Category Archives: Essential Journey
Unmoveable by Louise Gallagher Still I sit unmoved by the earth orbiting through time passing where I sit still unmoveable in my desire to hold on to all I believe I am when I sit still. Opening my eyes see I must let go of sitting still to release my hold on being, unmoveable.
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.
As I slipped into meditation this morning, a mist was floating along the surface of the river. When I opened my eyes 20 minutes later, the mist was gone, the sun shone bright. Shadows of naked tree trunks slid across the ice towards the west.
I smiled. How appropriate.
The question I had asked before meditating was, “What is here? Will you show yourself to me?”
I was not disappointed.
I am deeply engaged in a course on Radical Intimacy. Much of the time in this course is spent feeling from the womb, being within and of deep feminine wisdom.
This morning, I ‘saw’ a rootball, like one of the ones I hold in my hands when I am planting new spring flowers just bought from the nursery. Gently, I remove the plant from the pot, release its root ball and lovingly place it in the earth.
And that’s what I did with my feminine ‘rootball’ this morning. I gently began the process of untangling my roots.
I am unearthing my divine feminine essence that lives always within the womb of our humanity.
I’m growing. Deepening. Becoming, more and more, the essence of me. It is a lifelong journey, this becoming. A journey I dive into, retreat from, engage with again, retreat from again, in a lifelong dance of engage/retreat/enact – engage/retreat/inact…
I am smiling.
Sometimes the retreat is long. Sometimes, I am like the mist that floated along the river this morning. I follow the river’s course. I get lost in the confusion, uncertainty, despair of the times, and must allow the sun to disperse the mist hiding me from my truth — I am always becoming. Whether in engagement, retreat, acting out or taking action. I am always becoming.
I like this journey!
Dancing Wild at Heart
Over at Gratitude Mojo today, doyen, Joyce Whycoff, shares a series of questions to promote introspection and writing.
I almost felt my mind getting lost in the pure glee of skipping amidst the questions, flinging its metaphoric arms wide-open to the possibilities each question represents.
Some of the questions are posed by authors such as John O’Donoghue, Byron Katie, James Cleer, others by Joyce herself.
All of them spark the light of wonder and awe of our human condition.
My skipping mind wants to answer every question right now.
And then, I remember Rilke’s advice to ‘live the questions.’
So, to safeguard myself from diving headfirst into mayhem, I have decided to pose one question a day from Joyce’s list for me to explore – either here on my blog, or in my journal. To ‘live the question’ within by writing my heart out.
The question I’ve chosen today, which I will explore in my journal more completely, is from Gabrielle Roth. Her question immediately jumped out at me as I have held onto her book, “Dance of Ecstasy” for many, many years. Gabrielle Roth’s ‘5Rhythms‘ movement/meditation practice was part of my practice for many, many years. In the 90s I took a facilitators course and lead workshops, attended a weekly session with others and lost myself in ‘the dance of life’ finding me where ever I was on the floor, in the room, within and without. Occasionally, I still engage with it.
And that’s where my exploration of her question begins with the first sentence in her quote from Joyce’s list.
When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?” — Gabrielle Roth
As I am off early tomorrow morning to spend blissful time with my daughter and her family (and a whole lot of dancing with my grandchildren!), I shall mostly be writing in my journal.
But, my intent is to live that question deeply. To explore what stands in front of me, and behind me, holding me back from dancing with the thrum of heart calling me to let go and just BE. Wild. Free. Untethered. Unfettered. WILD at HEART. ME.
I do hope you go explore Joyce’s question list. Perhaps I’ll see you on the page sharing your thoughts too! That would be so sublime.
The stories we let go of.
When I worked in an adult homeless shelter I heard many people’s stories. It was almost a ritual for staff. Whenever someone was talking about ‘their story’ of how they ended up at the shelter, the staff member would bring the client to my office door and ask, “Do you have a few minutes to listen to this woman/man’s story?”
I always had time for their stories.
They were, in many cases, all they had left of their past. All they carried with them. All they had to hold onto to remind them of who they were before…
…Before their husband took off leaving them with 3 small children, no money, no job, no prospects. For a while, they managed to keep it together. Eventually, the burden, the constant struggle to make a few dollars stretch to cover all the days of the month would take their toll. One drink became another and another until, the children were taken away and they were left, alone. Broken. Searching for release from the pain and turmoil that had become their life.
