Category Archives: acts of grace

Look Upward

6th two page spread in Sheltered Wonder Art Journal project. – Watercolour & acrylic on watercolour paper.

Prayer is the intermediary to Grace. Prayer connects us to the mystical, spiritual, divine essence of Life.

It’s not a religious thing for me. It’s a spiritual openness. A portal into the divine essence of life where, when I look upward, I remember the Grace that imbues life with all of Nature’s wonder, awe and possibility.

Because, when all feels lost, when there appears to be no exit, no safe recourse, no possibility of another step, I look upward and I pray and Grace finds me wherever I am, how ever I am and fills me up with hope.

This morning, as I sat at my desk and watched the river flow and the rain fall and the bright-green, newly budded leaves on the trees shimmer in the breeze, tears gathered at the back of my eyes and my heart filled up with gratitude that flowed upward from deep within my body and soul.

On this morning in 2003, I stood by a gentle flowing river, looked up into the blue sky and I prayed. Hard.

I prayed for death to take me.

I did not want to live. My life was one long, fearful moment running blindly into the next. At the time, the abuser and I were in hiding while he evaded the police and tried to get out of the country. I sat in silence. Never threatening the status quo. Never making waves that might disrupt him. Though, given his propensity to fly into a rage no matter what I did or said, avoiding making waves was kind of impossible.

On this day, it had been almost three months since my daughters, or anyone from my past, knew where I was or if I was alive. They feared the worst.

I prayed for the worst. I wanted him to end my life because I was not courageous enough, or strong enough, to do it myself. At least, that’s what I told myself. Though my words were not so kind. They bordered on the abusive, a mirror of the names he liked to call me.

By that time, everything in my life had become enmeshed in his lies. The only truth I held onto was that I loved my daughters. I could not make a lie of that truth by taking my own life.

And so, I prayed for release by him or some other outside force.

My prayers were answered. Not as I expected but by a blue and white police car that drove up and arrested the abuser at 9:14am on this morning in 2003. It wasn’t the physical death I was seeking. It was, however, the death I needed. The end of that relationship.

I am grateful my prayers were answered. I am grateful the Universe, The Divine, God, Allah, Yahweh, The Light, Almighty, All Powerful, however you call it/her/him, answered my prayers in a way that was life-giving, not life-ending.

But then, that’s the thing about Grace. It creates. It opens. It welcomes. It does not destroy.

Up to that moment of being released from that relationship, I had prayed for gravity to magically release its hold on my body so that it could fall of its own volition into the river and be washed out to sea.

Instead, Grace descended and embraced me, washing away my fears, my horror, sorrow, grief, anger, shame leaving me free to do what I needed to do to reclaim my life and Grow Wild. Live Strong. Love Always.

Seventeen years ago today I was given the miracle of my life.

I am grateful.

This morning, I look upward and say a prayer of gratitude.

And the sky and the trees and the river and the grasses and the flowers and the squirrels tucked safely in their nest in the hollow trunk of a tree that protects them from the rain coming down, and the geese huddled up against the riverbank, and the songbirds sheltering in the grasses, answer my prayers with their gift of nature dancing wildly in living colour, in Love with all of Life.

Namaste.

Walk In Wonder

2 page spread “Sheltered Wonder” art journal Water colour and acrylic inks on water colour paper

Yesterday, I complete the sixth 2-page spread in my “Sheltered Wonder” art journal.

I am loving the experience. Savouring each moment I spend immersed in the creative flow expressing itself through the exploration of the question: “What are the gifts and learnings that have come through this sequestered solitude.”

It may be an enforced, not asked for nor even welcomed isolation. It holds many gifts and every spread I create for the journal is revealing how many gifts I’ve received and how much I am learning during this exceptional state of affairs.

The process of creating a journal page is very much a reflection of life. My life in this case. It begins with a meditation of some sort – either to music or in silence. As I enter my meditation, I often carry with me a question. Something like: “Where am I right now?” “What’s yearning to be expressed?” “What colour are my emotions today?”

