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.

Vision Board 2021

I spent the morning gaining clarity on my path for 2021.

I hosted a session on Zoom on creating a Vision Board with two friends.

As we created, we laughed and chatted and shared stories and sipped our coffees and got glue on our fingers and on everything else too!

And like women gathering at the wekk, we found ourselves in that sacred space that opens up when women come together in community.

A Vision Board is a visual tool that is both metaphorical and literal. With the use of images and words, it helps focus your intention, your desires, your wishes for your life – or one particular area of your life.

For me today, my vision board focused on my ‘creative expressions’. What I want to consider, conceive, and create this year.

Perhaps the most powerful morsel of clarity (which takes a huge bite out of my self-doubt and sometimes confusing thoughts on what I want to do next) is the answer that appeared to the statement – The unifying link between my work and my love for [life is]… Visual Storytelling & Words.

Wow!

I didn’t know when we began at 9 this morning that I would find that response.

And that’s the beauty of spending three hours individually and collectively focussing on ‘self’ and creating a visual storyboard of ‘what I want more of in my life’ and ‘where will I place my focus?’ this year.

If you haven’t created a Vision Board for 2021 (or ever before) it’s Easy. Fun. Enlightening.

I’ll be creating a ‘cheat sheet’ on how to do it and will post it on my website. Stay tuned! I’ll add the link here when I’m done!

(And that comes from the clarity I gained this morning! How exciting is that!)

Thank you JD and SV for spending the time with me and for inspiring me to focus my attention on the ‘what’ of this year.

UNFURL

“Unfurl”. My word for 2021.

un·furl
/ˌənˈfərl/

Learn to pronounce

verb
past tense: unfurled; past participle: unfurled
make or become spread out from a rolled or folded state, especially in order to be open to the wind.
"a man was unfurling a sail"

It arrived quietly on a gentle wave full of self-compassion flowing with possibility, desire, anticipation.

Yes. My heart said. I see you. I feel you. I know you. You mean something to me.

It felt hopeful. Full of spreading wings and dreams unfolding on flights of fancy as I leapt into unknown skies and dove into creative seas yet to be explored.

“Let your sparkle out.” was the tagline that appeared to go with my word.

I sprinkled gold and silver glitter dust onto the still wet canvas.

It was fun. Expressive. Concrete with dollops of whimsy.

I wanted my painting to represent the unfurling of unlimited creative expression, freedom from self-criticism and fear of ‘looking ridiculous’. I wanted it to be a statement of my fearless pursuit of living embodied in the present moment, passionate, alive, unlimited.

And then Washington happened and I felt the weightiness and the precision of that word cut deep into my body.

Can you unfurl compassion amidst the fear, the horror, the confusion you feel watching these events, the word seemed to be asking as I poured paint onto the canvas.

Can you hold those who dissent in the same space as those who are in accord with your truth?

I had to stop and breathe into that one.

Could I?

Could I let go of seeing the perpetrators of yesterday’s events through the lens of right and wrong and hold all who participated in the same space of compassion as those who were tormented by their assault?

I didn’t want to.

And a tiny voice from deep within my belly rose up and whispered into my heart, “It would take a miracle.”

And that’s when truth shimmered like the sparkling dust on my painting.

Perhaps, yesterday’s events were the miracle.

Yes. What happened was horrific. And for one woman and those who know and love her, tragically final. Her death could have been avoided. The events of yesterday could have been redirected.

But it wasn’t. And they weren’t.

It is impossible to change the events that lead to yesterday.

It is possible to change what happens next.

Violence does not create harmony. It does not open the door to peaceful coexistence.

But, in the horror of all that transpired yesterday, there were those who have stayed silent who spoke up. There were those who had acquiesced to the subversion of due process through their sitting on the sidelines, who stood up and held themselves accountable.

Can I see the miracle in that?

I am struggling to be in this space of compassion. To simply hold myself accountable to breathing without my mind tearing into words of condemnation of all those would tear apart a country I love as my neighbour.