…Before the car accident that stole their wife and child leaving them unable to comprehend the sheer horror of what happened.
…Before the divorce. The fall from a roof. The fight. The breakdown. The big mistake…
People arrived at the shelter with their stories tightly gripped in memory banks and hands. Stories of how… life used to be.
…We were happy. I loved her. I always wanted to go to college. I had a career. I only wanted to be a good dad. I built things. I was well-respected. I made people laugh. I liked to sing. I painted. I wrote. I took care of people…
They would share their stories and I would listen deeply.
To the pain. The sadness. Sorrow. Regret. Confusion. Disbelief. Anger…
They would share their stories and I would hear the yearning for ‘the way things used to be’.
And when they were done, I’d tell them how sorry I was for what happened. How they must feel lost and alone. So sad.
Yet, no matter how they felt, one fact remained the same. None of us are powerful enough to change the past.
We can only look to today to find the path to tomorrow.
Sometimes I’d ask, “Are you able to let go?”
And they would inevitably reply. ‘Of course,’
Don’t we all believe that? Don’t we all believe we can change, leave the one we love who’s hurting us. give up smoking. find a job. go back to school. get sober. lose weight. change directions.
If only it were so easy.
We all have stories we tell on ourselves.
And when those stories are the only thing we have to hold onto, letting them go can feel like we are losing ourselves. It can feel so scary and overwhelmingly huge we hold onto them as if our lives depend upon their presence to keep us grounded on this earth.
We all have stories we tell on ourselves that hold us down.
Stories that begin with, I can’t. I don’t know how. I’ve never. It’s too late…
Are you willing to let go?
The questions we ask ourselves.
Monday morning. An uncharted day.
My afternoon was to have been busy – but I made a mistake in dates and now, it’s wide open.
How will I fill it? Or is it, spend it? Or use it up? How shall I pass the time?
Perhaps rather than any of the above, I need to see my time as a time to live wild and free. Bold and fierce.
Maybe, rather than asking myself, ‘How shall I pass the time?’, I invite myself into the day with the question, “How shall I live these hours fully-heartedly in love with my life today?”
And then, as Rilke invites, ‘to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.‘ so that I can ‘live the questions now.’
Ah… to live the questions as if they are a book written in a very foreign language.
Memory stirs. Athens. My then-husband driving. I am navigating. I know where we want to get to but am totally lost. My map is in English. The roadsigns in Cyrillic. Which I can’t read.
I try to decipher them. Quickly. I am losing ground as he tries desperately to stay with the traffic which is a cacophony of blaring horns and angry voices of drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and donkey cart drivers all vying for the same piece of road.
My driver is frustrated. Getting angrier by the minute.
I try to decipher the signs faster and faster as the temperature goes up in the car with the ferocity of a Chinook wind blowing in off the Rockies.
I am not succeeding.
Suddenly, I fold up the map and declare, “Let’s get lost.”
He laughs (sort of). “We are lost!”
Right. We are.
Then… let’s stay lost. Rather than seeking the pre-determined destination, let’s see where the road leads us. Let’s be open to the adventure!
I’d like to say that’s what we did but, if memory serves me well, we chose the safer route. (My idea of adventure and his were not the same.) We found a tourist office and acquired concise directions to take us to the inn we had booked for our week in Athens.
But what if… what if we’d stayed on the lost path? What if we’d chosen to keep travelling into the unknown.
Today, it isn’t the what if’s about the past that makes the difference. It’s the lessons learned, the growth experienced, the memories made of the journies taken.
I have never forgotten that drive through Athens. It was the genesis of my journey into letting go of my need to know every step of the journey before it began and my desire to stay rigidly attached to the outcome. It was the beginning of learning to trust in the process rather than the plan.pic
You Are Not A Mistake
Transitions can be frightening and necessary. We can’t see the road ahead. We don’t know what will happen. We feel unsafe in unknown territory.
And…we worry that to step forward into the unknown means leaving the past behind. Including the anger, the loss, and the pain that fuels us.
Somewhere, in a book I have long forgotten the name of, I read that we must look to nature for inspiration. The author wrote of how the beauty of fall is followed by the death of every leaf. The leaf lets go because it knows it’s time to move on. It is not striving for something else. It is not angry with the tree for letting it down. It isn’t about being perfect, it’s about the willingness to acknowledge its journey was perfect.