Sometimes, I ask, “What’s in my bucket I need to empty out?”

I have long known that I carried what I call a ‘shame bucket’. I picked up as a child and learned to self-soothe in the presence of that bucket. At a young age, the child in me learned to believe she was not worthy. That bucket held the secrets of her unworthiness, so she held onto it believing she’d be lost without it.

If I am not paying attention to the now, that bucket can sometimes haunt the adult me with its need to be filled through acts that undermine my integrity, my values, my sense of self-worth. When I catch myself ignoring doing things I need to do to create harmony in my life, I know I’m in deep doo-doo, totally out of balance, off-kilter. In those times of distress, I have to turn and ask the child to let go of the bucket so I can hold her lovingly in my arms. We both know that the road to her garden of joy, where she feels safe witin me, is through my art. I know. I know. very esoteric — and very, very healing, no matter my physical age.

The universe is filled with mystical insights, wonder, awe and miracles.

Yesterday, after a Zoom call lead by Mary, Joe and Greg Davis, the key facilitators of Choices Seminars, the personal development course I have been part of for the past 14 years, I approached my studio with my question in hand – “What wonder is yearning to be expressed?”

My meditation was filled with a golden lightness of being. With sparkling waters and light as air fairy dancers joyfully cavorting on the water’s surface.

And then, just as I was beginning to come back into the moment, I saw her. A little girl with golden hair standing at the corner of a field of wild flowers. In one hand she held a balloon. It trailed behind her, bobbing and weaving as she walked, brushing the wildflowers with her fingers. Ahead of her, the field of colour turned into a forest.

Will she enter?

I began painting from that place of curiosity. Will she or won’t she?

My art journal pages are many layered. They weave and morph into many things until finding the essence of their story exposed on the page. It could be a word, a quote, a face… The possibilities are limitless and can take many layers to be called forth.

As I look at her with morning fresh eyes, the words that appeared and especially her balloon, I awaken to the essence of her story.

The bucket is gone. Vanished, or perhaps banished. It is replaced by a beautiful translucent balloon. Balloons speak of magic and mystery to me. And while, in the ‘real’ world I do not use them as they are environmentally harmful, in the field of wonder that is my imagination, balloons have great meaning.

It’s hard to get rid of a bad habit, but, if you focus on replacing it with something healthier, more life-giving, the habit becomes a welcome friend.

Yesterday, on the Zoom call, Joe Davis of Choices said, “Habits rule our lives.” And then he went on to describe how our brains are attuned to ‘chunking’, especially around activities that are rote or repetitive. (For more on ‘chunking’ – click HERE.)

Some of my thinking brain’s chunking has enriched and informed my life. Some… well let’s just say, it’s resulted in some not so healthy habits.

And so I wonder and walk and paint my dreams in all the colours of the rainbow… If the little girl can replace her bucket with the beautiful, light-hearted whimsy of a balloon… what else is possible?

Namaste

More process photos:

The Future Is Not Now

Years ago, when I got out of a relationship that was killing me, my future was pretty grim. I was broken. The ‘me’ I thought I was had devolved into the puppet of his command. I had no voice. No sense of ‘I’. No future worth living for.

I had two choices. Stay traumatized. Heal.

Going through that relationship was hard. It almost killed me. Getting out of it, I had PTSD. I had no money. No job. No home. No belongings. Nothing.

What I did have was a miracle. He had been arrested and I knew deep within me, that was the miracle that saved my life.

I could not waste my miracle. I had to choose to heal. How was up to me.

Armed with my miracle and the belief I didn’t get it to live in pain and sorrow, I had to decide to heal. Me. Broken relationships. My life.

My number one priority was to heal my relationship with my daughters. By the time of his arrest, we were estranged. I wanted to be part of their lives again. To feel and share the love that had flowed so strongly between us, before I got lost in an abusive relationship.

To heal that relationship, I had to heal myself first.

To heal myself, I had to choose to let go of the things that did not serve me on my healing journey. Bitterness. Regret. Resentment. Hatred. Anger. Fear. None of them moved me closer to healing. Giving into regrets and bitterness only made me feel worse.

