Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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Choices: Gratitude and Miracles

logo-choicesWe all have them. Those moments in time that have caused us pain, to feel rejected, to feel lost, alone, less than, not worthy of love, joy, caring, affection.

And in those moments are the grains of sand that become the stories we tell about the limitations of our lives. Within those moments are the reasons, and excuses, we give as to why we are in pain, rejected, lost alone, less than, not worthy of love, joy, caring, affection.

We are all born to live in grace. To be loved. To know joy. To have lives of wonder and awe.

But life has a way of happening. And in its happening, we learn methods of coping with pain, loss, rejection and a whole host of human attributes that caused us pain. In our coping, we forget the beauty and magnificence of our human condition. We forget our capacity to love, to find joy even on the darkest days, to feel love even in the darkest nights.

I have just spent five days in the Choices Seminar training room. Five days immersed in the human condition awakening to it beauty, wonder, awe and magnificence as trainees began to take the journey into the heart of what they want more of in their lives.

In her opening comments Mary Davis, one of the facilitators and daughter of Thelma Box the founder of Choices, describes Choices as a program that presents simple tools so that each of us can live better lives. The question is,  If better is possible, is good good enough? When it comes to living lives of joy, grace, peace and love, better is always possible.

The tools are straightforward. Trainees answer questions and work through exercises that help them identify for themselves what behaviours continually interfere with their feeling happiness, joy, peace, love. They learn tools to help them listen better to what another has to say without feeling like they have to ‘be wrong’  or constantly defend their position. They practice tools that teach them how to ask for what they want, without feeling rejected or invisible and how to give themselves medicine so that they can take care of those they love without always feeling like they are running on empty.

It is a powerful 5 days and no matter how many times I am in that room, I always learn something new about myself, my self-defeating games and the things I do that block me from having the ‘more’ of what I want in my life and in the world around me.

Being part of that circle reminds me every time that we are all miracles of life, all magnificent in our human condition. All perfectly human in all our human imperfections.

It reminds me that the pains we carry, the hurts and sorrows, the anger and grief are not our destiny.

 

It reminds me that we are human beings on the journeys of our lifetime. This lifetime in which we are free to let go of what brings us down so that we can become the light, the beauty, the magnificent human being we are truly meant to be.

It reminds me that no matter how dark or heavy the past, Love is always the answer.

It was a week of miracles. A week of connecting heart to heart. It was a week of wonder and awe.

I  am profoundly grateful.I am blessed.

 

 


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Choices: Changing the world one heart at a time

Intersections Mixed media on canvas 10" x 16"

Intersections
Mixed media on canvas
10″ x 16″

Life is filled with crossroads, intersections, moments of choice. Which way to go? What to do next? Where to stop? Where to begin again?

For the next five days my choices have narrowed down to three very simple rules to follow:  Love the people. Love the people. Love the people.

I am off to coach at Choices for the next five days. Off to be part of hearts breaking open to beat fearlessly, minds setting themselves free of the past, lives opening up to possibility.

Coaching at Choices is always a good reminder for me to get present, get conscious, get compassionate.

It is an opportunity to be mindful of my actions, thoughts and words so that I bring my willingness to serve and be present for another into each moment. As a coach, my role is to hold the space for each trainee to trust themselves enough to know, their answers are not ‘out there’, they are inside their hearts. Inside their own knowing of what works, and doesn’t work in their lives. As a coach, I don’t have someone else’s answers. I only have good questions. The answers are theirs.

It is one of the many things I love about being in the Choices room. We are all so unique, different, complex individuals, yet, singular in our humanity.

We think. We feel. We know things. We see things. We understand things.

We act. We speak. We do and say things we mean. We do and say things we regret.

We carry our hurts, bury our pain, avoid our fears.

We laugh, we cry, we weep, we dance for joy.

We do all these things and still, we struggle to find the path to living fearlessly in the now.

We look at the past, wishing it could be different, wishing we can have it back.

We look at the future, fearing it won’t be different, fearing it will be the same.

And in this moment right now, we all have the power to change our minds and hearts to feel and see and know differently what happened in the past, and what is possible in the future.

In this moment right now, we all have the capacity to love fearlessly, live wildly beyond our wildest imaginings.

Tomorrow, I will step into the seminar room for five days of living and loving fearlessly.

Tomorrow, I will step into a circle of people who believe to change the world, we must first begin with our own hearts. In that space, we create a world of possibility for everyone.

Today, I am grateful. Excited. At peace. I am present, willing to do my part to change the world one heart at a time by living my life fearlessly, lovingly and compassionately, breath by breath. I am willing to serve and give my best to this moment right now so that my ripple can flow out into the world around me, in Love.

Namaste.

************************************************

I am off to coach at Choices for five days. See you next week.

 


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Facing the belief that is a lie.

yoda fear

Fear lives in my belly. It is that grumbly, rumbly, churning feeling of disquiet that eats away at my peace of mind. When I give into it.

Love lives in my entire being. It is that warm, soothing, tranquil feeling of quiet joy bubbling up to embrace my peace of mind. When I give into it.

