Flourishing where you’re planted: A lesson from the garden

I’m not known for my gardening expertise. Growing up in Germany, the gardeners who tended to my parent’s yard kindly asked me not to assist them after I mistakenly pulled out flowers instead of weeds from the rock garden. Their request left an impression on me and stunted my desire to gardening career.

I’ve always stuck to planting pots, avoiding the complexities of full-fledged gardens. However, one year, I mustered the courage to dig up a patch of grass in our backyard and create a flower garden. I was proud of my efforts, but it didn’t last long. Our mischievous Golden Retriever, Ellie, and the squirrels she loved to chase through the yard, wreaked havoc, erasing most of my labours and leaving only fallen leaves and petals. I took it as a sign that I should stick to pots.

In the summer of 2020, the year my mother passed away, a generous neighbor gifted me three beautiful purple irises from her garden. With my trowel in hand, and trepidation in my heart, I plunked them into the earth the giant fir tree in our frontyard. I’d occassionally water them, poke around and pull out weeds at their stems, and pray a lot for their survival.

Fast forward two years, and those three irises have multiplied into a stunning display. A neighbor across the street even remarked that I must have a green thumb. I chuckled and corrected her, confessing that I simply have resilient plants.

Life is a lot like that. We find ourselves planted in the garden bed of our family, or something resembling it. The caretakers of that garden do their best, wrestling with their own self-doubts and limiting beliefs about being parents or ability to function in an often unfriendly world.

We take root. We reach for the sun. We navigate the sometimes daunting mystery of the garden of our life, where the path ahead is obscured.

And yet, we continue to grow.

Our growth may face obstacles—a lack of nourishment, care, or support. But still, we dig deep, anchor ourselves, spread our roots and expand.

My irises flourish not because of my expertise or nurturing (remember, my limiting belief tells me I’m not a gardener). They thrive despite my lack of gardening prowess because they seize any opportunity to grow. Survival is their instinct, and that’s precisely what they’ve done.

I cherish these irises. They serve as a potent reminder of life’s beauty and mysteries. They also bear my mother’s namesake, connecting me to her enduring spirit of kindness and her desire to always see the beauty in all things.

Moreover, they invite me to confront my own limiting beliefs about gardening – and other things too. They challenge me to dig into those beliefs, uproot the weeds of doubt, and allow myself to flourish right where I’m planted.

How’s the garden of your life today? Are you tending to it with loving care? Are you uprooting weeds and watering the flowers?

Or, are you letting limiting beliefs keep you rooted in the muds of past mistakes and dead end adventures?

Is it time to let nature have its way and flourish right where you’re planted?



Morning’s song awakens me. Outside my bedroom windows, birds chirp a happy song into the silence of dawn’s awakening, as if in welcoming back the light, they are singing praises to earth’s indefatigable journey around the sun.

It is early. Night still lingers and I lay still. Cocooned in my bed, the gentle breathing of my beloved quietly measuring the moments of awakening with their steady thrum.

Quietly, I slip from between the covers, pad barefoot into the kitchen, turn on the light above the stove, the halo of its soft glow casting back the shadows from where I begin my morning ritual of making coffee.

The world feels quiet outside the safe enclosure of our home. I have not yet read the news, not yet caught up on the happenings, out there, somewhere beyond the security of these four walls.

I cling to the silence. Wrap myself in the stillness and savour these last few moments of serene calm.

The world can wait.

For now, morning light beckons me to sink into contemplation. To slowly release night’s lingering shadows into dawn’s early light.

I breathe.


Still, I wait.

Still, I let the world’s woes recede as I sit embraced within dawn’s soft silent light.

Dawn's Unfurling
©2023 Louise Gallagher

morning waits
cerulean sky
stretched out
reaching for the light
above leafy branches
for the sun’s
welcome kiss
to caress green fronds
to unfurl
beyond where I sit

in dawn’s early light
chases away
night’s lingering shadows
pressing back against
dawn's approach.

I sit
in silent communion
wrapped within 
dawn’s early light
across a cerulean sky.

Isn’t Life Grand?

I woke up feeling lighter this morning. Excited to greet the day.

In the cozy embrace of my bed, I reveled in the serenity and tranquility that enveloped me, basking in a delightful sense of lightness.

Then, I rose and entered our ensuite, and was greeted by the sight of last night’s pep-talk on the mirror.

“Ah, that’s right,” whispered my mind. “You’ve got this.”

A smile spread across my face. Indeed, I do.

For the second night in a row, I had almost talked myself out of writing on the mirror before bedtime. The search for my glass-writing crayons seemed like a daunting task, potentially leading to the upheaval of my studio. But then, a brilliant solution dawned on me—I remembered keeping a set of gold and silver crayons in the kitchen drawer, reserved for those moments when I wanted to help guests keep track of their glasses.

