Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


The river moves slowly in the cold of winter

The river moves slowly in the cold of winter. It slides, its surface an undulating steel grey mass of water gliding as one graceful body moving ever onward towards a distant ocean.

The ocean feels further away in the winter. Like a forgotten spring damned up behind blocks of ice freezing all memory of silken sands and seagulls diving into the waves. There is no memory of warmer days in winter’s icy grip. Only the slow silent moving of the days as the river glides slowly past.

The river is flowing slowly. Trapped between its ice lined shores growing wider and thicker with each passing day, silently it moves up into the confines of a narrow channel of ice that has gathered beneath the bridge, between the shore and the bridge abutment. It pushes feebly against the ice, thoughts of far-away freedom growing further and further away. It lays there now in the cold of winter. It lays in a silent ice-encased body, waiting for spring’s arrival.

The river moves slowly in the cold of winter like pain coursing through our bodies in moments of despair, grief, fear, anger.

In their midst, we feel like time has stopped moving. Like everything has slowed down as we sit in a darkened tunnel of pain pushing back tumultuous emotions we cannot name, nor speak, nor label for fear, they will become our forever reality and spring will not return one day.

And then, time passes. And spring returns. And with its return the ice slowly melts and the river flows freely to the sea once again.

I have known moments of excruciating pain in my life. Moments where I believed now was forever and feared it was true. Moments where all I could hear was the roaring in my head, the roaring that sounded like I was buried deep in a bed of ice, too frozen, too frightened, too fearful to move.

And then spring came and with it, the ice melted and I remembered to breathe into its promise of sunshine and brighter days ahead.

The river moves slowly in the cold of winter. It is beautiful as it glides past my window, glistening beneath in its molten sheet of grey edged in white.

There is beauty in the cold of winter. Untold stories of skaters whizzing across frozen ponds and skiers swooping down snow-laden mountainsides, their cheeks rosy and their spirits light.

There is beauty in the cold of winter. It begins within my heart melting in gratitude for this day, no matter how cold or frosty the air I breathe.


I am working with The Artist’s Way creativity cards.

Each day, I pull a card and must free-fall write whatever appears from the inspiration of the card.

Today’s card was:  The Air We Breathe — Creativity is oxygen for our souls.



What do you do when you grow tired of your own excuses?

Alcohol Inks on Yupo Paper 11″ x 14″ By Louise Gallagher

I don’t yet have my studio built-out in our new home. I’ve been using that as my excuse to not create.

Yesterday, I decided I’d had enough of my own excuses.

All my alcohol inks and paraphernalia were in one box. I hauled them upstairs, set myself up on the island and began to create.

It was a dream day. A day for calm and joy. Centredness and exploration.

I haven’t used alcohol inks and Yupo paper a lot. One evening course recently with the amazing Allyson Thain and that’s about it.

But that’s the joy of creating just for the joy of creating. I don’t have to ‘know the rules’ or even worry about following them. I simply have to be willing to let go of expectations and dive into exploration.

It can be so easy in this time-challenged, expectation-riddled world to fall into the trap of believing spending an afternoon and evening creating is ‘doing nothing’.

It’s not. Nothing.

It’s everything without having to be anything.

And that’s where freedom, creativity and inspiration exist. Beyond the spaces between expectation and demands, rules and commitments. Beyond ‘have to’s’ and ‘you’re on a schedule, don’t lose it’ is a world of possibility where magic happens. If only I get out of the way of forcing it to do it my way, or expecting it to appear on my schedule, in my life-inbox the way I want.

I lost myself in the art of creating yesterday with no expectation of creating anything other than space to savour the moment and be one with The Muse.

While C.C. watched football games and hockey on his laptop in the bedroom, I muddled around with inks and paper, exploring what happens when I let go of having to make it look this way or that, and fell instead into the freedom of letting it flow.

In that space, worry subsided and I was reminded once again, to not take myself so seriously. To ‘go with the flow’ and let nature have its way. My job isn’t to direct nature. It’s to create the space for magic, wonder and awe to appear naturally amidst all the struggles, upheavals and mistakes of every day living, and amidst the beauty too.

This world is filled with angst. With turmoil and pain. And it’s filled with beauty.

