In The Flow

It’s called being in the flow. It’s that magical state where time loses its grip on you, and you find yourself completely absorbed in whatever you’re doing.

I’ve been experiencing it a lot lately.

As I delved into research and worked on my book, I became fully immersed. Every fiber of my being was engaged.

At first, I attempted to listen to a podcast as I often do while creating an art piece. It turned out to be a misguided idea. When I write, I need to let the words flow, and having someone else’s voice in my ears distracts a part of my brain, draws my attention away from being present to the creative process..

The same goes for music. When I’m in the studio, adding splashes of color and texture to a canvas, I adore listening to songs with lyrics. They ignite my desire to dance and sing along. My splashes of paint become more free, more expressive. But when it comes to writing, the fewer words, the better.

Classical music and new age compositions work wonders for me. The only exception I make for music with lyrics while writing is the recordings of 13th Century composer and convent Abbess Hildegard von Bingen. Her music stirs my imagination and liberates my writer’s mind from any creative blocks.

Her melodic chants soothe my soul.

Entering the flow-state is a powerful experience. It enriches my being, causing time to fade away. All that matters is the present moment, the only place where I want to exist.

In that realm, magic happens. Wonders unfold, and I am awestruck by the mystery of it all.

Ah, the mystery. It weaves through life, creative pursuits, and the words that appear on the page seemingly of their own accord. As I sit here, fingers dancing across the keyboard, focused on my one task, I lose track of time and space, surrendering to the flow.

That’s the beauty of the flow-state. When I am immersed, my soul dances. My spirits soar. Ideas appear as if of their own volition as words flow out to express themselves without my thought-ridden ministrations hindering their appearance.

Now, my bathroom… well, let’s just say it is suffering from my lack of attention. It’s a disaster zone!

Okay, perhaps it’s not that terrible, but you get my drift…

When was the last time you slipped effortless into ‘the zone’?

When was the last time you granted yourself the gift of immersing in something you’re passionate about, allowing your creative nature to flow freely as you mind (and body) dance with abandon in the pure joy of being so engaged, there is no time, just you and your endeavours?

The flow-state isn’t limited to the realm of arts. It can manifest while solving a scientific equation, baking, walking the dog, running, or riding your bike. All of these activities, and more, have the potential to draw you into that state of flow.

It’s different than mindfulness or meditation. You’re not trying to still your mind and simply sit quietly. You’re consciously bringing your attention to whatever you’re doing so that you can create or build something, find a solution to a pressing problem or mystery, or simply learn something new.

I hope you embrace it often. There’s no judgement in flow state — only the doing.

Let it all flow like a river, finding its path effortlessly.

And if you want to know more about flow-state — the brain even behaves differently when you’re in it — this website has some great information including ideas on how to enter it’s healing and creative spaces.

Beyond the Rubble

I am working with a dear friend on writing her memoir.

As a child, she and her family lost their home and survived the bombing of Warsaw which began September 1, 1939. They fled to a family estate on Poland’s eastern border only to be deported to the Gulag when Russia annexed that part of Poland in 1940.

Her journey to Canada is remarkable. As is she.

It is because of her inspiration, I paint today. Along with her husband, they were integral to my story of surviving an abusive relationship. They have always stood with me, giving me love, friendship and an extended family to belong to.

We have been friends a long time and working on this memoir with her is a journey through history, the horrors of those war years and the aftermath, and so much more. There’s a love story, poetry written between two hearts separated by thousands of miles. There’s the tumultous years of raising a family. Standing with her husband as he climbed the ladder of success he promised to build to provide for his family. And there is joy. In particular for me, the joy of our friendship.

This morning, as I do every morning, I pulled a card from my DeepTalk deck. “What was missing from your childhood?”

The trite answer could be so many things. A feeling of safety. Of being unconditionally loved. Of feeling wanted…

Yet, if I step back from pulling out the response from the pocket of my ‘victim story’ I keep stored in my memory that I have been known to haul out to soothe the edges of life’s inevitable sticky moments, I see a bigger picture. A more wholistic view of my childhood that transforms me from ‘victim’ to a powerful architect of my life today.

I am who I am today not despite my childhood and all the perceived wrongs and shortcomings of my parents. I am who I am today because of my childhood. Because of everything that happened throughout my life that made me, me.

I like me. Heck. I LOVE me!

