Unbroken Morning

Wrapped in the soft glow of candlelight illuminating the dark, I sit in the quiet of night’s velvety embrace.

It’s early. Dawn sleeps deep, bedded down in night’s arms. The dark envelopes the sky.

I sit at my desk, breathing in the silence and watch the lights from the pedestrian bridge that crosses the river outside my window shimmer on the water’s inky black surface.

I am awake. I don’t want to be. But a dream I cannot remember awoke me. Unable to find sleep again, I do the thing I always do when sleep evades me. I get up, light a candle on my desk. It sits in front of the large picture window in our living room, looking west. Looking out into the darkness, to the river, the dark silhouettes of the trees that line its banks, nature’s painting of black on light shadow, waiting, like portals into some magical, far away land calling me to let go of what I know to enter the realm of all there is yet to discover.

My fingertips skim the keyboard on my laptop. The river flows. Olafur Arnald’s piano quietly plays in the background. The fridge hums. Beaumont the Sheepadoodle, lies at my feet, sleeping.

A light moves along the bridge. Someone on a bicycle is crossing. East to west. For a moment I am distracted. Where is he going? What is he doing riding a bike across the bridge at 4am?

His light disappears. I return to this moment.

The river flows. No wind stirs the naked branches of the trees that fill the gaps between tree trunks like cracks in ice spidering out.

Morning has yet to beckon.

Day has yet awaken.

I breathe in the quiet of the moment and feel my body easing into the darkness.

There is nowhere to be in the dark of night. No one thing I have to do. There is only this. This moment where I sit typing, breathing, and watching the river flow and the lights dance on its surface.

Day will come. Light will return to the sky. For now, I sit in the dark belly of night and let my mind flow like the river and dream of dancing with wild, fierce abandon into the unknown adventures of the day yet to rise.

Namaste

The River Runs Loud

Channeled into an ever-narrowing strip of water, the river runs loud in winter.

Geese huddle on ice islands stretching out from the two bridge buttresses that stand, immovable, in the middle of the river’s flow.

Two squirrels play tag amongst the trees. Unimpeded by leafy greens filling the space between each branch, black puffy tails flicking rapidly, back and forth, back and forth, they chase each other in and out and around tree trunks and branches.

A lone duck floats swiftly past, unseen webbed feet paddling fast.

Cerulean sky stretches from horizon to horizon.

Immersed within the sacred mystery of the world embracing me, I stand in silent wonder to greet the morning light.

In Silent Wonder

Standing at the gateway
great mystery unspent
beckons
time well spent
time frittered away
time wasted
silently drifts
into the shadows
of the past year
spent
of all that was not known
when the bells tolled
their welcoming clarion
to a new year.

Standing at the gateway
great mystery unspent
unfurls
moment
by
moment
leaving all that was spent
in the invisible hands
of time
passing by.

from where I sit

Where words bloom like roses.

I played in my studio this weekend. It has been a while.

Though summer is often a time of little studio play, this year’s sojourn away from its creative space was especially long.

I kept telling myself I was bored with it all. I just wasn’t interested. I had other things to do.

In reality, and retrospect, I was engaging in a lot of self-denial of engagement with the things that lift me up, balance and challenge me, and give my creative essence the spark it needs to keep flowing freely. And, when my creative essence flows freely, I feel calmer, happier, more spacious, more ‘me’.

I know I am not alone in my self-denial of the things I know are good for me.

Some time ago, I was chatting with a woman at the park as we walked along the river. Her two-year-old rescue, Toby, wanted desperately to play with Beaumont the Sheepadoodle. Beau was only interested in my throwing the ball.

Like me, she loves to write.

“I started a book three years ago,” she shared. “When COVID hit, I thought it would be the opportune time to finish it. I’m still only a quarter of the way through.”

I shared some of my unfinished manuscript stories and we both laughed and promised to check in on one another’s progress at our next park encounter.

Recently, we ran into each other again at the park. We chatted for a while until finally I blurted out, “So… I don’t have much of an update on progress to report.”

Sheepishly, she shared she didn’t either.