Which one will I choose?  It is up to me.

I can’t try to ‘be fearful’. I am or I’m not.

Yoda said it best.

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

Which will you choose today?

To take the path to the dark side, or to keep walking the path into the light?

Will you allow your fearful thoughts to drag you down, or will you allow loving kindness to lift you up and draw you out of the darkness and hold you in the light?

It is your choice.

On the weekend at Choices Seminars, I had a moment of fear wash over me. I’d made a mistake in how I presented something to the group, and my mind went into hyper-active defensive mode when I heard my co-facilitator point out to me how stupid and unprofessional I was.

Now — here’s the thing. That is not what my co-facilitator said. All they really did was provide me some constructive feedback on how to do it better next time.

In my fear of making mistakes, of looking stupid in front of the group, of being shamed for not doing it right, my fear heard their feedback totally out of context to what they said.

In the moment, my fear rose up and heard condemnation. In the moment, my fear drove me away from courage and truth into the darkness of criticism.

I’d like to tell you I recovered right there on the spot. 🙂  Truth is, as soon as I could gracefully do so without drawing attention to myself, (which was at the first break) I left the room and went to the washroom, had a little pity party and then pulled myself together. When the session resumed, I stood in front of the group and continued.

 

And here’s the thing about those moments.

It was a breakthrough. A moment of such deep clarity and light I could not avoid the truth that came spilling up out of me as all night long I worried over and thought through the events of that evening trying to discern why my reaction to such a simple moment had been so visceral, so immediate, so violent.

The next morning, I awoke, tired yet really clear on what that moment of feeling shame at the front of the room represented. And in my enlightenment, the sun broke through the darkness and light illuminated my path in all its brilliant clarity.

Since a small, small girl I had held a belief within me that is not true. I didn’t even know the belief was there until such an insignificant moment erupted into a deep dive into truth and the ‘belief that is a lie’ rose to the top and screamed in my face and, I swear, felt like it was ripping my heart out.

I won’t go into the details of the ‘belief that is a lie’, I still have a lot of processing to do on it. I will tell you though that I am celebrating. I am dancing. I am shouting for joy. This ‘belief that is a lie’ has caused me a lot of pain, confusion and harm. On some deep subconscious level I have always been aware of its presence, lurking in the darkness, disturbing my status quo and jeopardizing my capacity to feel and know pure joy.

Now that I see it. Now that I know it. Now that I can face it, I can deal with it.

I am grateful.

I cannot heal or change what I do not acknowledge.

I acknowledge that the ‘belief that is a lie’ does not serve me well. It does not bring me the ‘more’ of what I want in my life.

Today, I choose to step boldly, confidently and joyfully onto the path of light, love and well-being.

Which path do you choose today?

 

Namaste.

 

 

 


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Share a Hug | 52 Acts of Grace | Week 4

 

acts of grace week 4 copy

When in an open-hearted space and place like the Choices Seminar room, it is easy to give generously. Of yourself. Your time. Your treasures and talents.

At the hotel where the Choices Seminar is held, participants are encouraged to be generous with their tipping — we are a large group and can at times overwhelm restaurant staff and other areas of the hotel. Being at Choices meant Week 3’s Act of Grace invitation to show my appreciation for people who served me was easy to fulfill on.

It also means, it takes me a few days to get out of “Choices” mode out in the ‘real world’. To not greet everyone I meet, whether in meetings or on the elevator, or in my office with a hug.

Maybe I should change that!

One of the things I say in the Choices room is that my dream is to create a world ‘out there’ like it is in here so that I can effortlessly be ‘out there’ as I am, as I feel, as I breathe in the Choices room. A place where everyone has the opportunity to feel loved, safe, supported. A place where mistakes are celebrated as opportunities to grow and learn and do better. Where people believe in themselves. Find their voices and sing out loud. Celebrate who they are. Love themselves in every condition.

And one way to create it that way, no matter where I am, is to offer hugs. To simply not listen to that voice in my head that whispers, “Don’t hug. They’ll think you’re weird. You’re invading their space. You’re being pushy. You’re over-stepping…”

Hugs are a powerful communication tool. Hugs require no special equipment. They’re easy to give and take. Hugs connect us and create a powerful bond between our humanity.

Yesterday, as I approached a table where a hotel staff was selling tickets for the Sunday Brunch, I didn’t even have a chance to say hello before she stood up, opened her arms and walked towards me. We shared a hug and then went about the business of the Sunday Brunch ticket, both of us smiling broadly.

What a wonderful gift!

To know that hugging means as much to the staff as it does to me. To know we are connected.

And let me be clear — 10 years ago, you would not have caught me hugging strangers, hotel staff, or most people for that matter.

Now, I love hugs. I love how for a moment, two people stand silently together, take a breath and simply share human touch and a moment.

Make special moments this week. Share your warmth and generosity of spirit through hugs.


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If you can imagine it, you can make it so.