There were so many questions for which I had no answers. How could he have done the things he’d done. How could I have been so blind? So selfish? How could I do the things I did to cause my daughters so much pain?

I had to choose to let those questions and all the heavy, life-sucking emotions that went with them, go. Those questions could not be answered from a place of weakness. I had to grow strong enough to face them without losing myself in their seductive, self-annihilating web of pain.

I could not go searching for answers in the past if I was to build a bridge to a future where I could be myself in all my darkness and light, beauty and the beast, warts and wounds, wonder and wisdom.

The past was too painful a place to tread without the light of love to guide me and the future could not be conceived without Love being my constant companion in the now.

The only place I could find myself was in the now. And, the only thing that could sustain me in the now was Love.

So I chose Love.

Every moment of every day.

No matter how broken and helpless I felt, no matter how lost and afraid, confused or tentative. Whatever I did, I had to do it in Love – with me, myself and I. All of me. The broken down, beat up, worthless feeling me. The shattered me who included the mother who deserted her daughters in the final throes of that relationship because the only way she could conceive of getting him out of their lives was to give up her right to live free of his abuse.

May 21st is approaching. It has been many years since that day in 2003 when a blue and white police car drove up and gave me the miracle of my life.

Time has deepened and enriched my gratitude.

I am grateful for my family and friends who loved me through it all.

Grateful for my daughters whose love, even in their pain and anger, never deserted me.

Grateful for the beauty and joy and Love in my life today. For the wonder and awe I experience with every breath.

And I am grateful I chose to heal In Love.

My life today is a beautiful tapestry of light and love, beauty and shadows that shimmer in the dark corners of my life as well as the wide-open expanses of possibilities unravelling with each new dawn. It is woven through with threads of fierce courage, gratitude and grace, joy and soul defining oases of calm.

It is my life lived In Love.

I still have down days and dark moments. I still experience cloudy skies and murky waters. This is life. Beautiful. Complex. Complicated. Messy.

But, no matter the times or the weather, one thing never fades. The Love that instills this moment right now with such beauty it takes my breath away.

Living now doesn’t mean giving up on the future. It means choosing to fill this moment, right now, with so much Love, the future becomes all that is now.

Namaste

The Divine Circle

 

 

MANDALA – A mandala is a geometric configuration of symbols. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. Wikipedia

Circles. Sacred spaces. No beginning. No end. Yet, beginnings become endings. Endings beginnings.

In the  Bhagavad Gita it is written, “Curving back within myself, I create again and again.”

Curving back I begin. I end. I begin. I end. Creating. Again and again.

Like waves. Ebbing in. Ebbing out. Returning. Retreating. Returning. Retreating. Again and again. Creating. Erasing. Creating. Erasing. No end. No beginning.

Like the bark of a tree, each circle of life grows bigger and wider with every passing moment.

The circle of life is constantly turning, curving back into itself, creating anew with each cursive return to the beginning that is the end of the beginning dissolving into the beginning again. Transformative. Just as every living organism on this planet is constantly weaving itself through a circle of transformation. Again and again.

Resistance is futile.

Life is a transformative journey. Our cells in constant motion. Our journey constantly evolving. Constantly curving back into itself to create, again and again. A more creative ‘me’ with every breath. A more connected ‘thee’. A more collective ‘we’.

Breath.

In. Out. In. Out. One constant wave circling back, creating, sustaining evolving life, again and again. Growing ever more powerful, beautiful, evolved with every curve back into itself.

I created a mandala yesterday in my Sheltered Wonder art journal. It feels… sacred. As if I am standing at the threshold of the divine essence of my human nature. It is calling me to step through. To release. To leap. To create. Again and again.

At the threshold, I stand bathed in the essential nature of the light that shines eternally from within, without and all around. Eyes closed. Arms wide open. Heart beating wildly, I curve back within myself to create again and again.

I step through. Again and again.

I begin again to create.

Life is wondrous. Life is miraculous. Life is a circle of Love.