I am the most fascinating person I know, if only because I know myself, inside out, better than I know anyone else. Better than anyone else can know me.

And that’s the beauty of writing your life story. (or working with someone else on writing theirs)

It gives you perspective. An opportunity to reflect, assess, and claim the things that happened not as things that broke you, but things that broke you OPEN.

In that openness, you have the choice to build back better.

My friend’s story starts in the first days of WW2 in Warsaw, Poland. She and her mother are baking a cake for her father’s birthday. And then, the bombs start falling. Five days later, when they emerged from the cellar to view the carnage, their home was gone.

Today, my friend lives a beautiful life. Not despite the hardships. Not despite the losses and grief and sorrow.

Her life is beautiful because from that rubble, she chose to find beauty in all things.

It is one of the most remarkable things about my friend. In the over 40 years I have known her, she has always created beauty all around her. A gifted artist, her paintings shimmer with the beauty that is at the heart of who she is. Her home radiates the serenity that lies at the foundation of her nature and her friendships reflect the loving care she puts into creating all things.

What was missing from my childhood?

Nothing. It was exactly what I needed to become who I am today.

I am a brave woman touching hearts, opening minds to set spirits free to dance in a world of Love, joy and harmony.

A world where beauty matters.

This morning, I choose to say, Thank you my friend for reminding me through your story, what is important in mine.

This morning, I choose to give thanks for my childhood. It was filled with all the things I needed to grow up to become more and more me.

Much gratitude


One word at a time

May 1. A new month. Spring is bursting with its giddy desire to show off its finery and bloom.

And I am feeling the pull of memory.

It is May. The month I was set free, 20 years ago this May 21st.

I don’t often think, nor write, about those days, but this month, I plan on writing a bit more often about the recovery from that darkness. About how I made it back into the light.

It’s really simple, my decision to do this. I have begun to write my book about this healing journey called life.

Over the weekend, I created a working title — it helps me focus my writing. Love Yourself First: A simple guide to healing the past so you can live now in love.

I’ve identified my target audience – older adults 55+ and crafted an outline. Noted Key Themes to guide me, drafted each chapter outline and did some research on some of the topics I want to discuss: Things like, Our human need for love. The role of belonging. The importance of bravery. The need to continuously deepen self knowledge, the power of letting go, the value of resilience, the gifts of healing the past and the acceptance of imperfection.

I feel ready. Excited. Motivated.

I’ve got a writing buddy, *thank you Linh) and a Daily Intention buddy (thank you Jane) and, I’ve got a deep desire to ‘get it all out’ – One Word At A Time.

Years ago, when I was released from that relationship that was killing me, I awoke to the grim reality of the devestation that relationship had caused in my life and the lives of those who loved me. I had seventy-two cents in my pocket, a few clothes and my Golden Retriever, Ellie. And I had people who loved me who were hurt and angry. I had betrayed the sacred trust of motherhood. I had betrayed myself and everyone who cared for me with the lies I had lived while in that relationship.

I was broken.

I was blessed.

My sister and her husband gave me a home, a safe refuge to weather the aftermath of the storm. Everyday, Ellie, who had travelled the final two years of that journey with me, and I would walk into the woods at the end of the street where my sister lived and I would breathe deeply in the freedom of walking without ‘his’ voice repeating over and over again in my head all the reasons why I didn’t deserve to live, all the ways I had failed him and was a failure as a human being.

As I walked, I remember thinking of the problems I had to face. The burden of finding a solution to their totality weighed me down. They looked so big. So daunting. So over-whelming. To give myself peace, I would look up into the limitless blue of the sky overhead and whisper to the heavens, “Okay Universe. Here’s the deal. Can you please carry the burden of what I must do so that I can focus on doing one thing today that will bring me closer to my goal of healing and reconnecting with my daughters? Will you please carry the load so that I can breathe freely and take one small step each day towards reclaiming my life.”

One small step. It was all I needed to take to keep myself moving forward on the healing path. Healing didn’t have a destination. It had a journey that could only be taken – one small step at a time.

Twenty years ago, walking in the woods, as soon as I asked the universe to carry the load, the burden lifted. I would feel lighter, more peaceful and calm. And in my renewed strength, I could take the next small step I needed to take to heal. And that one small step became a path of steps leading me away from the turmoil and pain of what had happened with him, into the joy of what was happening in my life without him.

