Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


10 Comments

…but not under this sun.

Yesterday, Ana Daksina from Timeless Classics responded to my post with these beautiful words:

When you are travelling through darkness and cannot see; turn on the lights.

When we cover our light for fear we will outshine another, when we mock those who would shine brightly, we give way to the darkness and diminish the brilliance of our human essence.

When we choose to ignore the darkness, or let it rest in place, we walk in darkness too. No matter how hard we want to pretend there is no darkness, it is always present, always searching for ways to encompass the light just as the moon seeks the light of the sun.

May each of us find the courage to speak with loving hearts in the face of anger, may we all search for ways to create common ground that reflect the best of our humanity.

And in our hearts, may we all carry only love as we walk under the light of this sun together.

Namaste.

____________

Thank you Ana for your inspiration.

 


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Will you choose compassion?

I had an OpEd published in our local newspaper on the weekend. It was about homelessness and choice.

There were many voices of support. Of people applauding me for my words and insight.

I like feeling connected to people who agree with me. It’s immensely human and makes me feel good!

But what about those who wrote in to disagree? Who believe, even though I wrote that homelessness is not a choice, it’s a lack of choice, a lack of resilience, a lack of many things — that homelessness is a choice. That if people just got jobs and cleaned up, their lives would be all better.

In the face of their words, I don’t feel so connected.

Their words cause me despair.

Their view of the world causes me consternation.

In the face of their differing worldview there is a part of me that would really just like to call them names, tell them they’re wrong, tell them to ‘get a life’.

Yet, their views have as much right to be heard as mine. Their views are equally as important to the conversation as mine because in their words the truth of the world according to their view rings true.

What will I choose?

Will I choose to condemn and complain?

Or will I choose compassion.?

Will I listen to understand, not to judge?

Will I create space for common ground, rather than a battleground?

In those moments of dissent, finding compassion, acting with integrity, being present is vital.

Because if I lash back, if I choose to discount or ignore their voices, then I am creating a world where us versus them is the norm. Where my voice is the only voice that matters to me and they can damn well go… blah blah blah.

Bottomline, when I respond from a place of condemnation, I am contributing my worst, not my best.

To understand another’s point of view, to find common ground, we must stand with open mind and heart. We must listen deeply without judgement and be willing to be vulnerable.

To be vulnerable, we must choose compassion.

Namaste.


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Which do you choose today?

Life is in constant flow. Like the river outside my window, life doesn’t stop. When it meets an obstacle, it flows around it, under it, over it.

This morning, as I contemplate the beauty of green leaves spread out against a sapphire blue sky, I sit in the quiet of being present to the divine nature of the world around me and am reminded, once again, of the divine nature of my human essence.

We are all born magnificent. We are all miraculous beings of light and Love.

And then, life happens. In its happenings, we forget our divine nature and fall into the flow of believing we are flawed, broken, lost.

It isn’t until we wake up one day to the essential essence of our being human, in all our perfectly imperfect human imperfections that we realize we have spent so much of our life pushing against the river’s flow.

In that awareness, we have a choice. Keep struggling, or, Stop It.

In my life, there are places where I pushed against the flow, spaces where I let go and those where I simply let myself be carried within the divine grace of being alive, in this moment, right now.

We are all perfectly imperfect humans. We are all on this journey called ‘Life on Earth’ together.

We can push against one another, or, we can flow together.

Which do you choose today?

 


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What do you do when the there and then rises up in the here and now?

I am always fascinated by my triggers. Those places where I respond in the here and now only to discover I’m reacting at a level triggered by a distant past.

I hit one of those spots last night. It was fascinating.

I had stopped by the Sunterra Market near my office to pick up a few groceries. $121 worth or groceries including the beautiful bouquet of flowers I bought for myself.

At the checkout, realizing I didn’t have my shopping bag with me, I purchased one of Sunterra’s nice big bags, believing it would make it easier for the cashier to pack up my items and for me to carry them to my car a block away.

The cashier took the bag, lay it flat on the counter and then proceeded to scan each of my items and lay them on top of the bag.

I was confused.

Why wouldn’t she bag the items as she went along?

She finished scanning my order, I paid and then she proceeded to start scanning the next person’s order.

“Excuse me,” I asked. “Are you not going to bag my groceries?” I could feel the quiver in my voice as my umbrage rose. Sunterra is an upscale market. I like it because I don’t have to bag my own groceries. It always has great produce and it’s convenient. Was she expecting me to bag my groceries?