Namaste

And… just to get your blood pounding through your veins, your heart beating wildly in love and life as you curve back within yourself to create, again and again….

The Joy Of Letting Go

Have you ever laid in bed, late at night, listening to a faucet drip? Remember that moment in between each drop? You hope it stops. You fear it won’t and then… the next drip sounds and you wait again.

One part of your mind says, ‘get up and do something about that drip’.

The other part, it wants to believe it will just happen naturally. The drop will stop dripping all on its own.

And so, you lay there wavering between the hope it will stop, and the fear it won’t.

Like the child learning to feed the wolf of kindness and grace, or the nasty harbinger of grief and misery, we go through each day making decisions between drips and drops of time passing. Between choosing hope over despair. Possibility over holding on. Love over fear. The known over the unknown.

In our quest to hold on to what we know, we are blinded by our fear of losing what we already have. Trapped in the fear we will lose it all if we let go, we cannot see that letting go is the initiation rite of passage we must pass through to discover the joy of flying.

Yesterday, on a bi-weekly call with two beautiful women friends, I shared how I fear letting go of ‘this space’ to create a new, exciting platform from which to launch my ‘next phase’.

I know. I know. Who says I need a next phase anyway? Heck! I’ve paid my dues. Done my service to humanity. After almost 20 years working in the homeless serving sector, I ‘deserve’ to ‘go quietly into the sunset’ or some such trite apothegm.

Fact is, I say I need, no wait, want a next phase. I want my life to have meaning that is purposeful and of service to humanity. Not because it feeds my ego. It’s not my ego that yearns for sustenance. It is my soul, my heart, my ‘person’.

I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward to explore a different terrain than the not for profit world I embraced so whole-heartedly in the past. A world that gave me great joy and fulfillment.

And see, there’s the thing, right there. It ‘gave me’. Past tense. It is not of the present.

What brings me joy today?

The peace and tranquility of my life is lovely. But as I told my friends yesterday, I miss the feeling of being busy. Of juggling many things. Of making purposeful decisions about big ideas.

Ahhh yes. I miss big ideas and big thinking. I miss feeling like I am part of making change happen.

I don’t want to go back and I cannot go forward without letting go of this space between the drip and the drop.

The end of this month will mark my one year anniversary of freedom from the 9 to 5, which as my daughters remind me was more my 24/7.

It has been a year of challenges. Of gut-twisting growth and heart-wrenching breakthroughs. Of soul-defying deep dives and fear-inspired pushing back.

I am ready.

And that’s the exciting part. “I don’t know” is a beautiful place to start my exploration.

I crave depth. Substance. Meaning.

Always have.

I crave growth. Creative expression. Connection. Belonging.

The question is: Am I willing to let go of holding on to what is, to fall into the unknown that is calling out for me to soar and discover all that is possible beyond what I already know? Am I courageous enough to live the questions with grace?

As Rilke so beautifully said,

Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Rainier Maria Rilke

The question is: Am I courageous enough to live the questions knowing the answers can only be lived through letting go of holding on to what I know?

Am I willing to let go of holding on to what is, to fall into the unknown that is calling out for me to soar and discover all that is possible beyond the edges of all I know?

Ooohhhh…. What heady, exciting, life giving questions to live everything now!

 

Wonder. dream. dare.

Inside first page of Sheltered Wonder art journal – mixed media on watercolour paper

The sun is bright this morning. The sky pastel blue on the horizon slipping effortlessly into deeper hues high above.

Buds unfurl on the trees and bushes that line the riverbank, like a priestess dancing in a temple, gracefully removing her veils, one by one. The buds unfurl a little bit more, growing bigger and fuller, day by day. The world turns greener as nature reveals itself in all its finery, its dance an erotic unveiling of joy and life.

Joy. Happiness. Gratitude fill my heart. I feel myself come alive within the sights, smells and breath of nature’s mystical dance of wonder.

Yesterday, I dove into creation, unveiling the mysteries of the muse as I painted and sketched and meditated on Sheltered Wonder.