Problem solved.

Mission accomplished.

This morning, I reveled in the rewards of honoring my commitment. And, because I know deep down that “I’ve got this” (primarily concerning the book I’m writing, but with additional benefits as well), after embarking on Beaumont the Sheepadoodle’s first early morning saunter (thankfully, the smoke has diminished, enhancing both the visibility and enjoyment), I strolled into the kitchen and whipped up a batch of scones, four dozen chocolate chip cookies, and tidied away all the dishes—all before 8 am!

What a marvelous way to kickstart my day—feeling invigorated and empowered. It simply required following through on a commitment I made to myself — the added benefit is my beloved has treats to greet him this morning and I have sweet delights to share with a dear friend who recently underwent a knee replacement. The first week of her recovery has been challenging, and now I have the chance to brighten her day with homemade delights infused with love and gratitude for our friendship.

Isn’t life simply grand?

Evenning Rituals

I have a fondness for rituals. They act as my anchors, keeping me steady and in the flow. They forge a connection to something beyond myself, a collective unconscious that intertwines us all.

One of my treasured bedtime rituals is the “3 Things” practice. It serves as a serene reflection on my day, guiding me towards calm, gratitude, and a sense of flow. Before slipping into sleep, I embrace three aspects for which I’m grateful, three moments of grace that touched my day, and three dreams I wish to carry into the realm of dreams and write them down in my journal.

Recently, I introduced a fourth ritual that precedes my “3 Things” practice—I write down three worries, things that haven’t pleased me, or instances where I could have ‘performed ‘done better’. Once penned, I crumple up that piece of paper and toss it into the wastebasket.

This act of discarding is symbolic, urging me to release the self-limiting narratives I tell myself—the thoughts that hold me back and hinder my moving freely through each moment. By throwing them away, I relinquish the power they hold over me.

Yesterday, I had a heartfelt conversation with a kindred spirit—a beautiful soul seeking ways to rise above the darkness, to believe in their own luminous heart. We explored uplifting ideas, discussing what they were doing or not doing to stay in the light.

During our conversation, I shared a personal practice of mine: leaving love notes to myself on the bathroom mirror using washable glass crayons. “I haven’t actually done it in quite awhile,” I confessed. We agreed it was a good time to ‘begin again’. Always begin again.

As we talked about the love-notes on the mirror further, we came up with another idea. Before going to bed, write yourself a ‘pep-talk’ on the mirror. That way, the first thing you read in the morning will be your pep-talk.

What a great way to start a day, we both agreed and committed to do it.

Later, as I followed my nightly rituals, I remembered my commitment to give it a go. Already in bed, I chose not to go downstairs to my studio to fetch my glass-writing pens. It was more effort than I felt like expending in that moment and like Scarlett O’Hara, who famously said, ‘I’ll think about that tomorrow,’ I gave myself an excuse to not do the thing I needed to do to care for myself in the moment.

And that’s how easy it is to neglect the commitments that nurture our souls. It’s as simple as granting ourselves permission to deviate from our own journey, evading accountability and disregarding the actions that empower us to live boldly and be our best selves.

It may not seem like a significant transgression—I reassured myself this morning. But is that really true?

What if it isn’t solely about failing to fulfill a commitment, but rather, that this “not doing” forms a habit of disregarding the actions that nurture and love myself?

What if, in the act of “not doing,” I unconsciously tell myself that I’m not worth fighting for? That I’m not deserving of my own commitment?

You see, it’s not that I don’t want to engage in those practices—it’s the message my brain receives in the act of “not doing.”

What a fascinating awakening this morning. Not only do I have an opportunity to do better, I’ve also effortlessly identified one of my three things to write-down on the list of thoughts I refuse to carry with me into my dreams tonight.

I am grateful to have woken up to this chance to create a better world within myself today. It serves as a reminder that every journey comprises small steps—each step propelling us either closer to the state of being we desire or further away from our optimal selves. Last night, I took a step away from my desired state.

Some may argue it wasn’t a big deal. Yet, what if the significance lies not in the specific act I failed to complete but in how this “not doing” becomes a habit of neglecting the nurturing and loving things I know are vital for my well-being?

Let this morning’s revelation be a catalyst—an opportunity to cultivate a deeper sense of self-worth, commitment, and conscious participation in my personal growth.

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..


To Know Love…

We humans have an inate desire to know love. To feel it and be loved and loving.

Love carries with effortless ease our desires for belonging. Our need to feel like we fit in, like we have a place and purpose in this world. And despite our insistence ‘Love doesn’t come cheap, or isn’t free’, Love and asks nothing of us in return.

And still, too often, we fight its ways. We resist its presence and defend our hearts against our fears of being hurt by someone else’s love, reminding ourselves of all the ways others have hurt us in the past, as if memory can defend us against Love..

