Category Archives: Create Boldly

Fear beckons. I choose Love.

I scour the newsfeeds, as if my search will lead me to the thing I seek the most. Hope.

It isn’t there. At least, I can’t feel it beneath the fear that rises up to grip me.

I do not want to feel the fear and instead, turn to my studio, as if in immersing myself there, I will discover hope rising.

I still feel lost in my fear of the fear that stalks me.

I lose myself in a book, as if the words lining the page will somehow make sense of what is happening in the world around me.

I lose my place in the words I read again and again. My eyes blurring with fatigue and worry of fear’s tight grip.

I numb my senses in a Netflix series, as if the ongoing drama of fictitious characters will somehow help me find my place in all that is going on in the world around me.

I cannot stop what is going on in the world around me. I struggle to free myself from this place where fear threatens to drown me.

Holding my breath as if underwater, I fear I have nowhere to go.

I let go of fear. I take a breath. And then another. Life-giving oxygen fills my lungs. Fills my being. Fear diminishes. Courage rises.

I dive deep into myself, breathing into the beauty of this moment where the river flows endlessly towards a distant sea.

Above its steely grey surface, I watch a family of three walking with their dog across the bridge. The leash is held in their child’s hand, taut. The dog pulls. The child rushes to keep up. The dad rushes to help his child. There is fear in his quick steps. I cannot hear them but I can see the child’s laughter. The child’s joyful insistence that they keep hold of the leash. The dog pulls, urging the child to keep going. The child runs after the dog. Laughing. The parents join hands and follow.

I breathe in the joy of this tiny moment played out upon the bridge and feel the heaviness of my fear lighten up.

I watch two geese skim the surface of the river, honking loudly in their flight. Their wings expand and they fly up into the still chilly air of this April morning where spring hides high above in a clear blue sky. A cold front is passing slowly, ever so slowly, through. In the presence of the geese returning from southern lands, I am reminded, this too shall pass. Spring will blossom.

My heart lifts with the expansiveness of the geese taking flight and I feel life flow throughout my being present in their passing by. There is hope here. This too shall pass.

Held in still, soulful silence in the deepness of this present moment, I watch two squirrels chase each other up and down and all-around a tree trunk. They are fearless in their wild flight from tree limb to tree limb. My heart beats wildly. There is joy in their animal kingdom style game of tag.

I smile with them. My heart beats freely. Joy is here. Laughter. Fearlessness. Life.

I scoured the headlines searching for hope.

It wasn’t there.

It is here. Silently flowing all around me and deep within me. It flows like the river, carrying me always deeper into this present moment where the eternal beauty of life fills me up and I flow fearlessly in its embrace over the threshold of this moment, into the next.

And in each moment, I take a deep, life-giving breath and find myself lovingly held within the beauty of this moment right now.

This moment in which love flows freely.

I searched the headlines this morning looking for hope. I found only fear lurking between the black and white words and numbers blurred into incomprehensible statistics beneath my tears.

I wanted to give in to fear. I wanted to dive deep into hopelessness.

Instead, I chose to follow the thread of the river to where it leads me deep within to that sacred place where all I need to sustain my peace of mind in these days of turmoil and grief is that which is ever-constant, ever-flowing. Love.

I wanted to give in to fear this morning.

I choose Love.

 

 

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There ain’t no virtue in being a martyr

No. 59 #ShePersisted Series

When I was a little girl, I thought it was my job to make my mom happy.

I sucked at it.

Not understanding why she cried so much and why she sometimes threatened to take her own life in front of us children, I did everything I could to make her laugh, to (literally) take the knife out of her hand. Mostly I made her cry. I didn’t realize I was not responsible to lift the cloud of dark depression (which as a child I had no name for) that permeated her essence.

I wasn’t that powerful.

I tell you this because in times of extreme stress, and you gotta admit, this pandemic qualifies as that, those childhood messages can rear up and undermine our well-being, our sense of self, our way of being in the world, if we don’t get conscious of our own ‘stuff’.

We’ve got to take care of ourselves.

And part of good self-care is being conscious of the things we are doing, including the unconscious/buried/hidden internal messages our psyche’s are acting out on from our ‘lizard brains’, that do not serve us well in the here and now.

Like believing I could save my mom.