In the inside cover page, a doorway appears. A portal to the unknown, the new, the mystical, the magic of life. Around it, the words are written: Enter here all who wonder. Dream. Dare.

There are Wonder Rules to guide me:

  • Be Curious
  • Stay Open
  • Seek Beauty
  • Find Value
  • Share Grace

I do not know from whence the Rules appeared. The muse has her ways.

At first I thought, What? Rules in Sheltered Wonder? How can that be? Where’s the freedom in rules?

I invited my mind to stay open, to let my curiosity guide me. What do the rules represent?

Nature has a natural order. Its innate rules create a safe container for all sentient and non-sentient beings to thrive and grow, evolve and transform.

We need rules to create the safe container for each of us to express ourselves courageously, freely, uniquely. The underlying rule, especially in the time of Covid: To be good for me it must be good for all.

If my going outside the safe enclosure of our home risks my health and well-being, then I am risking the health and well-being of my beloved. And possibly, others too.

I see the beauty in self-isolation to find myself embraced by grace. It keeps me safe. Us healthy. It gives me the freedom to express myself fearlessly without fearing for the well-being of others.

I began the exploration of Sheltered Wonder yesterday. Guided by five natural rules of order, I am free to express myself in ways I cannot imagine until I dive deep into its wonder. There, cloaked in nothing but my imagination running wild in the garden of creativity, I am free to dream and create boldly. Listening deeply to my heart’s calling, I find myself soaring high above my fear of falling.

Freed from my fear, I dance joyfully in the temple of creativity, expressing the beauty I discover with the lifting of each veil obscuring my creative nature.

Namaste

Sheltered wonder

Art Journal Cover created from a Wheat Thins box

As children, I remember my sister and I spending hours playing “Make Believe”. We reenacted our favourite movie, The Parent Trap, again and again. We made up stories which we then acted out, complete with costumes and props.

What we created felt so real to us.

And then, somewhere on that journey from childhood to adulthood, make believe was no longer appropriate. We were told to grow up.

I used to wonder why does ‘growing up’ have to include letting go of our capacity to play and create and imagine a world of magic and wonder?

It’s one of the things I loved about having children and now a grandson. I can play make-believe and no one tells me I need to grow up. When my grandson and I visit on FaceTime, he inevitably will ask me to show him the glittery butterfly I didn’t put away with the Christmas decorations. I fly the butterfly around the room and sing made-up songs as he watches, eyes wide.

In those moments, my heart knows complete, absolute, precious joy.

Yesterday, I began working on an art project I’ve been ‘creating in my mind’ for the past several days. The mind part isn’t so much about what it will look like, but rather, the meaning/purpose of the project.

The cover, pictured above’ is made from an empty Wheat Thins box just like the one pictured. Who knew that an empty cardboard box could be transformed into an art journal cover? My child’s mind did. My creative core did. As did my heart.

All it took was paint, time and a willingness to let go of my need to make something ‘perfect’. To choose instead to delve into the mystical nature of the creative process, allowing its urges to guide me.

In “Man’s Search for Meaning” Viktor Frankl’s brilliant opus on what he learned from his time in a concentration camp he writes:

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

This experience of sheltering in place, of watching death counts mount, of fearing for my beloved’s well-being, of limiting our social interactions is my stimulus. What I write here, how I choose to fill my time, how I choose to feed my mind and imagination, are my responses.

Sheltered Wonders, as I’m calling this art journal, is how I am choosing to capture my reflections of these days and weeks of self-isolation.

I could choose to call it, The Covid Disaster, or something like that, but that would mean the journal would be about the virus. It’s not. It’s about the amazing gifts I’ve found during this time of sheltering in place. As my beloved and I have narrowed our world to quiet times at home, walks with Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and time spent together, our pace has slowed and our relationship deepened. Sure, my waist may be a little thicker and my hair somewhat scraggly but the gifts of time to breathe easily, to wonder and create in the kitchen, the studio and on the page have been immensely rewarding.

Covid is a global stimulus none of us can escape.

