Category Archives: Art and creativity

By Golly! I think I’ve got it! My new career.

Day 29 — 30 Day Art Project
Song of Joy

I’ve got it!  My new career! I know exactly what it is.

Seriously. It came to me this morning as I was sitting watching the sun come out from a cloud laden sky and dapple the golden leaves of the trees outside my window and the sun fairies dance on the waters of the river flowing by.

You know how tornado chasers race all over the countryside in search of winds to follow and photograph, to document and capture?

Well, I’ve decided my new career will be kind of like that… but not really.

I’ve decided to become… A Rainbow Chaser!

Okay. so it’s not really a well-known or probably even a ‘real’ career that will earn me a gazillion dollars but, hey, if it brings me joy, Why not do it? And anyway, who’s to say my donning the mantle of Rainbow Chaser won’t make it ‘go viral’ and all that jazzy stuff that happens when something someone does captures the imagination and whims of others?

Why Rainbow Chaser?

Because I can.

Because who doesn’t love rainbows?  And heck. The world is filled with them! They’re universal. They’re magical. And they always appear after the rain when the sun comes out and sparkles through the light.

Me, I love rainbows and after several days of wallowing in the dark  matter of the icky stuff that sometimes clogs the free-flowin’ style of my living life on the outside of my comfort zone, chasing rainbows is so much better than living under the dark cloud of my own unease.

See, sometimes I get stuck in the story I am telling myself about why I am not wanted, not needed, not welcome on this journey called life.

Sometimes, I believe my own critics who troll the avenues of my mind, seeking out weak spots on the edges of my limiting beliefs and the fears tucked away in hidden alcoves where the sun don’t shine.

And here’s the thing, I figure as a Rainbow Chaser, I’ll be dancing in the rain and the sun because everyone knows, rainbows are always waiting in the wings for their star appearance after the rain.

To be in the right place to capture the rainbow, I gotta be willing to stand in the rain knowing the sun is still shining behind grey clouds. I gotta hold onto my belief that if I breathe deeply enough, the wind’s of time, supported by a whole lot of Love, will blow those grey clouds away and the sun, along with its beautiful sparkling light-lit rainbow, will appear.

And then, another question popped into my head like a gopher on Ground Hog day popping out of his hole.

Are there rainbows in the night? Do they appear by moonlight after the rain has passed but we never see them because we’re sound asleep waiting for the sun to rise?

Oh boy! My Rainbow Chasing career is off to a good start.

A deep question to dive into and explore. Because, seriously, if I’m sleeping through the dark, how will I know when the sun has risen? What if, I choose to let rainbows and moonbeams cast away the dark and create a world of joy. A world, my heart can really sing about!

Yup. Rainbow Chaser, the career of dreams and flights of fancy.  A career worth dancing in the rain for and singing out loud my song of joy.

Not bad for a day that started under gloomy skies!

Now that I’ve got my eyes wide open and my heart a beatin’, I’ll see ya’ll later.

I’m off chasing rainbows, and fairy dancers and sunburst making daydreams worth chasing! And maybe, when the sun sets, I’ll go chasing moonbeams and starlit staircases leading up into the glittering beauty of a beguiling night sky strewn with a gazillion diamonds — cause the more I think about it, the more I’m thinkin’ there are rainbows in the night —  diamonds cast ’em when they capture the light just so… Why wouldn’t the stars?

Ain’t life a wonder?

The Inviolable Truth of Worth and Belonging

Painted fabric on Canvas Paper and acrylic paints — 11 x 14 — Love Knows The Way ©2019 Louise Gallagher

It seems so simple. To trust in Love. To believe the light is lighting the path through the darkness. To know that, even though you can’t see the next step clearly, the way to the light is to trust in the earth beneath your feet.

So why then, is it so easy sometimes to get lost in the belief Love is fickle and the glaring light is actually a fast approaching train? And the ground will rise up to hit you if you take that step?

I have been pondering these questions (and others) recently as I struggled with the voice inside that would have me believe, I am not worthy. I do not belong.

There was a time when running away from the tough questions would have been my answer.

I have learned that running away doesn’t bring answers. Just more questions I’m trying to avoid.