When I release my need to make sense of the turmoil and fall instead into surrendering to the beauty, I create peace, joy, harmony within me. And in that place, magic awakens, miracles arise as I free-fall into being present to the wonder and awe of creation.


Thank you Kerry Parsons for reminding me of my creative nature and inspiring me to connect once again with The Muse.


Let me live beyond the crazy-wild side

The muse and I have an agreement.

She whispers. I listen.

And in my listening, I respond from somewhere deep within me.

I cannot see this place of response.

I cannot define its presence.

It is a knowing. An intuiting. A divining.

Sometimes, her whispers in this place, are soft and gentle, like a summer breeze caressing my skin.

Other times, her whispers are like summer’s late kiss, reminding me to treasure each leaf turning golden before autumn’s fall.

And other times, she is like the wind blowing fiercely in on a summer storm. She wakes me up with her thunderous roar, pushing me over the edge of the known into that place where I leap up to dance in the rain and run through puddles, throwing myself with abandon into the storm.

It was stormy here last night.

This morning, the muse awoke me.

Let Me Live on the Wild Side
By Louise Gallagher ©2018

Let me live on the wild side of this crazy heart
beat beating
not keeping time
spending every moment up
to the end of time.

Let me dance ferociously with the wildflowers blowing
free freeing
to the heartbeat
of my used up life
gone wild in time.

Let me dive fearlessly into the crazy-wild
abandon abandoning
not holding back
any precious moment
of life lived free of time.


Rejoice in ordinary things

Acrylic on Canvas 42″ x 36″ Louise Gallagher 2001

I am in summer writing mode, lazy mornings, reading, walking, re-ordering my days. I will be posting less frequently over the next two months, but on those days when I spend my time ‘othering’ I’ll share things that inspire me.

The painting above is one of the very first paintings I did when I first started painting almost 20 years ago. It continues to be one of my favourites — perhaps because in it, I see only the simple, pure joy of creation.

In the beginning, my mind was not cluttered with thoughts of ‘the right way’, or the ‘that’s not good enough way’ of creating that is a natural by-product of learning more about ‘how to paint correctly’ versus ‘how to paint for the pure joy of it’ which is the beginner’s way for me.

In the beginning, painting for the pure joy of it was natural. Now, I strive to recapture that essence. I must consciously let go of my need to ‘do it right’ versus ‘do it for the pure joy of it’ – which can be challenging because when I think about it, I am no longer in that place of natural joyful creation!

Ahh, the contradictions of life are so fascinating!



Inspiring thought for the day:

Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world.

– Pema Chödron

from the book “The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times”

Just Dharma Quotes

Shared from Zen Flash



Watch out world! This womb is open!

No. 35 #ShePersisted series.

I am laughing at myself. Gently. But I am definitely finding myself amusing.

I am sitting in a room of 30+ women, gathered on this beautiful Sunday afternoon to plant seeds of Sisterhood. One of the facilitators takes us through a closed eye ‘womb-clearing’ process.

That’s when my inner laughter begins.

The womb is the seat of our creativity. Our power. Our essence, she tells us. Imagine…

All I can imagine is a big honkin’ concrete lid on top of my womb, keeping the whole friggin’ fecundity of my essence in check.

And in that imagining, my laughter takes hold.

Thirty years ago, after the birth of my second daughter, I had a tubal ligation. She was my fourth pregnancy, two of which had ended with ectopic ruptures (yup. That hurt). The final two resulted in C-section’s that brought the miracle of my daughters safely into this world.

I wasn’t supposed to be able to have children. My doctor suggested I might want to end at two. Not press my luck and all, he suggested. I agreed.

My ‘funny-line’ after that was, “This womb is closed.”

And that’s what brought the laughter on.

Imagine. Even though I was joking, the power of that phrase, “This womb is closed.”

If the womb represents the seat of my creativity, power, essence, then I have been inadvertently shutting it down, turning it off, putting the lid on it, ever since I spoke those words.

Aren’t I fascinating?

Don’t get me wrong. I am highly creative. Continually finding ways to express myself.

But… and there’s always that but getting in the way of my expression.

I also limit myself. I put a limit on how I set my creative expressions free in this world. Sometimes, I play a big dream and live it out as a footnote in the story of my life.

So, here’s the story today…

This womb is open for business.