We chatted awhile about the obstacles, the why not’s, and the things that got in our way of doing what we say we want to do.

“I desperately want to finish it,” she said of her manuscript. “I just don’t know if I can.”

We looked at each other when she said that and laughed.

It is a shared experience.

See, intellectually I know I can do it but… and there’s always a but… my lack of conviction of the ‘can’ has more to do with the critter-mind’s constant chattering about why I shouldn’t do it.

Now that was a revelation as I sat in meditation this morning.

Why does the critter-mind believe I shouldn’t do it?

The answer is fairly simple.

The critter-mind always believes it knows best, particularly when it comes to keeping me safe. And the critter-mind believes that convincing me not to devote the time, energy and creative power necessary to complete this book is safer than risking failing, or never getting it published, or having it panned by readers, yada, yada, yada.

And so I wonder… What would happen if I simply turn up, pay attention and stay unattached to the outcome?

Will the critter-mind lose its power to convince me not to do it? In staying unattached to the outcome, will the creative act of putting words onto a page become the process through which I experience joy, happiness, fulfillment and love?

I wonder… What would happen if I imagine every word I type to be an act of love? Will words bloom into everything I imagine?

Will We? Can we? Change.

This is the view from where I sit in the mornings, meditating, writing, watching squirrels scamper in the trees, the river flow past.

The view is cloudy these days. Smoke-filled molecules saturate the sky with ash and toxins.

Yesterday, I uncovered the furniture on the deck. No rain is forecast.

The air is too smoky to sit outside. I covered the furniture up again this morning. I don’t want to collect toxin-laden molecules in its cushions.

There is no reprieve in sight. Wildfires continue to burn. To the south. The north. West and east.

I fear Mother Nature’s desperate pleas for help remain unheeded.

My days remain unchanged. I write and paint and walk with Beau along the river. I spend time with my beloved. We see friends a bit more now. I hugged my daughter yesterday. We don’t have to wear masks everywhere anymore. I still carry mine in my purse and car. In jacket pockets. I want to be safe and be a safe person to be around.

It is summer in the city. A different summer every year. Of note, each year feels marked by more and more days of smoke-laden air and time spent indoors with windows and doors tightly closed.

And I am reminded again. We must each do our best to pull ourselves back from the abyss of environmental disaster.

Yesterday, I read up on incandescent versus fluorescent and LED lightbulbs. I spent the afternoon ensuring there are no incandescent anywhere lightbulbs in our home.

A friend mentioned using only bar soaps – from laundry to dishes to hands to hair – she has dispensed with all plastic containers in her home.

There’s always something more I can do to make a difference.

I must keep reading up on possibilities.

Yesterday, I also read about why the sun glows red in smoke-filled skies – red rays are longer and stronger than blue rays, thus, are more adept at travelling further through the smoke-filled sky.

It was that thought which inspired the poem below. That, and the weekly prompt from Eugi’s Causerie.

Eugi's Causerie Prompt 

Your Weekly Prompt –Petals – July 29, 2021

“The soul has words as petals” – Edmond Jabes

Go where the prompt leads you and publish a post on your own blog that responds to the prompt.

It can be any variation of the prompt and/or image. 

Please keep it family friendly. This needs to be a safe and fun space for all.

Again, as always seems to happen, I had no idea where the prompt would take me until I was done.

There is a melancholy in my writing this morning. A yearning for clear blue sky and fresh air. I want to be more upbeat, promising, hopeful. I struggle.

I am hopeful. I’m also leery. Can we? Will we do what must be done to step back from the edge?

Can we? Will we? Change.

Sky Coughs. Ash Falls.
by Louise Gallagher

Heat rises
day breaks
through night
sunrise bruises the horizon
in rose petal colours
of crimson, gold and purple
blue light fades
like a memory
vanishing
into long ago days
spent languishing under a summer sky
unblemished
by smoky clouds
drifting languorously
away 
from earth’s forests
burning
red
hot.

In the distance 
an engine backfires
a car travels west to east
over the bridge
towards city centre
carrying its lone occupant
to a job
buried deep
within a towering building
reaching 
greedily
for the sky.

