiding connection within the exquisite, ethereal and mystical nature of the world around and within me.

If you’re interested/curious about art journalling, I have a few short posts on my website on How to Begin. I’m working on updating them with videos but for now… they are a good place to get acquainted with, not just the ideas and concepts — and lack of rules — of art journalling, but also your own creative core. Because… the lack of rules is what intrigues me and excites me most about art journalling. It’s always, always an expression of YOU! And what could be better than that?

I hope you pop over and check them out — and let me know what you think. Please. I’d love to hear your thoughts and feelings and ideas.

Much gratitude.

Click HERE to access The Art of Journalling

A Love Story

I have learned to not question the muse. To heed her urgings and let her whims take me where they will.

Following the multi-hued wisps of magical mystery she casts within me and all around is always a journey into, through and with trust.

This morning, her whispered incantations took me into the land of poetic free-form verse.

I had no idea where it was going. Where I would end up or even what story would appear.

All I had was one phrase… Serendipity, she said.

And I followed it.

What appeared warms my heart.

If I had to name a flower that described my father, it would be a rose. Deep. Mysterious. His words flowed like rivers of poetry peeling away life’s edges to reveal the delicate nature of life in all its seasons, all its manifestations. Yet, he was prickly. Cantankerous. Prone to flashes of angry outbursts. A hard man to get close to.

My mother. The Iris. Not only was it her name, but she was like an iris. Strong yet fragile. Elegant yet girlish. Beautiful yet unconfident in her beauty and her body. Uncomfortable with life and all its demands. Yearning always for a more peaceful, calm, still world. Like the iris.

As this poem unfolded, I followed the mystery of its threads and there they were. My mother and father. Laughing. Dancing. Spinning through fields of wildflowers. My father no longer clumsy and awkward in his movement. But flowing. Lithe. Strong. Supple. And as he spun my mother about, my mother who seldom laughed in life, through back her arms, leaned against his arms holding her and let joy fill her up like she’d never done in life.

I love it when the muse comes to visit and I throw away caution and fall into trusting her ways with all my heart wide open to the adventure.

A Love Story

by Louise Gallagher

Serendipity, she said
I was just thinking about you
wondering where you were.

Right here, he replied
flicking a speck of dust 
out of her hair.
It clung
like moss to a tree
until he blew on it softly
and it lifted off
and floated away. 

But where have you been, she asked, confused.  
She hadn’t seen him in years.
She was sure. 
Was her memory failing?

I have always been right here,
he said, next to you.
His voice was as smooth as
water flowing over a rock
in the river beside which she sat
bare toes stretched out to touch
the surface of the water.
It was cold. Icy cold.
I’m cold, she said.
Shivering.

Let me warm you, he said,
wrapping his strong arms around
her shaking body.

Thank you, she replied,
taking in his warmth,
the sweet tantalizing smells of
his breath, his body
pressed against hers.

Funny I don’t remember you,
She said, burrowing down into his embrace.

I’ve always been here,
he replied, picking her up in his arms.

She felt light, like a feather
 fluttering
effortlessly
through the air
falling
falling towards the ground.

I’m afraid of falling, she whispered.

It’s only a short journey to the other side, 
he said as he stepped into the water
holding her tenderly in his arms.
 
He began to cross.
You have nothing to fear, he said softly.

She closed her eyes
and listened to the steady
thump
thump
of his heart 
beat
against her ear
where she pressed her head
into his body.

I’m not, she whispered.

And he carried her to the other side.

It was there, 
on the other side,
where rainbows danced on sunbeams
and wildflowers grew with abandon
in fields of summer blossoms 
strewn across a wide valley
that spread out in all directions as if it had 
nowhere else to go but everywhere that she ran
as if her bones did not ache
and her memory did not fade
.
It was there
spinning beneath a kaleidoscope
field 
of scarlet and lemon and lavender clouds
streaming across the sky
that she remembered.
Him.
His touch.
His breath.
His smell.
His body.

What took you so long to come and get me, she asked, trailing her fingers through the fronds of wildflowers
blowing in the wind.

You can only cross the river
in your own time, he said.

She watched his hands
the hands she remembered
toiling
touching
tending
to the fire
the fields
the cattle
her body.

He lifted those hands
she remembered so well
up
up
up above her head
and from his palms
petals of sunlight
fell all around her
showering her in beams
of golden joy
sparkling like raindrops
falling
on a spring fresh morning.

Have I died and gone to Heaven,
she asked,
her smile girlish
her laughter tinkling
soft
like the wind chime that hung outside the window
of the only home she'd ever known where she was safe
in the arms of the man she’d loved so long ago.