Success isn’t necessarily found in the big leap, the giant step over the mountain. Success is found in the small things we do each and every day to walk our talk, walk our path of integrity, honesty and truth. Success is found in the grace and ease with which we overcome obstacles, embrace tribulations and infuse each moment with love and joy.

Success is found in living each moment filled with the rapture of now. It’s discovered as we let go of regret, recriminations, self-loathing and a host of other internal roadblocks that hold us back from living in the light. It’s found when we keep expressing our gratitude and joy in living this one life now, arms wide open, heart beating wildly to the drum of our one unique song – the song we each possess that only we know and all the world can hear when we boldly choose to sing it out loud and fierce.

This weekend, I wrote an outline for a book I have been thinking about writing for a long time.

It was one small step followed by others. Word by word, the book will appear and as it appears, I will better understand what its path to success looks like. For today, I shall celebrate the success each word brings..


Wide-open spaces of time

I connect. I step away. I engage. I disengage. I flow. I hesitate.

I make myself busy. I waste time.

Guilt rises. I ignore it. The more I ignore it, the louder it gets.

I rush back in, like someone who’s just come out of a relationship looking to date again. Timid. Hesitant. Trepidatious.

And always, I step in. I step out. I flirt. I turn away. I rush in. I pull back. I dive in. I swim for the safety of the shores I know.

It is the constant ebb and flow of the rhythm of my dance with the muse.

She keeps flowing. I keep stepping in. Stepping out.

This weekend I had a plan that didn’t happen. Suddenly, I had wide-open time I hadn’t anticipated.

I cleaned up my office. Closed the door to my studio which opens onto it. Guilt rose. There is only one way to let it go — Face it. Embrace it. Breathe into it.

I opened the door – I like the light — stepped into the light and there she was.

The muse.

Flowing. Effortless. Present.

It is the way of the muse and my creativity. She is always there. It is always there. It’s just sometimes, I’m not listening nor heeding the call. Sometimes willfully. Sometimes, I’m engaged in other things. Sometimes, I just want to be left alone!

And yet, no matter how long I’ve been gone. No matter how disrespectful I’ve been of her offerings, the muse is always there.

I had unexpected wide-open spaces of time this weekend. I stepped into the flow and this is what appeared…

Tomorrow’s Promise ( a Poem)

Tomorrow's Promise
by Louise Gallagher

Mellow evening light
orb of sunlight
the horizon
hide behind naked trees’
lacelike branches 
all who travel
its snow-covered paths

Walking silently
in nature’s garden
I breathe in the beauty
of winter’s
frosty breath
with the heat
of a long kiss 
fending off
an inevitable farewell
opening to the possibility of
spring’s promised unfurling.

I cannot change the seasons
I can only walk in nature’s beauty
savouring the light
through each day
like a river
carrying the promise
of new tomorrows.

What’s the Best That Could Happen?

There is a question that people often ask when faced with a decision, or the thought of doing something that feels… risky, and outside their comfort zone…

The question is, What’s the worst that can happen?

It’s a good question. As my father used to say, the worst that could happen if you ask for what you want is that they’ll say No. At least then, you have an answer.

But here’s the thing… what if the question isn’t ‘what the WORST that could happen, but rather, ‘What’s the BEST that could happen.

What if, in asking, what’s the BEST, we open the door to possibility? What if, in asking, what’s the best, we discover the inspiration to move forward, to claim what we desire, to create what we dream of, to become our true, uncensored, unlimited selves?

What if the invocation of possibility that comes with asking,What’s the BEST is the invitation to turn towards love.

Because when I think of What’s the WORST that can happen, it feels like I am stepping into fear. Turning into the darkness where my motivation to do something is dependent upon the level of fear I experience in the worst I imagine that can happen.

There is lightness in thinking about the BEST that can happen. There is the invitation to move into all that is possible when I step out of the darkness of fear to claim the light of love as my own light shining for all the world to see, I am here. I belong. I am.

A Friday Ponder….

Creating Beauty: the gateway to possibility

I love to cook and entertain. Fortunately, my beloved enjoys entertaining almost as much as I do and finds my desire to ‘create beauty’ umm… amusing/admirable/adorable… Yeah. That’s it.

Anyway, I do love to create a beautiful experience for everyone who comes to our home. To have the table look as good as I hope the food tastes.

This is why I spend a lot (read that – an inordinate amount) of time creating placecards for each guest and a unique look for the table-setting along with a menu that is inspiring and intriguing, as well as appetizing and fulfilling.