Over the years and circumstances of my life, that child’s thinking turned into an adult belief that it is my job to save the world. That there is something I need to be doing to raise civilization up, to stop the tears, the pain, the suffering. But, (and here’s the kicker) because I couldn’t do it as a child for my mom, I also have a darker side of that belief; the self-defeating, self-annihilating belief that, no matter what I do, it won’t matter. Because, and this is the child’s thinking infiltrating my adult mind which knows it isn’t true but struggles in times of stress to soothe the child’s cries of, “I don’t matter”. “Why bother?” “Whatever I do won’t make a difference anyway.”

Now, I have spent my adult life working on healing those childhood wounds and fears. As Virginia Slims ads used to say, “You’ve come a long way baby”.  But, just like the virtues of the cigarettes those ads used to extoll, in times of distress, we are all at risk of falling back to default positions in order to cope. For me, one of those defaults is the good old depressing, martyr’s role. Unfortunately, there’s no virtue in playing the martyr unless you want to be a saint.

Ha!  Did I mention that the meaning of ‘Louise’ is ‘Saviouress of the world”?  Actually, Louise means, ‘protectress of the people’, so close, right?

I think I may have taken myself and the meaning of my name a tad too seriously. But hey! You can call me Saint Louise if you like.

Don’t get me wrong, I am laughing at myself this morning, looking at my hubris and throwing my hands up in the air as I exclaim, “Oh my look at me being so human! How fascinating!”

The fact is, I am sharing this because understanding where my shadow self is at play, keeps me grounded in the truth. I am not powerful enough to save the world. I am powerful enough to change my world. To create light and beauty in my world, to share my gifts with a generous heart and to create ripples of better all around me.

To do that, I must take care of myself so that I can then give back to others from a place of compassion, generosity and Love.

I know, deep within me, that I am not here to save the world. I am here to save myself from my thinking I am here to save the world. (That one made me smile so I’m leaving it as is).

So, here’s the deal. I tell you all this because I have been feeling the weight of this crisis, wanting to do more, feeling powerless, helpless, useless. I have been struggling to find my way through the dark, alone.

I am not alone. We are all in this together. We are all connected. This is all our one world, one planet, one humanity.

It’s just sometimes, when I’m not taking good care of myself by loving myself through the darkness, I can get trapped in believing I’m all alone. I don’t matter. I can never do enough.

I know that when I’m willing to embrace my truth with compassion and love, be it my light shining or a dark shadow looming, I am free of my childhood driven fear that I will never matter. I will never make a difference. I have no worth.

We all matter. We all make a difference. We all have worth.

And here’s the deal.  Remember at the beginning of this (long) post, I said in the context of saving my mother, “I wasn’t that powerful”?

Well, when we take care of ourselves, when we heed the voices rising up out of the dark past and lovingly embrace their fears, their angst, their belief there’s nothing we can do, we are taking really good care of ourselves. Because, in acknowledging their presence, they feel safe enough to return to the past and we become free to be here in the present, in all our light, beauty, and love.

And in that place, we are powerful enough to live from our magnificence, so that together we can create a better world for everyone.

Namaste.

(And yup. She’s a long one this morning. I thank you for reading through to the end. I thank you for shining your light on my path. I thank you for being you.)

 

 

Let Love Lead

It is early morning. I cannot sleep.

I wander into the living room. Turn on my desk lamp. Light the candle  I light every morning.

Beaumont, the Sheepadoodle, raises his head from where he is asleep on the chaise beside my desk. I give him a pat. He lowers his head and closes his eyes.

I leave my desk where it sits in front of the window looking out over the river. I walk around the island, into the kitchen area. Turn on the cappuccino machine. Fill the receptacle with water.

I pull out the coffee grinder from the drawer beneath the window at the far end of the kitchen. It looks out onto our front doorstep. It is dark out there. No view of a streetlight shimmering on the river’s surface. No flash of a car’s lights crossing the bridge.

I pull out the jar of coffee beans. The grinder. I place them on the counter, measure out the beans and press down on the lid. The noise of the grinder startles Beau. He lifts his head. He watches me. Slowly rises off the chaise. Stretches and comes to stand beside me in the kitchen. I scratch behind one of his ears. He leans against my leg.

I ask if he wants to go out. He cocks his head to one side.

I move to the front door. Gather his leash which lays on top of the wicker basket that holds his towel, ball, and other doggy paraphernalia.