If yo

If you can imagine it, you can make it so. Turn the impossible into possibility. Get Creative!  (Art Journal. Apr 3, 2016)

 

Ten years ago, when I first walked into the Choices Seminar room, I could not imagine that I would still be walking into that room almost every month, excited to be part of miracles unfolding.

Ten years ago when I walked into that room. I was okay. My life was getting back on track. I’d spent 3 years healing from a devestating relationship that almost killed me and figured I was now doing okay.

Fact is. I was. Doing okay. I just had no idea how much more was possible than just ‘doing okay’.

Some of the things holding me back at that time (which I wasn’t really conscious of) was the fact I tended to look at the world through suspicious eyes. I tended not to trust that people really did want ‘the best’ for me. I tended not to believe people when they told me they loved me, or even liked me. I tended to walk on the outside of the circle, peering in, wishing and hoping I could be ‘normal’ or part of the group, but always holding myself back, just in case… I got hurt. I got ridiculed. I got rejected.

And here I am. Tend years later, about to walk into the Choices Seminar room once again, eager to experience the next five days of hearts opening wide to the wonder and awe of the magnificence of the human condition.

What a gift.

To have a place where I know, no matter what, I am loved. I am accepted. I am part of the circle. I am wanted and valued.

Ahhhh…. how my heart beats wildly free in the knowledge of feeling the thing I have always wanted to feel inside me. Safe.

Choices is a place where miracles happen. A place where hearts heal and lives change as people learn to let go of limiting beliefs and see the beauty of who they are truly are.

 

I am off to coach at Choices. Off to be immersed in healing and breathing into this amazing thing called LIFE.

I love it! Ten years ago I could not imagine the value I would find through Choices.

Yesterday, a beautiful woman I know had her birthday. It is because of her I went through Choices. I don’t think even she could have imagined what a gift she gave me. Thank you NR.

Have a great rest of your week. See you Monday/Tuesday next week.

Namaste.


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When hearts break open

FullSizeRender (75)We all carry the scars and bruises of life.

Those little, not so little and some times huge hurts and cuts that hinder our ability to live fearlessly and freely in love with being who we are.

Sometimes those happenings stop us dead in our tracks.

Sometimes they make us cry, scream, want to pull our hear out and fall into a hole and cover ourselves up with sand.

Sometimes, we carry them for so long we don’t even notice they’re there.

And sometimes, in carrying them, we become so comfortable with their presence, we don’t want to let them go.

I am off this week to coach at Choices Seminars.

To be immersed in hearts breaking open to discover, they can let go. They can heal. They can begin again.

I won’t be posting. — you know, it’s the long days, short nights, fast sleeps thing of living completely on purpose.

See you next week.

 


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Our human condition is a journey through love.

 

Choices is an experiential journey. It is an exquisitely constructed series of teachings and processes that have been honed and developed over 35 years to fulfill on founder, Thelma Box’s vision of Changing the world one heart at a timeFor over 35 years, Thelma Box, Mary, Joe and Greg Davis have created a safe and courageous space for people to step into the wonder and awe of discovering who we truly are when we let go of the negative self-talk and self-defeating games we all inevitably employ to protect our hearts and keep ourselves safe from being hurt by others or to prevent them from seeing we are hurting.

We humans are interesting beings. We are all born magnificent. It is our birthright.

We come into this world crying out for belonging, for love, for connection and then life happens and we quickly forget the birthright of our magnificence as we adapt our behaviours to meet life’s sometimes confusing, sometimes challenging, sometimes painful teachings. We walk through each day into unknown and known places, face strangers and people we know fearing they are judging us, measuring our journey against theirs, or examining our flaws with such intensity we feel naked or invisible. We try to hide in plain view, or stand out in anger, contempt, judgement fearing we will never find peace, love, hope, joy, contentment and in our fear, do everything we can to prevent ourselves from having what we want.

In our struggle to get what we want, we set bars so high we cannot see them or don’t set them at all because we are convinced we will never reach them. And in our fear of constantly having to measure up or our fear of continually falling short, we do not see, it is our judgements of ourselves that are hurting us most. It is our negative self-talk that is killing our dreams. It is our self-defeating games that are keeping us stuck living in the shadows of our fear; we do not matter, we are not worthy, we are unloveable.

At Choices, I am continually blessed to witness people awakening to their magnificence. I am blessed with being part of miracles unfolding as people open their eyes to the truth of who they are when they let go of fearing who they are will never be enough.

We are all enough. Exactly the way we are. Exactly as we were born to be before we forgot that our value is not found in the things we acquire or the things we do or people we know or places we’ve been. Our value is in our being present and true to our hearts. It is found in how we treat ourselves and one another. Our value is intrinsic to our nature of being human when we let go of fearing who we are and remember, we are all magnificent.

It was a beautiful and inspiring five days of connecting heart to heart to one another. Of seeing and hearing the beauty of each person’s heart beating freely and fiercely with the truth that who they are is greater than their fear that they were unworthy or undeserving of Love.

We are all deserving of Love, no matter our human condition, because our human condition is a journey through Love.