How we respond now and in the days to come, as stay-at-home edicts are relaxed and the world begins to ‘awaken’, will determine our growth and our freedoms.

We can choose to keep the gifts of family connection, of time to slow down and find a healthier more liveable pace, of time spent baking, creating, sharing with those we love, the gifts that we’ve remembered, like childhood playtime, in this time sheltering in space.

Or we can choose to scramble back onto the hardtack reality of filling our time with the busyness of the past – a busyness that for many felt constricting and overwhelming.

How will you respond?

______________________________________

A note about Sheltered Wonder – It is based on themes for each page — things I feel are germane to my experiences during this time of self-isolation. Belonging. Companionship. Community. Peace. Pace. Purpose. Creativity.

I’d love to hear what you think are important themes. Please do share – like Nance whose comment on my blog yesterday inspired this post today, you may inspire a page or two in my Sheltered Wonder journal!

Much gratitude.

Roots. Memories.Connections.

rooted in memory

My Catholic roots are woven throughout the memories of my childhood. They give me peace. They give me security. They give me space to grow wild and free.

Friday evening Rosaries.

Listening to the clicking of the beads as they passed through my mother’s fingers, her whispered Hail Mary’s as she prayed the decades and began the cycle again and again as I impatiently waited for it to be over so my sister and I could go out and play.

Saturday afternoon flowers.

In the quiet of the church my middle sister and I helped her ‘do the flowers’ that graced the altar. They had to be fresh for Sunday mass.

My sister was allowed to carry the vases of week-old flowers to the sink in the back of the sacristy. I could help sort the flowers. For some reason, my mother didn’t trust me to carry breakable objects. Go figure.

To this day, I struggle with throwing out dead flower arrangements.

The smell of the rancid water. The look of the wilting flowers. It feels almost.. .sacrilegious. Like I’m somehow impinging on the prayers of a dead past to be left in peace.

Then there was Sunday morning mass.

The inevitable rush of getting four children all dressed up in Sunday best, out the door and in the car and down the road to church.

I loved Easter Sunday best. Not the mass. Oh no. That was way too long in my child’s mind.

I loved my bonnet and pretty dress. My patin leather shoes. My little white lace gloves.

I loved the gold trim on the priest’s liturgical robes. The pageantry. The statues adorning the walls. Watching my brother up front, beside the priest, where he served as an altar boy.

I still love the smell of incense. Candlelight. Ritual. Angels.

Though I never did come to peace with the notion that girls were somehow so inadequate (or sinful) that they could not serve at the altar as priests.

I still remember, sitting on the hard benches. Swinging my legs, looking around, being poked by my sister and poking her back followed by the inevitable admonition from my mother to sit still, be quiet, pay attention.

On Sundays, there was no breakfast until after the 10am Mass. The church didn’t allow food before communion. Fortunately, this edict gave me an easy to confess ‘sin’ to add to the litany of others I’d have to tell the priest at our weekly meeting in the confessional booth on Wednesday night. I had three:

I fought with my sister.
I disobeyed my mother.
I accidentally swallowed the water when I brushed my teeth before mass. (It’s also possible I stole a muffin or cookie from the kitchen before we left for mass but I wasn’t sure God would forgive me for that one so I never told.)

In church, I prayed the sermon would be short, the greetings afterwards of neighbours and friends even shorter. I was hungry!

Always, my father would meet someone and invite them back for breakfast. Always, they came. My father’s breakfasts were legendary.

As a child, I used to ask my parents where God lived during the week if he was only in church on Sundays. My father laughed at my question. He liked to encourage my curiosity, telling me to ‘go look it up’. In the encyclopedia or the dictionary if it was about the spelling of a word. My father was not as married to the Catholic faith as my mother.

For mom, my questions caused her great unease. Don’t be so impudent, she’d caution. God is watching. He knows everything. You cannot question Him.

I wasn’t particularly good at listening to my mother. And, once I discovered how uneasy my questions made her, I tended to keep asking them.

It was my way.