Above,
sky coughs
ash falls
like a symphony of petals
tumbling
silently
to the ground
covering the earth
in summer's finest snow.

Love Pours In

Thoughts from my meditation on the question of Love — it is the theme this week of the year long Contemplative Listening and Writing course I began earlier this month.

Holding onto nothing, I become all that I am.

With every exhale, Love rushes into the spaces left behind where once I held onto everything.

Holding onto nothing, Love is all there is.

Holding onto nothing, Love pours in.

_______

Love Pours In

©2021  Louise Gallagher

I forget
where breath begins
and hold onto nothing
but my last breath
fearing there will never be
another to fill
the void.

Letting go
life rushes in and fills
the space
with nothing
more than
my last breath
moving into
the next.

In the ebb
of life’s
constant flow
holding on
fills the void
and I become
each breath
letting go.

And Love pours in.

I wrote this poem several years ago. I was reminded of it this morning when I started to share a painting I created on the weekend and realized, I needed to speak of Love.

I wanted to hold onto what I had intended. I had to let go.

And as it always does. That’s where love found me. That’s where love poured into the spaces created in letting go.

Vision Board 2021

I spent the morning gaining clarity on my path for 2021.

I hosted a session on Zoom on creating a Vision Board with two friends.

As we created, we laughed and chatted and shared stories and sipped our coffees and got glue on our fingers and on everything else too!

And like women gathering at the wekk, we found ourselves in that sacred space that opens up when women come together in community.

A Vision Board is a visual tool that is both metaphorical and literal. With the use of images and words, it helps focus your intention, your desires, your wishes for your life – or one particular area of your life.

For me today, my vision board focused on my ‘creative expressions’. What I want to consider, conceive, and create this year.

Perhaps the most powerful morsel of clarity (which takes a huge bite out of my self-doubt and sometimes confusing thoughts on what I want to do next) is the answer that appeared to the statement – The unifying link between my work and my love for [life is]… Visual Storytelling & Words.

Wow!

I didn’t know when we began at 9 this morning that I would find that response.

And that’s the beauty of spending three hours individually and collectively focussing on ‘self’ and creating a visual storyboard of ‘what I want more of in my life’ and ‘where will I place my focus?’ this year.

If you haven’t created a Vision Board for 2021 (or ever before) it’s Easy. Fun. Enlightening.

I’ll be creating a ‘cheat sheet’ on how to do it and will post it on my website. Stay tuned! I’ll add the link here when I’m done!

(And that comes from the clarity I gained this morning! How exciting is that!)

Thank you JD and SV for spending the time with me and for inspiring me to focus my attention on the ‘what’ of this year.

Let All I Am Be The Breath Of Love

If I were a magician who could repair the past, I would weave the strands of time into a tapestry that would tell a story where Love always saves the day. Like the princess of fairy-tale lore who wove shirts of nettles so her brothers could be transformed from swans back to human form, I would drape my tapestry upon the past and all hurts and pain would vanish beneath its beauty.

If I had a magic wand that could heal broken hearts, I would wave it wildly about like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice of Fantasia-lore commanding a broom to dance with joy. Wherever I waved my wand hearts all around me would begin to beat in harmony and the cracks and bruises and scars would be erased and Love would flow freely.

If I had a magical potion that could transform hatred and fear into Love, I would make great vats of it and pour it into a golden flask that I would offer to all the world. And with every sip, hatred and fear would be drowned in Love.

If I had an enchanted incantation that could ward off disease, I would inscribe it onto silver amulets like the ancient Romans did to make deadly disease go away. I would make an amulet for every human on this planet and carry them with me where ever I went so that all I met could wear the amulet around their neck and be safe from harm.

But I do not have the power to repair the past, nor do I have a magic wand or potion or incantation that will heal broken hearts or drown out hatred and fear or free the world of disease.

I have only my heart, my hands, my thoughts and words, my every deed and my intention to be a channel of peace, joy and Love.

Let all I am flow with nature’s beauty so that when my world connects with yours it is not a collision but rather, a gentle caress where the distance between our hearts is bridged through Love.

Let all I am be the breath of love.

Let that be enough.