Death is just the beginning 
of what comes next, he replied.
And he bent down towards
the ground and picked a blood red rose from the field of purple irises 
through which they walked and 
gently tucked it behind her ear.

We’ve only just begun, my love.
We’ve only just begun. 

Coming Home.

Let the fun begin!

Coming home, I enter my studio.

The muse is calling.

I play. I layer paint. I scratch and inscribe and make marks on the paper until, satisfied, I begin to draw and colour in floral shapes.

When I’m done, I have a small, (5 1/2 x 4″) 8 page booklet. On each page, I print in gold, one letter of the word Thank You.

It feels good to be creating. Easing into the creative field. Full of inspiration, ingenuity, inventiveness, I feel myself swimming effortlessly in its vast open waters of imagination.

It is here I find myself coming home.

_____________________________

If you are interested in an online (or in person) workshop on how to create one of these little booklets… drop me a note — either in the comment box below or via email/messenger or on my FB page.

Here’s a 10 second video of the final result of one of the booklets I made.

You’re Not Welcome… Yet.

Does a tree say to leaves turning golden in July, “Stop! Go back to green! It’s not time to change seasons yet! It’s not time to bring out your autumn wardrobe of many colours.”

Or does it embrace nature’s ways with grace and ease? Accepting that all things happen in their own time. All things unfold as they are meant to unfold. Because, the trees know, they are not separate from nature. They are one with all of life on earth.

There are glimmers of gold in the trees this morning. Buffalo berries glow bright red in the bushes outside my window. And the sun glows red in a smoke clouded sky.

We are in the height of summer here on the leeward side of the Rocky Mountains. The forests are lush and green. The yet to turn golden green fronds of prairie grasses dance in the wind as if pulled by a puppeteer’s unseen hands.

And I want to yell at the leaves that continue to fade from green to golden, “Go back. Go back. You’re not welcome here… Yet.”

And I know my exhortations to retreat will be unheeded.

It is nature’s way.

To change. To flow. To be impervious to my demands as it struggles to meet the demands of a world where the very beings that make life on earth possible, the trees and rivers and oceans and air, are being continuously bombarded with our insensitive human ways.

Perhaps that is why the most recent spate of wildfires and floods and other natural disasters have felt so daunting. So incomprehensible. So sad.

Nature is responding in the only way it knows how to our continued demands it accept our garbage, our toxic waste, our extravagant assertions it act like a sponge to all we thoughtlessly deposit into the air and rivers and oceans and fields and forests and valley bottoms. It has reached the zenith of all it can contain. It is breaking open, breaking down and we, the humans of this world, are responsible.

This is not a battle of wills, of ‘little man’ with just a slingshot looking to topple the behemoth of nature. Nature is our partner. We are one with it, part of all of it as it is part of all of us. And we are in a fight for our lives. Should we remain impervious to nature’s need for us to change our ways, no one, not nature, not humans, not sentient nor non-sentient beings who are all our co-inhabitants of this planet which gives us life will survive.

I spied a patch of golden leaves this morning. I want to tell them to turn back to green but cannot stop nature’s way.

I can stop getting in the way of nature’s calls for help. I can stop demanding nature keep giving me life and start honouring the life it gives me and the symbiotic nature of our relationship. And to do that, I must do more with less, create better with everything, and give to the earth and all its beings both the less and the best of me.

I can stop hoping someone else ‘fix it’ and start fixing what I have contributed to breaking.

Autumn leaves turning golden in July beneath a smoke laden sky reminded me this morning of my continued need to lessen my footprint, pay attention to each step I take upon this planet.

Autumn leaves are turning. And though it feels too soon, it is not too soon for us to change our ways. We’re already late.

Acts of Contrition

We are back from the “Middle Kingdom” as my friend Iwona calls it (that would be Ontario — and in particular Ottawa and area – we just spent two weeks in Barry’s Bay on beautiful Lake Kamiskeg.

Iwona sent home a gift for Beaumont the Sheepadoodle. He really likes Poutine flavoured biscuits. He also really likes Iwona.

The problem begins when he realizes…. I didn’t bring home something special for my spectacularly special Beau!

Oh dawg! Am I in trouble now! He’s looking for Acts of Contrition to make up for my ‘oversight’.

Come and join Beau on his blog today to read all about my necessary Acts of Contrition!

Just put your paws on the link and CLICK HERE!

Photosynthesis

The view from where I sit

This is a land of trees. Trees that march across valley bottoms, up rolling hills to merge, somewhere far off in the distance, with the horizon falling down towards earth.