Yesterday, with an email from a cousin I haven’t seen in decades, the memory of those long-ago days came sweeping back into focus.

We spent time together in France during our youth and into our teens. I remember how much he and his sister loved the chocolates and other goodies my parents brought whenever we visited. How our excesses in food were so foreign to the austere selections their mother allowed that they almost made themselves sick savouring the sweet, gooey concoctions that came from my father’s kitchen.

In our exchange of emails, in the memories that came flooding back, I was reminded that no matter what path I carve, it is the deep security of my roots that gives me the freedom today to explore my spiritual path without fearing where it will lead me. Entangled as those memories are in the complex web of religious observance of Catholicism that was my childhood, they are also filled with a love of mysticism, of faith and of family.   

I had a note from a cousin I haven’t seen in many years yesterday. His presence in my Inbox took me back to my roots.

It is there I find myself this morning, deeply rooted in my belief that even though I no longer practice the faith of my childhood, I am safe and secure in my belief that this is a world of divinely inspired glory. That this life I have been gifted is designed to be savoured and celebrated. It is a life immersed in joy and Love for I live in a universe of great mystery and wonder, awe and beauty.

Namaste

I Am Not Lost

Always the muse visits and beckons me to answer the call of my wild heart beating to the rhythm of life.

Always, in the quiet spaces between one thought and the next,
between and within one breath in, one breath out, slowly, softly,
she visits and whispers sweet delicious delicacies into my body
urging me to rise up and dance.

Sometimes, I listen.

Sometimes, I turn my head another way, contort myself into some uncomfortable shape of disjointed affects that move me through my day pushing stubbornly against her flow.

This morning, I listened without resistance.

And as always, when I listen deeply to her whisperings, my inner urgings whisper back and I find myself right where I am, right where I need to be. Right in the heart of all that is wild and free about being alive right now, in this moment.

Unencumbered by my thoughts insisting I will find my answers in my thinking and doing, I let the muse have her way with me and find myself living breathlessly alive within the inexplicable nature and lightness of being, present.

We are living in challenging, and also amazing, times. We want answers. Solutions. A map. A clear line of sight to the future.

I watch the images of city streets around the globe, empty of the hustle and bustle of lives lived on the outside. I bear witness to the beauty of all that humankind has created in the echoing corridors of concrete towers rising up to the sky and paved roads stretching around the block and beyond and I am in awe of humanity’s creative nature.

I watch scenes of nature ripe with life moving gracefully across distant plains and verdant valleys and animals wandering streets of asphalt and waterfalls tumbling, full of clear water and skies unlittered by jetstreams passing and I am in awe of nature’s raw beauty.

There must be an answer in all of this that is happening, I tell myself. There must be a reason.

And then I laugh.

What if… the answer is in my being present within this moment, embodied within the rich, fecund soils full of the potency and poetry of life.

What if… the answers are in the questions that rise up, when I let go of thinking there must be an answer to ‘why’ this is happening and, instead, give myself over to the call of life urging me to let go of all I think I know and need to know to live my life.

In the freedom of letting go of my thoughts, I fall breathlessly in love with my life as it is, not as I want it to be in some unknown future.

Untethered from all I tell myself I need to know, I give into the call of life beckoning me to live with abandon in the beautiful, inexplicable, sacred preciousness of life unscripted by answers other than the truth — life is calling me to be kind, compassionate, loving.

This poem came from that place where I rose up, unaware there was any question about where I was standing. Or that, I was even seeking an answer to the question, Where am I?

I am here. Dancing.

 

Namaste.

_______________________________

I Am Not Lost

by Louise Gallagher

I will not walk in fear
of regretting unlived dreams
and words unwritten
of songs unsung
and steps not taken.
I will not live in fear
that the search
to find myself
will never be enough.

I am not lost.
I am here, right here
living in the wild,
untamed rapture
of this moment
coming alive
in the precious beauty
of my life.

In this moment
I come alive
to the ripe and juicy promises
of what is possible
when I let go
of seeking to find myself
and leap into the dance,
of the divinely sacred
juiciness of life.