It pleases my creative heart and soothes my yearning to create beauty in the world.

I tell you this because I believe the world needs more beauty.

I believe that the only way to offset the ugly out there, is to create beauty, in here.

It doesn’t mean I’m ignoring the ugly in the world. It’s hard to ignore when newsfeeds are full of graphic accountings of humanity’s ability to destroy one another and the planet we depend upon for our very breath.

But there is little I can do about the bigger world beyond my own sphere of influence. And so, I do my best to ensure my sphere (some might call it a bubble) is as devoid of conflict, strife and hard edges as it can be.

That also doesn’t mean I cannot be prone to being edgie at times or behaving badly. It does mean that when I do miss a step or fall down in my behaviour, I do my best to get accountable and take responsibility for my missteps by cleaning up my act whenever I can.

And sometimes (read that most times) cleaning up my acting out requires I come back into integrity with my own self, inside me.

It means getting authentic inside so that who I am in the world is aligned with who I want to be in every aspect of my life.

When I used to coach at Choices, I remember every Sunday evening at the end of the five-day training, I’d think about how I am in ‘the room’ and ask myself, “Is how I am in the world outside this room aligned with how I am in this room?”

Often, I’d find gaps in my behaviour, in how I was presenting myself out there that were not aligned.

See, in a sacred space like the Choices room where hearts are broken open to the power of love and possibility (Discovery Seminars now that Choices no longer operates in Alberta) it is easy to be authentic. Not only is the room a safe space, it is a brave space – a space where no matter your human condition, you know without equivocation, you are loved, lovable, Love in action.

In the big world out there, it doesn’t always feel safe, and being brave can feel not only scary but dangerous.

How do you stand up to a bully when that bully has a gun?

How do you speak truth when truth-speaking could cost you your life or your family’s freedom?

And how do you create beauty when everything and everyone around you feels shrouded in the darkness of anger, fear and hopelessness?

I don’t have answers for the world ‘out there’. I do, however, now that what I create in here will ripple onward, out into the world in ways I can’t imagine.

And for that ripple to be filled with beauty, wonder and awe, I must release droplets of beauty, wonder and awe into the world around me with everything I do.

We live in times that feel unprecedentedly uncertain, at times confusing, at times nullifying and frightening.

I don’t know if what I feel today is worse than what my parents and their cohorts felt during WW2, or when I was a child and the Bay of Pigs was unfolding and we children were practicing hiding under our desks at school in case of an atom bomb going off. But, what I do know is, like my mother who wanted only to create beauty and peace in her world, I am doing my best to walk in her footsteps and do the same.

It is only the steps I am taking that can fill in the gaps between fear, hopelessness and possibility.

Sometimes, knowing I am imbuing each of my steps with beauty is all I need to bring myself back into integrity.


PS. It was my youngest daughter’s 35th birthday yesterday. To celebrate her, we held a dinner on Sunday night for family and friends. These are some of the photos. (thank you @ChristieeJames for the photos!)

And PPS. I used to avoid making cakes. I’m learning to love it! She wanted a “sprinkle cake’ – read that – Confetti Cake. I loved how it turned out!

Feeling the Friday Frolics

I begin, as I often do, without a clue as to what I am going to write. Trusting in the process, I let the words flow knowing, they will. They always do when I get out of my head and into my heart.

And my heart is saying, it’s Friday. Let’s enjoy a Friday Frolic,

And, because I met with my writing circle last night, I thought I’d share a poem I crafted. It’s one of those “I’m not sure where that came from but it’s fun!”

Which really does make for the best kind of writing experience. To just let go and let flow! Words. Images. Thoughts. Ideas.

The poem was inspired by a poem by Paige Lewis, I’m Not Faking My Astonishment, Honest, Every time we meet in the circle, our amazing guide, Ali Grimshaw, of the blog, Battery Flashlights, reads us a poem to trigger our creative responses.

Here’s what happened for me when I let “I’m Not Faking My Astonishment, Honest.” lead me into writing without knowing where my pen was going.

Thank you to my writing circle guides. You constantly inspire and excite me to keep on turning up, writing and exploring life through words and images..

I Don’t Know Where I’m Going
©2023 Louise Gallagher 

I took a trip
but didn’t know where I was going
and found myself lost 
how to get somewhere
I didn’t know
because I didn’t know
I wanted to go there.