“It’s easy to see how someone could get lost in the woods here,” I mention to my beloved as we drive east, across the TransCanada Highway that has only been a link from east to west and west to east since 1965.

The trees sprawl out in every direction stopping only at the shores of the mighty Lake Superior whose northern edge we traverse in our eastward drive.

Thirty-four hours and over 3500 kilometers later, we reach Georgian Bay glittering like a pale sapphire under the hot July sun. We spend two delightful days visiting with C.C.’s oldest brother and his wife and then move further east, through Algonquin Park to Barry’s Bay.

We are here now at the shore of Kamaniskeg Lake where we will visit with our dear friends U and A for the next week before flying home.

And I feel it all.

Permeating my skin.

Sinking deep into my bones.

Infusing my senses with its beauty.

The silence.

The quiet of the lake.

The birds twittering in the trees.

The stillness.

Soft. Sensuous. Sibilance.

There is no breeze caressing the leaves, stirring them into story-telling.

No tell-tale gusts of wind rippling the water’s surface.

There is only green. Miles and miles of green caressing the deep blue waters of the lake which the trees surround like lovers merging their bodies into one as they lay entwined on a bed of leaves beneath a hot summer sun.

And in the presence of the silence, in the depth of this stillness and the narrowing of the distance between my body and nature, I find myself breathing. Deep.

I am here. Present. Embodied in the stillness of it all.

Photosynthesis
by Louise Gallagher


The quiet enduring embrace
of nature
fills
   my spirit
calming
   my city-riddled nerves
easing
   my busy-minded thoughts
into the silence
  immersing me 
    like the trees
     conspiring  
with the sun
to transform carbon dioxide 
into life
   giving 
     birth
      to life
again and again.

In the presence of trees
silently standing sentinel
to nature’s ways
    I find 
      myself
         falling
with grace
   sliding softly
into nature’s 
    quiet 
       enduring
          embrace
again and again.

Hey Peeps! It’s me Beaumont! And I’m so confused. I’m in need of some impartial hooman guidance. So…. tell me I’m not out of line. Tell me I’m being real considerate ’cause honest, I understand why they’ve gone off for two weeks without me, but I do draw the line at Louise putting photos of some other dawggone dawg on my here blog!

It’s called, Sundays with Beaumont for a reason.

It’s my blog. My place to reign supreme, to be Top Dawg, Beaumont the Magnificent, the King of this here digital domaine!

But hey. I’m magnificent and generous. Right? So…

CLICK HERE and PLEASE> PLEASE PLEASE come to my rescue!

Thanks peeps. Beaumont the magnificently magnanimous…

This Anger Runs Deep

This Anger Runs Deep
by Louise Gallagher

This anger 
fuelled by centuries 

of abuse and cruelty, 
colonization, 
and attempted genocide

of the peoples who walked these lands
long before the settlers came

this anger runs deep
deep 
and fierce

and red
like the salmon
pushing upstream
fighting for life.


This anger
runs deep

pushing against the river
of settlers who raced
to claim these lands from sea to sea
these lands 
the people who once walked

proud and free

never tried to claim
because they held
deep within their bodies

deep within their ways 

the knowing,
no one could own the land
or the rivers

or the trees

or the wild life that ran

free
through the forests
 of these lands
they once walked
and hunted and gathered
proud and free.


This anger
runs red 
like the salmon

pushing upstream
in a fight for survival
and the right

to once again be of this land
proud and free
and to stand tall
like their ancestors
who once walked
these lands

before the settlers came
and washed away their ways

to leave this anger
running deep.

Magnificently Magnanimous Beau

Beaumont: So…. when are you going to get straight with me and tell me about the change in plans Louise?

Me: Oh dear. You heard.

Beau: Hello! I have ears. How could I not have heard. You’re telling the world. Except me of course.

Me: I didn’t want to upset you.

Beau: So… how is not being straight with me not upsetting?

Me: I figured when the time came you’d be ready.

To read more on how Beaumont the Sheepadoodle — ooops Beaumont the Magnificently Magnanimous Sheepadoodle — sets me straight… do come join him on his blog today. He loves company.

Click HERE

The Best You Can Do

The Best You Can Do.
by Louise Gallagher

You ask me to believe
you are doing your best
even when your best

is not true
for another.


And I do

believe
you are doing
your best.


And I do wonder,
can you believe

that in doing your best

you are limited 
by your belief
your best

is true for others?


What if

your best 
could be better?

What if

you stopped believing
you know what is best
for others?


Would you then choose 
to believe
what is true 
for another

is best
for them

even if it’s not
true for you?


Would you then choose
to believe
their truth
is the best way to create
something better than
what you believe
is the best
you can do?