I struggle yet know, to be a voice of calm, to be a space of compassion, anger, criticism, calling people names, deriding their politics does not create the more of what I want to have in the world.

It does not create peace. Harmony. Joy. Dignity. Equality. Love.

And so, I allow myself to unfurl in compassion.

I breathe into the miracle that appeared within the words of those who had once stridently spoken out against due process as they stood down and held up their hand in accord.

I breathe into the miracle of unity that appeared within the discord.

And with each breath, compassion unfurls and my heart opens up.

I do not believe violence is the answer. Meeting violence with violence isn’t either.

I believe we, the people of this planet we all call our home, have the power to find answers that celebrate and nurture and promote our humanity. We have the power to bring light to the darkness, and peace to every heart.

And I believe, it starts with a miracle.

And so, I hold onto the miracle and let my heart unfurl in the possibility of more.

Namaste.

Falling Effortlessly

 Falling Effortlessly
 ©2021 Louise Gallagher 
 
 I stand and watch the sun 
 bathe the distant mountains
 in morning’s glory.
 
 Day awakens. It beckons me to be right here,
  right where I’m at.

 Breathing deeply, I surrender
 and the beauty of the moment
 catches me falling effortlessly
 into Love’s enduring embrace. 

I stand on the platform of the small observation deck built into the side of the hilltop, just before the path dips down into the valley below.

In the distant horizon, the rising sun bathes the mountains in morning’s glory. A Chinook Arch stretches itself across the sky like a blanket thrown across the frozen ground to warm it up.

I want to capture the moment. To freeze it under the klieg lights of my attention as if in its frozen image I will find myself free of thought, fully present here.

Still, my mind chatters. I wish I’d put my hat on. My ears are cold. Don’t forget to drop that canvas off at JD’s today for our Zoom visit Friday. I wonder if I turned the coffee on before Beaumont and I left for our morning walk. I must remember to call the dog groomer’s today.

A Canada Goose, floating on the river below, honks loudly. repeatedly. In its cacophony, I hear it saying, ‘Stop listening to your brain chatter. Listen. Listen deep to the world around you.”

I give my head a shake. Beaumont keeps sniffing at the snow along the trail.

I close my eyes. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out.

The thrum of a train heading west vibrates in the air. The hum of traffic plays like a counterpoint to the melody of the river below where as it rounds a curve downriver, the ice forces it to bunch up into a rushing stream racing to get through the narrower channel. A bird twitters somewhere in a tree.

I keep my eyes closed.

I listen. Deep.

I want to take it all in. To hold it all in one thought-filled moment. But it escapes, like steam from a pressure cooker being slowly released.

I breathe. Deep. And open my eyes.

Sunrise has slipped into day. The geese still float languidly on the surface of the water below. The river keeps flowing eastward. Time flows in all directions.

And I wonder. Where do my thoughts go when I stop listening to their chatter?

And I smile. It doesn’t matter where they go. What matters is, will I let them pull my attention away from being here, right now?

Will I follow the randomness of my mind or follow my heart’s desire to know stillness. Peace. Calm. Tranquility.

I take a breath and Beaumont and I keep walking.

Beauty walks with us.

Between Each Breath

Between Each Breath
 ©2021 Louise Gallagher 
 
Between each breath
 there is a stillness
 within the stillness
 there is the space
 to breathe
 deeply
 into the beauty
 of all that is present
 in this moment
 embodied
 in all you are
 when you breathe
 within the stillness
between each breath. 

Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I have a new routine. Instead of taking him outside every morning via the lower deck, I put my longest coat on over my pyjamas, don my boots and hat and gloves to ward off the chill of these winter mornings. I drape his harness over Beaumont’s head and attach the retractable leash and off we go into the darkness that is still morning this first week of January.

We walk out of our cul de sac, turn right onto the street that leads from the top of the hill down to the main road and, at the corner where it meets the main road, we turn right again and walk along the well-litpath leading to the pedestrian bridge over the river.