She looked at me as she bagged the groceries for the man who was behind me in line. “I will.”

By now, I recognize the vibration inside me. It is familiar. It is primordial. It is annoying.

It’s the one that makes me want to cry instead of speak up. That makes me want to stomp my feet in childish frustration and ask, ‘Do you see me?’

I tried to keep my voice calm. “Don’t you think you should bag my groceries before starting on the next person’s order?”

She looked at the two or three people standing in the checkout line behind me. They each had one, two, maximum four items in their hands.

She smiled.

“No. I want to clear the line-up first.”

By now I’m in full reactive mode.

“That’s fine. I’ll do it myself.” And I pull the bag out from under my groceries and start to pile my items into it.

She keeps checking out the people behind me. I keep putting the groceries into my bag.

When I’m finished, I grab my flowers, my bag of groceries and as I’m about to leave I turn to her and say, “I think this is really poor customer service.”

She looks at me surprised. Shrugs her shoulders and smiles at the person she’s helping.

Okay. I admit it. I do not do well when I feel dismissed and/or judged.

I huffed my way out of the store, and as I was leaving the man who appeared to be the Manager walked by me and smiled.

I did not smile back.

Now that’s a big thing for me. I think that’s rude.

I did it anyway.

As I reach the doors to the street, the argument inside my head was in full swing. “You should complain.” “Don’t be ridiculous.” “She’s just trying to do her job.” “Well she’s not that good at it.” “How will she learn?…”

Finally, I turn around, find the manager and tell him how unimpressed I was with her service. He looks surprised when I tell him she didn’t bag my groceries before starting on the next person’s and assures me he will speak with her.

I leave and as I drive home, I mull over my reactions to the situation.

What’s that all about? I ask myself. You sure have a lot of emotional energy around this. Care to dive in to find its source?

Now, along with the voice of wisdom that recognizes my response was not just to the situation but to the past, there is also the critter’s voice inside who wants to justify, rationalize and normalize my behaviour.

You had every right to be upset, the critter hisses. You are not being over-reactive. You deserve better treatment. It’s her problem. How dare she!…

From a customer service level, her actions could use some adjusting. That’s the manager’s job.

From my personal response level, my peace of mind, my equilibrium deserve my attention.

Later, as C.C. and I are enjoying dinner together, I tell him about my emotionally charged encounter. “I sure have some fascinating trigger points,” I tell him.

He laughs and agrees. “Yes you do.”

And I laugh with him.

“Yes I do,” I say. “Aren’t I fascinating!”

That encounter, whether she was giving me good customer service or not, shows me clearly some unhealed areas in my psyche. That wasn’t me, today, in the here and now, responding to her. In that moment, I was vibrating with the energy of a thousand tiny unhealed moments from long ago when as a child I felt unheard, unseen, undefended.

I breathe and remind myself what is real and true today. I am so loved and deserving of joy. I am safe now. I am safe.

Namaste.

 


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What is your accountability for not living your life on purpose?

It is an interesting question.

“What is my accountability for not living my life on purpose?”

Mary Davis, one of the facilitators of Choices Seminars asked it at a Choices Renewal session I attended yesterday afternoon.

“What is your accountability?”

Once you take away the excuses, your ‘buts’, your reasons why not, and are left with only the bare fact that whatever you just did or said did not take you closer to the more of what you want in your life, are you willing to get accountable?

Even answering that question takes a willingness to be 100% accountable. And for many of us, that’s a challenge.

It is so easy to blame others. To put the circumstances of our life today on another by laying blame at the feet of someone else like a supplicant laying a sacrificial lamb on the altar, praying for good fortune.

We don’t have to get accountable if we keep blaming another for our ill-fortune. We don’t have to take accountability for our mistakes if it’s never our fault.

And we definitely don’t have to be accountable with our words if we don’t hold our own voice as the perpetrator of the words that caused someone else pain.

Well it’s not my fault, you say. If they hadn’t said or done whatever they said or did, I wouldn’t be so angry.

One nice thing about not being accountable, you don’t have to change or do anything other than what you’ve always done to get to where you are today.

Yesterday, I got accountable.