I have learned that standing in the dissonance of my unease is the path to my peace of mind and ease of heart.

It ain’t easy. Sometimes, I truly do just want to turn my back on my own angst and say, “Get over it, Louise. Grow up.”

Challenge is, it isn’t about over, under or even through. It’s all about being within it, (whatever the angst) to grow into the learning that is pushing its way up out of the depths of my being.

Being present has its rewards, and its risks. Sometimes, the voice of wisdom rises up out of the depths of my heated inner debates to surprise me with the obvious.

I love hot baths. Hot baths and my morning coffee, a book and classical music are my ‘heaven on earth’ go to wake up call.

Challenge is, sometimes, the mix of hot water in the tub and my morning latte creates a temperature I just can’t take. (Hmmm… perhaps I need to only take baths in the evening so I can drink wine instead!)

Yesterday morning, as I lay in the bath telling myself if I just stayed there long enough my body temperature would adjust to the too hot water, I’d be able to stand the heat.

And that’s when the voice of wisdom broke through the surface and showered me with its brilliance.

“What are you trying to prove?” it asked gently. “That you can take it?”

“Well… yes,” I replied. I was thinking it was kind of obvious that was what I was doing so why on earth would the voice of wisdom be asking me such a ridiculous question.

“Why?”

And that’s where I got stuck. Why indeed?

What did I have to prove?

I started to laugh.

I had nothing to prove and a lot to learn.

I turned on the faucet and added some cooler water to the bath.

Sometimes, the most loving thing you can do for yourself when you feel like you’re swimming in hot water is to cool it off.

It’s not about proving I’m tough. It’s about learning how to let go of believing a tough skin will protect me from life’s inevitable slings and arrows.

Only Love can do that. Because in Love’s embrace I don’t need protection. I am always safe.

In Love’s embrace I don’t question my belonging or worth. I know it’s truth is inviolable.

Namaste

__________

And yes… I’m trying out a new design format for my blog. I’d love your feedback. Thanks!

The Eagle Soars (Day 22 – 30 Day Art Project) Haiku #6

Day 22 – 30 Day Art Project. Mixed Media on Canvas Paper; 11 x 14″. Haiku #6

“Once there was an eagle who thought he was a chicken. Left at birth in a chicken coop, all he knew was how to peck at the dirt, scrabble for grub and walk around strutting his stuff like he was the best dang chicken in the yard.

And he was, until one day an eagle spied him from on high and wondered, “Why is that eagle acting like a chicken?”

Wanting to find the answer, the eagle swooped down and landed in front of the eagle who thought he was a chicken.

All the chickens in the yard were terrified. They raced to the coop, slammed the door and hid inside.

Not the eagle who thought he was a chicken. He was the best dang chicken in that yard and he could stand up to an eagle. And that’s what he told the eagle.

“You don’t scare me. I’m the best dang chicken around. You don’t belong here.”

The eagle was surprised. “You don’t belong here either,” he said. “You’re an eagle. Your wings are designed to soar high.”

The eagle who thought he was a chicken stuttered and spewed. “I am not an eagle. I am a chicken!”  He stomped his great eagle talons in the dirt and threw back his head to show off his mighty eagle beak.

“Ummm…. I don’t think so,” replied the eagle who knew what he was talking about. “Let me prove to you that you’re an eagle. Come, take one flight with me and you’ll know the truth.”

The eagle who thought he was a chicken thought a moment before answering.

“Ok,” he said. “I’ll fly with you but first, you have to let me go to the coop and say good-bye to my family. They will be worried about me if I’m gone too long.”

The other eagle was standing between him and the chicken coop and that’s where safety lay. In the coop.

“Sure thing,” said the eagle who knew what he was talking about as he stepped aside to let the eagle who thought he was a chicken pass. “I’ll wait right here.”

And with that, the eagle who thought he was a chicken raced to the chicken coop. Flung the door open, entered its dark confines, slammed the door shut and exhaled a sigh of relief.

“See!” he said to the wide eyes chickens he called his family. “I am not only the best dang chicken in this coop… I’m the smartest. I just outsmarted that eagle!”

And all the chickens praised him for being such a smart chicken because through their chicken eyes, they truly could not see he was an eagle born to soar on high.