There is a spot about halfway across where someone has affixed a red plastic wreath. Inside it is a photo. It is of a man smiling. His smile is frozen in time. His body lost to the rushing waters some months ago when he leapt from the bridge and disappeared.

Every morning since I began this new routine just before Christmas Day, I stand below the wreath, close my eyes and take a breath. A deep one.

Beaumont sniffs in the snow that covers the pathway, pulling on the leash as long as I let him. And then he stops and stands watching me. Patiently waiting. As if he knows this is a moment of reverence.

I listen to the river. Its flow is fast and furious in the winter. The ice island keeps growing larger between the two buttresses sunk deep into the water to support the bridgedeck. Between the buttresses, where an ice island has formed in the centre of the river, the flow is blocked, forcing it to either side. It pushes and shoves its way through the narrower waterway, slipping off the ice where it grows outward from the shore towards the centre and from the centre of the river out. Ice locked.

I stand, eyes closed, heart open, breath stirring deep in my belly and listen to the river. I stand and say a silent prayer for this man for whom life became too great a burden.

I stand and say a prayer for all those who will today let go of the burden of their lives and fall into the everlasting.

I stand and say a prayer for all those fighting to cling to life with every breath they take and for those who stand by their bedsides giving aid and comfort. They are standing in for the ones who cannot be there. They carry their pain.

I stand and say a prayer for this world. So hurting. So bruised and battered. Battle weary. For the leafless trees standing sentinel in the dark along the river banks. For the geese honking and flapping their wings somewhere out on the ice island. And for the river and the ice and the mountains and the sands, the oceans and the seas. I stand and say a prayer.

I stand and say a prayer for those who are sick or for whom the separation of these days sits like a heavy cloak upon their shoulders, bending their backs.

I stand and say a prayer for those who are struggling, who are feeling lost and alone. Frightened or confused by these days of solitude.

And then, I bring my prayers back home to my heart.

I stand and say a silent prayer for those close to me and far away, I stand and say a prayer for my mother and my father and brother, his wife, my family members who are gone and my cousin who lost the battle to Covid and all those who will lose the battle today.

I stand in the stillness between each breath and say a prayer.

My mother taught me the power of prayer.

It is teaching me how to be present in the grace of stillness.

I am grateful.

Let All I Am Be The Breath Of Love

If I were a magician who could repair the past, I would weave the strands of time into a tapestry that would tell a story where Love always saves the day. Like the princess of fairy-tale lore who wove shirts of nettles so her brothers could be transformed from swans back to human form, I would drape my tapestry upon the past and all hurts and pain would vanish beneath its beauty.

If I had a magic wand that could heal broken hearts, I would wave it wildly about like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice of Fantasia-lore commanding a broom to dance with joy. Wherever I waved my wand hearts all around me would begin to beat in harmony and the cracks and bruises and scars would be erased and Love would flow freely.

If I had a magical potion that could transform hatred and fear into Love, I would make great vats of it and pour it into a golden flask that I would offer to all the world. And with every sip, hatred and fear would be drowned in Love.

If I had an enchanted incantation that could ward off disease, I would inscribe it onto silver amulets like the ancient Romans did to make deadly disease go away. I would make an amulet for every human on this planet and carry them with me where ever I went so that all I met could wear the amulet around their neck and be safe from harm.

But I do not have the power to repair the past, nor do I have a magic wand or potion or incantation that will heal broken hearts or drown out hatred and fear or free the world of disease.

I have only my heart, my hands, my thoughts and words, my every deed and my intention to be a channel of peace, joy and Love.

Let all I am flow with nature’s beauty so that when my world connects with yours it is not a collision but rather, a gentle caress where the distance between our hearts is bridged through Love.

Let all I am be the breath of love.

Let that be enough.

Me: Beaumont. What are you doing?

Beau: Sitting.

Me: On my lap.

Beau: My… you are observant Louise.

Me: It’s kind of hard not to be. You’re too big and heavy to be a lapdog.

Beau: I ain’t heavy. I’m your brother.