I throw a coat on over my pyjamas. Exchange my slippers for slip-on boots and head outside.

Beaumont hesitates for a moment on the top step. He stretches his head towards the river. Listening.

I listen with him.

In the quiet, I hear the river flowing, its gurgling sounds a welcome whisper in the dark.

On a strip of gravel that I cannot see but know lies in the river’s path, geese honk in the pre-dawn dark.

I wonder if they can find their way when there is no light.

We move off the stairs towards the road at the end of the walk. I stand in the crisp, cool air of morning not yet broken. Beau sniffs and snuffles in the frost-covered grass.

Morning has not yet awoken. Darkness rests easy in my corner of the world.

I have not read the news today. Have not yet scrolled through interminable accounts of the rising number of cases and deaths, of losses and grief. Of what’s happening where. Of measures taken. Steps missed. Decisions made. Changes unfolding.

I have not yet opened myself up to the tug of despair. The tears I am afraid to unleash for fear they will not stop. The wish I could do more, do anything to stop the infiltration of this virus infecting the world. To do something to ease the fear and panic. To soothe a troubled soul.

I breathe.

I am not ready to face the day filled with facts and stories of a virus taking the world hostage. There will be time enough for reality to rise up and stun me with the shrill cry of its presence.

For now, I breathe into the gentle awakening of dawn’s light pushing back against the dark.

In the stillness of the morning, I stretch my arms above my head and welcome in the light creeping into the night.

We are billions of little rowboats struggling to find our way, together, through these uncharted waters.

We are billions of voices and stories, eyes and hands, hearts and feet pounding a path to a better tomorrow. Together.

May we all find the courage to row as One.

And I dip my oar into the waters and begin to row.

And the waters part and I find myself moving with the water’s flow as the sun breaks across the distant horizon.

Light pushes back the dark and turns the sky rose and gold and blue.

I dip my oar into the river and am reminded that it is love that connects us. Love that supports us. Love that leads the way.

Let us row together. Let us Let Love Lead.

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Thank you Miriam of My Window for the inspiration for Let Love Lead.  (Sometimes, the words flow first. Sometimes, the painting.)

At all times, Love Flows.  Love leads.

Painting will follow. ❤

#CreateBoldly – An invitation

 

In The Memory of a Tree
11 x 14″ on acrylic paper
Mixed Media

I know. I know.  Two posts in one morning!

This one is actually from my SM feeds yesterday. I wanted to post it here as an invitation to you to join in too!

Create Boldly. 
#
CreateBoldly

Create Boldly is a creativity challenge I’m leading to keep myself, and anyone who cares to join me, grounded in gratitude, generosity and grace as we move through these unprecedented times. If life comes without a script, living through a coronavirus pandemic comes without a guidebook.
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Create Boldly is an invitation to stretch yourself and your creative muscles and write your own guidebook on what it means to be alive at this time, right now.

If you don’t have a creative practice, it’s an opportunity to stretch completely outside your comfort zone, or, if you already do have one, to stretch your practice in unexpected ways.

How It Works

Every 2 or 3 days (I’m going with unscripted here), I’ll offer up a prompt via a theme — and you get to do the rest.

Today’s theme is: The Memory of Trees.

 

The Invitation:

Create your own poem, prose, haiku, story (as long/as short as you wish) based on the prompt, and paint, draw, use your computer or use paints, pencils, crayons…, and create a visual reflection on your poem/prose/story. Or you can just write something or paint/draw/sew/embroider/quilt something — remember, it’s unscripted.

There’s no right nor wrong way to participate. There is only the invitation to step into this space with me and explore what can happen when you let yourself Create Boldly.

All you need to do to participate is decide to do it and share your offerings here, on your FB or Instagram page and tag me (mlouiseg88) and use the hashtag — #CreateBoldly

That’s it.

An invitation.
An empty space.
An opportunity.

I hope to see you here in days yet to pass.

My interpretation of the prompt is a poem and a painting. I’m not sure which inspired which or which came first, the prompt, the poem or the painting…

In The Memory of a Tree
©2020 Louise Gallagher

In the memory of a tree
its roots are deeply planted
in the soil, grounded
in earth’s eternal journey
spinning around the sun.

In the memory of a tree
the seasons change,
time passes
like a river.
Nothing stays the same.

In the memory of a tree
spring bids farewell
to winter
and summer turns
to fall.
Everything changes.