Every heart needs a home, and every person needs to have a place to belong.

Sometimes, we mistake where we’re at as that place. Sometimes, we confuse our titles, our degrees and accomplishments, our belongings, talents and accolades and our origin story, as our place of belonging.

Belonging comes from within. It is the knowing that, as Maya Angelou described it:

“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all.”

It is the dichotomy of belonging. We yearn to be or do or have something that will quell the fear within that we don’t fit in anywhere. Propelled by our fear, we adapt ourselves to suit the world around us to fit in somewhere. And in our adaptations, we lose the one place we truly belong, within our hearts, true to our own self — which leaves us nowhere out there to belong, other than everywhere, or as Brene Brown writes in Braving the Wilderness:

“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”

You can clip an eagle’s wings so it cannot soar.

You can dim your own light so you will not shine.

Whether you hide out in the chicken coop of your thinking you don’t fit in or fit in where you don’t belong, or strut your stuff believing you’re a rock star because nobody can see how scared you are of shining your light, you cannot belong anywhere without first belonging to yourself.

Your answer does not come from ‘out there’. It comes from and lives always within the sanctuary of your being at home with being true to your beautiful, magnificent, brilliant self, fearlessly breathing life into the sacredness of being who you are, always.

Namaste

________________________________

A note on the eagle story — I heard this story years ago in a video of Eldon Taylor. It’s one of my favourites.

Bruised Red Autumn Sky (Day 21 – 30 Day Art Project) Haiku #5

Bruised Red Autumn Sky
Day 21 – 30 Day Art Project
Mixed media on canvas paper
11 x 14″

The River Flows Free (A Haiku – Day 20: 30 Day Art Project)

Day 20 — 30 Day Art Project — Mixed Media on Canvas Paper – 11 x 14

I’m not sure which is more fun — consecutive days of art-making or several days in a row of writing Haiku.

I found myself writing a Haiku in my sleep, waking up with the words in my head, jotting them down in the night.

I love the simple nature of them. It is a wonderfully exciting creative challenge to create deeper meaning through the words, while staying true to the 5-7-5 structure of Haiku.

This is the same tree that was in the painting for Day 19 — except this time, instead of mono-printing the stencil I’d created onto the canvas, I collaged it into the painting.

And then… I kept diving into the piece, adding colour and design elements until I had to give myself permission to stop. It was midnight. It was time to go to bed.

That’s the thing about art-making. It is a constant lesson in letting go — of my desire to make meaning. Art. Something happen.

It reminds me to breathe deeply in the beauty of now. To be still in the wonder of this moment.

It teaches me to simply be in the moment. To be present to what is appearing on the canvas and to not ‘try’ to make it into something, but rather, to simply let it be as it becomes what it is calling to be.

When I started working on this piece yesterday (and yes, I am not abiding to the 30 minute timeframe and am simply going with the flow) I was actually working to a Haiku that had appeared in my mind about the sun.

That one will have to wait for another day — see, constant lessons in letting go appear as I dive into the art of being present and expressing my creative essence.

And at a deeper level, I am grateful for how this mini series of tree paintings is reminding me of the power of ‘surrender’.

Life is filled with opportunities to learn and grow.

Growth is sometimes painful.

Faced with its challenges and sometimes painful reminders of my own human frailties, surrender is all I can do. Again and again.

Without surrender, my mind will construct stories where I am the victim and the perpetrator. The oppressor and the oppressed.

Without surrender, I forget where I belong and give up my right to celebrate my own worth.

Without surrender, I fear falling and flying free.

Surrendering, I let go of my fear of falling and give into the power of Love to hold me and those I Love in its grace so that the past is simply the path that brought us here to this moment where we can grow deeper in Love.

Namaste

 

Love Never Gives Up (A Haiku — Day 18: 30 Day Art Project)

 

Hearts break without sound
Tears falling blinded by snow.
Seeds yearn for spring’s warmth.

Love never gives up.

Sometimes, we give up on love or believe it isn’t present, or that it doesn’t care to be with us.

Love is always present. Love is always caring for and with us.

We need to care for ourselves to know its power, to experience its majesty, to be free to Love.