Me: Right. And it’s a long, long road with many a winding turn.

Beau: You got it Louise! I’m no burden to bear.

Me: Beau… why are you quoting the lyrics of a ’70s song you’ve never even heard before?

To read the rest of this post, and to discover why Beau thinks he really is a lapdog, please join him on his blog today – click HERE

What Will You Do?

The photo is taken from the bridge I look at when I am sitting at my desk.

Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I cross it every morning when we take our first walk of the day. I am (usually) still in my PJs. My long black winter coat covers me well. There are usually not many people out at this ‘just before the dawn’ walk.

This morning, we set out about half an hour later than normal. I’m grateful we did as the sun greeted us as we turned back towards home.

We stoped in the middle of the bridge. Beau to sniff out all the scents. Me to breathe into the beauty around me and to listen to the river running fast and loud beneath the bridge.

The river runs noisy. An ice island is forming between the two middle buttresses of the bridge, pushing the water out into two separate channels on either side. The river flows in from the west, meets the tip of the ice island, separates and crowds itself into the narrow channels that run along either shore under the bridge.

I stop and listen. The rushing waters burble, leaping over each other in a wild cacophony of sound. Their glorious song is full of possibilities. As if the waters know, they cannot flow back to their beginnings and must keep moving ever-onwards towards the distant sea that waits with eager anticipation to embrace them.

The river carries no regret.

May we all travel like the river.

May we all carry no regrets.

____________________________________

 What Will You Do?
  ©2021 Louise Gallagher 

 What will you do with the limitless possibilities 
 of this new year that reaches far beyond 
 the past you know so well 
 into the distant horizon you have not yet travelled?

 Will you turn your back on its promises
 dragging past hurts and pains and disappointments
 as you stumble and fall 
 beneath the burden of all you carry?

 Will you step forward, 
 lightly and confidently, 
 into the unknown promises 
 yearning to unfurl
  into the spaciousness created
 when you let go of the things 
 that do not serve you well on this journey?

 What will you do?

All That Remains

We are six women in our writing circle every Wednesday evening. Five American. One Canadian. Me. Yesterday, at the end of our hour and a half together, we spoke of these times and all they’ve brought, and all they’ve taken away.

The losses feel almost incomprehensible. As one of the women said last night, with over 350,000 deaths in the US and the numbers climbing, it is numbing.

It is. Yet, we cannot let it be. Numbing. For these are lives lived that are no more. Mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters. Family members and friends. They may be strangers to me, but to someone their loss leaves an empty place that can never be filled.

As Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I walked this morning in the brilliant sunshine, as we listened to the river crowding through the narrowing channels where ice is beginning to block its path, as I sipped my coffee at my desk and watched the squirrels play their constant game of tag along naked branches of the trees, I wondered how do you fill those empty places when the one who once was there is gone forever?

It feels fitting that as 2020 draws to its close and the calendar turns not just a page or month but into an entirely new year, that I spend some time reflecting upon those who will not be stepping into the new year.

And so, I offer this poem.

2021. High On Expectations

Bookmarks — alcohol inks on yupo paper

I originally titled this post – 2020! Need I say more?

But then I wondered… what if it’s not about 2020 anymore? (Which btw it isn’t when I look at the calendar)

What if it’s all about 2021? We (as in the entire planet) sure are expecting a lot from it.

How will it ever live up to our expectations? Especially, if as the saying goes, “Expectations are premeditated disappointments.”

Which got me thinking that perhaps the best thing I can do is to stay out of the field of expectations and instead, water the seeds of Love growing in the garden of my heart.

That garden is the one I must tend to, no matter the season, the times, the weather, the state of the world around me. No matter if Covid beats a hasty retreat and we are free to embrace one another again without fearing the worst, the state of the garden of Love in my heart keeps me rooted in grace and gratitude. It opens me up and brings me into the beauty of this moment in which I find myself breathing freely.

May the garden of your heart be full of beauty growing wild and free in all the colours of the rainbow. May you awaken to Love blossoming with every breath you take.