For humans, that perfect journey includes acknowledging our human imperfections, making amends where our imperfect behaviours have caused harm (where possible) and forgiving others so that we can transform our hearts and lives throughout our journey as change is as inevitable as the sun’s rising every morning.
To let go of what was and to allow what is unfurling to unfurl, we must forgive what was, what was, what wasn’t, and what did hurt us, and caused us angst, or pain.
And in that forgiveness is the gift of more. More peace. More gratitude. More possibility. More grace.
It isn’t that forgiveness negates justice or the need for justice. It is that forgiveness sets the forgiver free — and possibly the forgiven too. It is that forgiveness opens our hearts to possibility. Renewal. Hope. Peace. Love and Joy.
Forgiveness makes me whole. Because no matter what justice I deem necessary, or the law determines right, there is and always will be room for Divine mercy.
Mercy is the right of the God, the Divine, the Universe, the unknown and forgiveness is the deepest mystery of all.
A mystery is not something that cannot be solved or to be frightened of. Mystery is something I do not understand enough. And in the quest to understand the mystery of forgiveness, I am strengthened in my quest for inner freedom through learning what it means to forgive.
Those words in a book I cannot remember, continue to resonate as I explore what it means to be human on this journey of my lifetime.
A human being who makes mistakes and is never a mistake.
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?
One Word. One Sun. One Moon.
The New Year is four sleeps old.
I have been waiting for ‘my one word’ to appear since before the calendar turned over.
This morning, in the stillness that comes before dawn, in the quiet of the dark holding onto the sky, it slipped in as gracefully as the river flowing past.
My One Word is FIERCENESS.
It is a scary word to me. To embody fierceness I must be not only fearless but strong and supple, committed and convicted of my path.
Fierceness reminds me that it is never too late to choose harmony, not discord. Peace, not war. It’s never too late to have a change of heart. Never too late to forgive. Never too late to let go.
And never too soon to choose Love.
To embody fierceness I must live within the moment allowing love to embrace my fears, whatever they may be.
My one word, “Fierceness” embodies the invitation to let go of fearfulness and stand strong of back, soft of heart, in Love with all humankind, all beings on this planet, sentient and insentient.
Fierceness calls for me to walk as one with this one whole world
Do you have One Word for 2023?
Please feel free to share it in the comments section below. Perhaps your word will inspire someone to hear theirs.
Don’t Think. Just Do.
On December 28 I made a commitment to write in my journal every day. Whether one word or a page, I will write with a pen whatever is on my mind.
Last night, after spending the day disrobing the Christmas tree, putting away the season’s finery, and putting the house back in order, followed by an evening binge-watch of a series on my laptop, I realized I had not yet written in my journal.
“It’s too late to do it now,” the critter whispered in my ear. “Save it for tomorrow.”
My commitment to myself saved me.
The inner loving voice of wisdom whispered, “Write this… I deserve to believe in myself. To trust me. To honour my commitments to me. I deserve my self-respect.”
I wrote out the words 3 x — and went on to fill out the page with my thoughts.
It has been a long (long) time since I wrote consistently by hand in my journal. Reawakening the habit requires consistency – and commitment keeping.
Keeping commitments to myself creates a world of difference for me. It ignites feelings of self-respect and love. It creates a sense of honour, like I can depend upon myself to turn up for me.
In fact, I have been doodling away at a novel I began writing last year and haven’t gotten very far – mostly because of self-excuses that let me off the hook of turning up for me.
In my journal, I have drafted the outline for the book along with the first three chapters.
That is progress.
That is turning up for me.
What about you? What commitments to yourself have you not kept, or would like to keep but are putting off or avoiding altogether?
What are the stories you tell yourself about why you haven’t turned up in full living-colour within your own life?
If you have anything on your list, here’s my recommendation:
Don’t think about all the reasons why not. Just Do.
- Don’t buy into your own excuses. Just Do
- Stop thinking about why you don’t, or why you shouldn’t, or all the other why nots that clatter around your brain. Just Do.
- Stop beating yourself up for not doing — Just Do.
- And above all, love yourself by turning up for yourself in your hesitation, stalling, confusion, regrets, excuses — and Just Do.
Don’t think. Just Do.