One of the ‘Aha’ moments I had yesterday is that I am a ‘secret keeper’. No matter what is going on in my day, when I am distressed or chewing on an event and trying to think my way through it, I do not share what’s bothering me with my husband. I keep it secret.

Inevitably, the pressure inside will become so great it needs to be relieved.

And that’s when it will come out, misdirected.

He’ll do something I deem ‘fight-worthy’ and I’ll blow it up out of proportion.

This is my accountability factor.

I struggle to trust others. It has been a life-long journey for me to learn to trust, knowing I’ll be okay no matter what truth-telling I engage in.

Secrets for me are like lies. I’ll say, “I’m great,” when really, the secret is, I’m struggling.

I’ll smile, to keep secret the fact, tears are drowning my heart or that whatever you just did or said was not okay with me.

And I’ll laugh, when the secret is, I want to tell the truth about how I’m feeling but don’t trust enough to get real.

Over the course of my adulthood I have come a long way in ‘getting real’, but I still struggle to tell the truth about how I’m feeling inside about what is going on outside in my world.

My struggle does not serve me well.

Sure, keeping things tight inside means I don’t have to stretch beyond my comfort zone and ‘get real’. And that can feel like a relief when stretching causes the muscles of my heart to ache with fear at telling the truth of what’s going on for me!

But the relief is usually only momentary. And then the pressure builds again. Which means, I will inevitably want to find a way to blow things up when under pressure.

As I told my beloved last night after apologizing for my habit of keeping things secret, I commit to sharing instead of scaring you because I’m too scared to talk about what’s really going on.

In that way, I create more of what works in my life, more of what creates the kind of relationship/marriage that feeds my soul and holds me safe, loved, cherished.

What’s your accountability factor? Are you willing to live your life without blaming others for what’s going on?

Are you willing to get 100% accountable for, and in, your life?

 

 


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What do you do when life is too busy to take time to be present?

Do you struggle with the pace of life? The never-ending flow of moment to moment passing by, filled with lists of things to do, accomplish, finish?

I know I do.

Right now, after having moved into our new home March 12th, I am finally feeling at home in the main areas.

Furniture is where we want it. Some of the paintings are hung. New couch. New pillows. All in place. It feels like home.

Our bedroom is another story.

I have sorted out the boxes, created two big bags of give-away clothes. Moved the stack of paintings from one wall to the other. And there they rest.

Books are stacked in baskets on the floor. Clothes are hung in the closets but there is still that one box of clothes waiting to to be unpacked.

As I said to a friend at dinner last night, I no longer really see ‘the mess’. It’s normalized in my brain and I don’t feel compelled to do anything with it.

Yet.

Time to breathe into the moment, to create space for my attention to open up to the possibility of creating a beautiful living space in our bedroom so that I can commit to getting done what needs to be done.

Time to celebrate ridding our bedroom of disorder to create harmony and order in our lives.

Because that’s the thing about celebrating the sacredness of simple acts. Tidying up isn’t a grind. It’s a joyful expression of creating harmony.

Getting rid of unwanted bags of clothes isn’t a nuisance. It’s an opportunity to create space for a fresh start.

And, building bookcases and putting books where they belong isn’t a tiring job. It’s a delightful opportunity to spend time with ‘old friends’ remembering sacred passages and special stories.

I have been letting the busy of my life distract me from the sacred nature of everyday moments and simple acts of grace.

I have been giving into the chatter in my mind that would have me believe I’m too tried, overwhelmed, [insert word of choice] to celebrate taking time to do what needs to be done.

Time to make space for diving into the sacred moments of living this one, beautiful life immersed in the joy of creating value in every moment, no matter what I’m doing.

Time to let go of my excuses and awaken to my desire to create beauty all around me.


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Let me never forget to share my gifts (a poem of Love)

Photo by Kristen Wyman on Unsplash

Forgetting why
I’m here
I struggle
to make sense
of the sometimes inexplicable
nonsense
of the world
around me.

Remembering why
I’m here
I dance
in the light
of a full moon rising
sensing
the power
of the Love
that brought me here.

Let me never forget
the beauty of my coming
into this world
precious, unique, whole.

Let me never forget
I am born of Love
born to love
be loved
loving and lovable.

Let me never forget
to remember
the gifts I carried with me
into this world
swaddled in Love
designed to share.

Let me never forget
to share my gifts.

_____________________________

Photo by Kristen Wyman on Unsplash