None of us love perfectly. We have that oh so human tendency to judge, criticise and blame. We tell stories on another’s imperfect love and how they hurt us without seeing that in our own beautiful imperfectly loving ways, we too have hurt others, and ourselves.

To know Love, to feel it, to be in its soul-filling flow, we must stop defending our hearts against our fear of what might happen, or could happen, or our self-assured belief WILL happen, if we let love in.

To know LOVE we must allow ourselbves to pull down the walls around our hearts and dance with joyful abandon in the freedom to see ourselves through Love’s eyes. In Love’s eyes, it is not our imperfections that count. It is our willingness to stand naked in Love’s light and let our beautiful imperfect human being shine bright for all the world to see, we are a reflection of Love’s beauty.

If I Were Brave…

Learning or doing something new, travelling to a new destination, meeting new people, can often feel like a journey into the unknown.

Questions about – What if I can’t do/learn it? Will people like me/will I fit in? How will I cope? – can scurry through our minds like water skeeters searching for food on the surface of a lake. Our thoughts dart from one gloomy fear to the next, constantly undermining our confidence in that next adventure with their power to hold us back from taking the next brave step.

Like any muscle, the bravery muscle needs constant working out to stay supple and strong. It needs our conscious attention to avoid atrophying.

Avoidance strengthens fear. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway strengthens courage.

Stepping into the unknown opens us up to possibility and adventure. It also deepens our ability to know ourselves, our triggers and strengths in different situations, so that we can diminish the things that hold us back and grow in our confidence to keep steeping forward in our lives.

Rather than shy away from what you do not know, next time you’re faced with a situation or circumstance you’ve never considered, or avoided, in the past, ask yourself, If I were BRAVE what would I do?

Fact is, we are all brave. It’s just sometimes, our critter-minds think to keep us safe, we need to tone down the bravery and play it safe.

Playing it safe keeps us stuck in our comfort zones.

To play it brave, listen deeply to the answer and do that – not only will you have an opportunity to experience something you never before imagined possible, you’ll be strengthening your bravery muscles too!

And what a great way to play life! On the brave side!

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….


by Louise Gallagher

I sit
by the earth
through time
where I sit
in my desire
to hold on
to all
I believe
I am
when I sit

my eyes
I must
let go
of sitting 
to release
my hold
on being,

I sit in meditation and release my thinking mind into my body. I ask my deep, inner knowing, to fill me up with connection, awareness, guidance.

“We come into this world knowing the infinite belonging within life that brings us into being,” the wise woman whispers.


What on earth does that mean.

Listen, she whispers.

I sink deeper. I listen, deep.

And I feel myself opening, opening, opening.

All my life I have strived to ‘be equal’ to be as good as, and at times, better than, ‘a man’.

But what if none of this journey is about being equal to or better than.

What if the mystery of the feminine I strive to uncover and connect to is as much a part of the whole as the masculine that has been buried beneath mountains of patriarchial patterning that would have white maleness be the measure of the worth of all?

What if equality has nothing to do with it?

What if this journey is about becoming something profoundly other than what is known now?

What if, in all my striving, I let go of holding onto all I think I know and believe about who I am in relation to ‘the other’ so that I can become all I am in relation to me?

What if in my becoming, I allow the expression of my infinite belonging to draw the threads of my being into a beautiful, magnificent expression of my destiny woven through life’s constantly evolving journey?

What if the story of my life isn’t ‘what I make it’ but what I become as I live it untethered to the known as I explore the all of who I do not know me to be?

What if it is not about striving to be, and simply becoming my story in this time where I sit, still, and unmoveable yet constantly moving and changing, moving and changing?

Heady thoughts to ponder beneath this grey sky day where snow blankets the earth and the river runs deep, its surface movement blocked by ice stopping its flow while beneath the ice, the river moves, constantly reaching out towards a distant sea.

Today is an unwritten story.

Every morning I wake up and choose to write here, or not.

My story. My choice.

Every day, there are things I have to do over which there is very little choice or none at all. Like breathing. Bodily functions. Eating. Sure, I get to choose where and when and what I eat, but eat I must to stay alive.

Every day, my choices impact my quality of life, and if the science is correct, its duration too.

Which brings me to my thoughts about today – What choices will I make today that create the story I really want to tell about myself and to myself?

What kind of story do I want my life today to be?

A story of joy? A tale of woe?

Boldness untethered? Timidity quivering?

Living large? Playing small?

Signing out loud or silencing my voice?

What if, instead of just operating as if on auto-drive, you chose to get hyper-conscious of being here, right now, present and alive in this moment, writing your story as if it’s the greatest story you will ever have to tell about your life today?

What if?