Okay. Okay. Not the child-rearing kind of business of my younger years, but the fertile blossoming business of my creative expression having free reign to explode in living colour, all over the place.

Watch our world, this womb is open!


The Writing Space

Many years ago, while I was immersed in a relationship that was killing me, I didn’t write. It was one of the many signs I ignored on that road to hell that was telling me, “You are not safe here! Run for your life!”

Ignoring the signs of my ill-being was easier if I didn’t write. Not acknowledging how sick I was becoming was vital to keeping his anger and abuse at bay.

I didn’t want to face his anger. I also didn’t want to face myself on the page.

Writing for me is about truth. The truth is those days was that I was lost, abused, terrified. I didn’t believe I had value. I didn’t believe I deserved to live.

There was no grace in that place. There was no grace to write.

One of the graces of writing is its capacity to awaken me to the story beneath the story.

On the weekend, I created a writing corner just for me. It’s beside a window that overlooks the river’s edge. I can sit and watch the water flow, hear its voice, feel its essence, be one with nature.

There is something very symbolic about my writing space, something I hadn’t connected until I started writing about writing (and not writing) this morning.

On the morning of May 21, 2003 when I was released from the hell of that relationship, we were staying at a small bed and breakfast beside a river. It wasn’t as wide or fast moving or as deep as The Bow. It gurgled through the property, laughing in the sun as it raced to the sea.

Every morning I would stand by the river’s edge and imagine I could unhook gravity’s hold on my body so that by its own volition, it would fall into the water and be washed out to sea. In its disappearance, all memory of my having been here on earth would be erased from my daughters’ minds and they would be able to continue on with their lives, free of any memory of the mother who had loved them so, and then disappeared.

See, I couldn’t take my own life. That would have made a lie of the one truth I held onto — I love my daughters. Everything else in my life had become a lie. I could not violate that one truth.

But if I could unhook gravity…

I sit by the river this morning, writing.

I no longer want to unhook gravity’s hold.

I no longer live ‘the lie’.

I am blessed.




Do you know what is on the other side of fear?

“The Mighty Bow” Acrylic on Wood Panel – 60″ x 40″ – 2018 Louise Gallagher

I was feeling discombobulated. Anxious. Confused.

A situation at work had been playing on my peace of mind, disrupting my flow. I felt like I had no control. That old stories were being triggered by events in the here and now, and I was at risk of collapsing, helpless, into the past.

I had to find a different perspective, a better point of view.

Since beginning the process last October of buying a new home, getting our old home ready to be sold, renovating this home and living in rental accommodations for three months, I have not spent much time immersed in my creative essence.

Without my studio set up, I had nowhere to create. Or so I told myself.

Immersed in my fear  of being stuck in a victim-role, I didn’t realize that the voice inside my head telling me I had no space to create was the same voice of self-defense that had been triggered by the unsettling happenings in my work. It’s nattering at me to dive deep, take cover, hunker down! was also keeping me from seeing the path to letting go of my victim’s voice is always through my creative self-expression.

Acrylic on canvas
20″ x 18″
2018 Louise Gallagher

Last week, I stepped back. I took a few days for myself and decided to create space to dive into my creative essence, regardless of not having the drywall up in my studio, or the boxes unpacked, or the right lighting or the other host of excuses I’d been employing to keep me from letting go of my fears.

It was the most healing thing I could have done for myself.

Over three days I created a work space in the middle of the room by pushing boxes to the edges of the room, setting up a table to work on, unpacking essential materials and setting myself up for ‘success’.

I began to paint and in the process of dipping into colour and my creative self, I found myself once again on solid ground. I found myself breathing freely, moving slowly, feeling alive.

Fear lifted. My heart expanded. Grace embraced me.

“It’s okay,” the voice of wisdom within whispered softly. “The river never runs backwards. This too shall pass. Breathe deeply into being present in the gifts of this moment, right now. Let go of fearing the past is now and will be so forever. Open your heart to the gift of Love that flows endlessly in and through you. Breathe.”

And so, I breathed and found myself on the other side of fear in that sacred space where Love flows freely. Heart wide open, I found myself immersed in the knowing that no matter what is going on in the world around me, I am safe in the embrace of Divine Creation.