All posts by 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.

Being present

I thought it would be easy, this making a difference. And while doing things to make a difference is easy, I am finding myself challenged to stay in the consciousness of being present at all times, watching for opportunities to present themselves, so that I can effortlessly turn up and make a difference with grace.

There are moments when ‘the difference’ appears without any prompting. Standing on the deck at the ferry terminal in Nanaimo, watching the ship roll into the dock, I see a mother and father and their two sons. All decked out in Canuck hockey jersey’s, the mother is taking a photo of her boys against the backdrop of the harbour.

“Would you like a photo of all of you?” I ask.

And she smiles gratefully, shows me how to operate the camera and moves back to join her family for the photo. It was the same with the trio of women on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery later that afternoon when Alexis and I were leaving the gallery. “Would you like a photo together?” I asked and they gratefully accepted.

And the panhandler sitting on the sidewalk. It was easy to give him coins, just as it was easy to drop a $5 bill into the open guitar case of a busker. Making the decision to give to people on the street is a simple case of deciding to share what coin I have.

But, what of all those other times I didn’t notice? That’s where I find myself challenged in this process. Those chunks of time where I am moving through my day on auto-pilot, not really connecting to the world around me.

I notice it in other’s eyes as well. Walking along the street, intent on getting to where they’re going, they pass me by, engaged in some other mission than being right there where they’re at, looking for opportunities to be the difference they want to see in the world.

It is not the ‘making a difference’ that is the challenge. It’s the being present, being in the moment that eludes me as I catch myself drifting away, sealing myself off from the world passing me by, moving through my day by rote.

Yes, it is in being present that I must be different.

hitchhikers on the road

Opportunities to make a difference seem to appear quite naturally.

Yesterday, on my way to the ferry to cross over to Nanaimo to visit a friend who has been at a rehab centre there for the past 3 months, we passed a man hitch-hiking. He had a backpack slung over one shoulder, a knitted cap covering his head and was walking purposefully along the road. He stuck out his thumb as we approached.

Their car being quit small and with all four of us seated in it, my brother-in-law quite naturally said, “We don’t really have room for another.”

“Sure we do,” I replied from the back seat where I sat with my sister.

And we squished over and we squished over to make room for Jim, the hitchhiker.

He too was going to the ferry and was delighted for the ride. “I didn’t think I’d catch the 1pm ferry,” he told me as we stood chatting on the deck during the 20 minute across across to Nanaimo. His battery was dead in his truck and he was on his way to pick up a new one. “It only took an hour for my brother to figure out what was wrong,” he laughingly told me. His brother lives in Jim’s hometown of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Jim lives here on the opposite coast.

We spent a delightful 20 minutes chatting and on the other side, Jim walked off to buy a battery and I took a cab to visit my friend who was delighted and grateful I took the time to come and visit. She hasn’t had many visitors while at the rehab centre, and while she knows she’s on the right path, she’s missed her friends. As I have missed her.

My conclusion at the end of the day as I rode the ferry back to Gabriola Island where C.C. and my sister and her husband were meeting me for dinner at the pub near the ferry — life is filled with opportunities to make a difference. I just have to be open to creating room for them to appear.

And so it begins

It began with an ending. After almost six years working at Canada’s largest homeless shelter (an accolade no one should strive for) I have walked away.

When I arrived in the spring of 2006 I was looking for a home — a place to belong, a place to feel part of something larger than myself alone in the world — and I found it. There amidst those who care for and those who were experiencing homelessness, I found my home.

I wasn’t a frontline worker. Wasn’t in charge of anything directly related to client services. I was the Director, Public Relations and Volunteer Services — a job I loved, a job I held with great joy and a job I gave my heart to.

It was worth it.

Almost six years later, for me working at the shelter made me a better human being. It taught me the true meaning of compassion, of giving, of being part of this condition called human — a condition we all share, no matter our circumstances, the depth of our pockets or our pain or joy.

Everyday going to work I knew I was making a difference. I knew I was living on purpose.

And then, a series of events gave me cause to pause and consider — what’s next? Is this still where I fit in? And in asking the question it became clear — I was looking for more, for what was out there beyond the doors of the shelter. It was time to leave.

And therein lay my conundrum. How would I still make a difference everyday when I no longer worked in a place that delivered up that opportunity everyday?

And thus the idea arose that to make a difference I had to get conscious, get focused on the need to ‘do it’ everyday.

And that’s where this blog comes in.

Today is the first day of the new year, 2012. Today is the first of 365 days where I shall be living consciously in the essence of making a difference everyday — not just in my life — but in the world experiencing joyfully what happens when I ‘give’ without expectation of receiving.

This difference is outward focused. It’s about making the world around me a better place, being the change I want to see in the world — as Ghandi exhorts.

Today, the first day of the New Year, is my first post.

Today, I am choosing to be committed to making a difference every day.

It is just past midnight ` not much time to ‘make a difference, but in the process of getting here to Gabriola Island where C.C and I are celebrating the new year, i was given anopportunity to express my difference. Though online, BC Feries showed a 2pm ferry, when we got to the terminal, the next ferry was at 3pm. I smiled and thanked him for our tickets. And while C.C. sat in the terminal and read, I wandered Horseshoe Bay, bought us each a tea and bought the coffee for the woman in front of me — or at least the $2.10 she was short. And then, when we raced off the ferry in Nanaimo to catch the connection to Gabriola — I smiled at the woman at the ferry terminal when she told me we had missed the ferry by one minute. I didn’t get upset. didn’t whine, I smiled and bought two tickets for the next one, an hour and 10 minutes later.

And I felt better for my good humour. Better for not being snarky — wasn’t anyone’s fault. It just was.

That is my difference for today. To accept what is and let it be.


Happy New Year!


I am working on my iPad — which only allows me to work in HTML — which is interesting because I can’t see what I’mtyping — how doI change the text from mite print on white background, to black print on white background — hmmm… the difference I’m making is allowing myself to just settle here and not panic. It will all work out. :