In this moment
I fling my eyes
and arms wide open
my heartbeat quickens
my body bursts, wild and free
into the pulsating rhythms of life
pounding as I rise up
and dance.

I am not lost
I am right here
Dancing.

Sheltering-in-place

Saturday morning. I think. The days no longer marked off on a calendar of events, appointments, coffee dates and meetings. Their normal ebb and flow blurred in the wash of life lived sheltering-in-place.

I know they say it’s best to keep to a schedule. To set your alarm. To rise and go to bed at the normal times.

Normal feels so strange in these days of isolation. Normal feels abnormal, unnatural.

Saturday morning. I sit at my desk at the large picture window that overlooks the winter parched strip of grass that separates our yard from the wild space along the banks of the river. The space where trees and bushes and tall grasses wait, bare-limbed, for spring’s warming kisses.

Beyond the trees the river flows its normal flow. Effortlessly. Easily. Its surface unmarred by ice jammed up against the bridge abutments.

There is nothing normal about this time. Yet, in the ordinary moments the extraordinary appears. A slab of ice floating down the river, a fleeting reminder of winter’s presence drifting off to a faraway sea. Between here and there it will thaw and melt, break up to join the river water running wild.

More ordinary appearing as extraordinary. A squirrel leaps from tree limb to tree limb with the grace of an acrobat flying from trapeze to trapeze without a safety net below, only the invisible nature of gravity.

It is in the moments of letting go and reaching out to hold on that the extraordinary waits. It is in the moments where we hang suspended in the ineffable grace between each moment, supported only by gravity, that all things are possible. Even flight.

Two geese skim the river’s surface in preparation for flight, their giant outstretched wings never touching the water. Their bodies lift off. Their wings extend even further and they are flying. Up. Up and away. Held up by gravity and air. In harmony. Wing to wing connection.

I want to know the feeling of flight. To feel my wings stretching as wide as wide can be. To feel my body outstretched, reaching for the sky.

I want to fly free.

Free of this grounded reality where staying at home is the safety net I fall into day after day after day.

I want to unhook the newsfeeds carrying stories of death and rid my home of talking heads and pundits gathered together yet apart, sharing their predictions of a future they cannot see but do not hesitate to prophesize.

I want to be like the river otter that sometimes pops his head up out of the river where he lives on the banks at the edge of a calm deep pool. It lies just around the bend where the dogs run on a gravel beach and children play in summer at the water’s edge. Floating carefree like the otter, I would look up at the sun and sky and bear witness to its extraordinary beauty in every ordinary moment.

And here I sit. Grounded. In place. Safe.

Carefree. Careless. Couldn’t care less… about the news. The statistics.

But it’s not true. The not caring part.

I do care.

Deeply. About the people. The lives lost. The lives falling ill. The lives of those fighting to live and those fighting to save lives. About those who go out every day to create the possibility of my staying at home, sheltering-in-place in safety.

I care.

And so, I do not turn off the news. I do not shut out the talking heads and block my ears to pundits’ prophecies of what is to come. I cannot live in the moment isolated from reality. I cannot contribute to creating a better future separated from the here and now.

Instead, I teach myself to consume it all in palatable bites. Bites that do not feel too big to chew or swallow. Bites that keep me aware of, but not consumed by, the deaths of my fellow members of our human race, real people whose lives have been ended by a tiny invisible-to-the-naked-eye microbe about whom books shall be written, movies made, stories told for generations to come.

I am teaching myself to be present in it all, like the otter in the pond, like the geese taking off, like the squirrel flying from tree limb to tree limb. Suspended. Held up. Letting go. Holding on. Trusting. In gravity. Grace. Time and space.

I release my need for surety and hold onto only that which sustains me in this moment. The beauty. The wonder. The awe. The extraordinary grace of being alive. It is not a lot but it is everything I need in this moment to feel peace, calm, grace flowing in and all around me.

It is not a lot but it is all I can do to remain present to the ordinary magic of this extraordinary time in which the whole world is waiting, sheltering-in-place, for a new day to begin.