Confused, I phoned a friend
but they hadn’t planned on my calling
while I was on my trip to nowhere
and were not home
so didn’t answer
leaving me even more confused
about where I wanted to plan to go.

Lost in planning how to get somewhere
I didn’t know where I was going
I gave up on getting anywhere
and stayed where I was
until I could think of 
a better plan.


“Finding You’re Not Missing A Thing” music video release!

It is 7:30am. I have been awake since 5. Completed my NYTimes puzzles – not my best Wordle performance but hey! I got it in 5 so I’m happy. Taken Beaumont the Sheepadoodle for his first morning saunter. (On an aside, I love those dark early morning hours where only the sound of the rushing waters of the river accompanies us as we stroll along the back fenceline of our property.) I’ve meditated for 20 minutes, written my morning pages in my journal, made a dozen lemon cranberry scones, cleaned the kitchen, and am now sipping on my latter in the glow of the candle on my desk.

Saturday mornings are made for this.

And now, I’m writing a post for my blog. This is a deviation from the norm. I don’t usually post on Saturdays but…

Stepping away from the norm keeps things fresh.

And, the reason to step away this morning is very simple and compelling –

In August, I wrote about playing singer/songwriter Laura Hickli’s mom in her upcoming music video release

Well, it’s here! Released yesterday, the music video of “Finding You’re Not Missing a Thing” was released yesterday.

It is sublimely thought-provoking and moving. It is a deeply personal reflection of Laura’s journey to finding herself — and her voice – in the big, wide, world of possibility that exists for everyone when we step away from what we know and dive deep into what makes every human on this planet so divinely miraculous.

I hope you watch and listen and feel inspired to share. (It’s easy to do from the YouTube link – just copy and paste into your own feed. 🙂 ) It’s really, really good for an artist to have their creations shared broadly. Building her audience is critical to her career – see! You’ll be making a difference by contributing to the growth of an artist’s career! Win/Win!

Alive. Breathing. Awakening. Here.

Morning sleeps in night’s dark embrace.

The river flows. Light glistens on its dancing surface. A car’s headlights cross in staccato bursts between the trusses of the bridge.

Ludovico Einaudi’s piano floats through the air on delicate notes of harmony.

Candlelight illuminates my desk. Coffee steam rises through its golden glow.

Beaumont the Sheepadoodle sleeps at my feet. He snuffles and gives a muffled bark. I wonder what he’s dreaming.

I sit at my desk, face bathed in candlelight and computer screen, typing and watching the river flow, the bridge lights glistening on its surface. I give a silent prayer of thanks to Miss Komininski, my grade 10 typing teacher. I do not need to look at the keys. My fingertips have travelled their well-worn path for decades.

These are the early morning hours I cherish.

These are the times I savour. They bring me harmony, peace, calm.

Not stolen. Not won. Present.

Memory stirs, pulling me from the here and now into a moment long ago when I walked in a courtyard at a monastary in a small town outside of Koln, Germany.

It is the early morning hours. I am the sole student representative from my school. I am participating in a week-long experiential program to learn how to act as a peer advocate against the looming war on drugs the adults in my world predict is coming.

The training program is filled with a mix of 30 students, educators and psychologists from American and Canadian schools in Europe.

I have no idea why I was chosen to represent my school, but in those dark not yet dawn hours of the morning that day, the ‘why’ didn’t matter.

I was there.

Walking in the mist-filled air listening to the monks chant morning Vespers. Feeling the cool moistness of pre-dawn caress my face. Hearing the quiet shuffling of my footsteps against the cobblestone pathway.

I was there in that moment. Alive. Breathing. Walking. There.

Another memory.

A still lake. Midnight. Black, star-littered sky above. Dark waters silent beneath the canoe in which I sit, motionless, paddle resting across my knees.

Mountain lake, waters so clear it’s as if the reflected stars are shining up from the depths below its surface.

I want to reach into the cool waters and pluck a star. Up. There is no falling. Only shining and it is shining for all its worth, lighting up the darkness above.

Some mornings are made for this. For strolling quietly through memory’s lanes, remembering.

Mystical. Magical. Mysterious. Pulling me into remembering the there and then that resonates so deeply with this here and now where I sit typing without looking at the keys.

Alive. Breathing. Awakening. Here.

Wishing you a day of wonder.