Category Archives: Essential Journey

Are you willing to give up control to have what you want in life?

Early morning. Lying in my bed. Comfy. Warm. Cozy.

I listen to the sounds of the house. The gentle breathing of my beloved. Beaumont snuffling in his sleep where he lies on the floor at the side of the bed. The hum of the furnace. The faint, distant thrum of a train rolling westward out of the city. The air feels fluid, soft.

I feel enveloped in a womblike glow of peace, calm, graciousness.

Morning has not yet broken. The day is slow in its awakening.

Sitting at my desk.

Music plays softly in the background. Piano. C, Eb, G, Bb. My desk light casts a warm glow on my fingers. Lights of cars travelling across the bridge sparkle in the early light. The surface of the river shimmers in the light shining on the pathway under the bridge.

Yesterday, there was an ice island forming at the base of the middle abutment. In the warmth of yesterday’s temperature, the ice has disappeared. The river flows freely, moving in harmony with nature’s grace.

Life is like the river. We flow gracefully, effortlessly in its never-ending harmony and then, something happens. A hurt. A loss. A sadness.

We stiffen up. Freeze. And ice begins to clog the flow. Sometimes, in our pain, we isolate. Stand still. Run faster. Resist. Push back against life’s constant flow.

Sometimes, we’ll do it all repeatedly, trying anything everything we can think of in a desperate attempt to stop whatever pain is damning up the flow.

Slowly, like ice forming on the river as winter approaches, we begin to move more labouriously, our hearts become heavy. Our limbs stiffen. Our minds circle again and again, like water in an eddy, around and around we swirl, trying to dislodge whatever is holding us in place, pulling us down. We struggle to control life, forgetting life is not to be controlled. It must be experienced.

And then, spring arrives and we begin to feel the first promising breaths of hope teasing our aching hearts and limbs into motion. Frightened it will not last, we cling a bit more to whatever pattern we’ve developed to keep ourselves safe from feeling the pain of hurts, loss, sadness.

The river flows freely this morning. Moving with the grace of nature. It will freeze again before winter is done, and always, it will thaw in nature’s continuous flowing of the seasons.

My heart is light this morning. Flowing freely in the beauty of nature awakening to the day.

There will be hurts to come (there always are), losses, sadness to experience. And always, when I immerse myself in the flow of life, when I release my resistance, my belief I can control life’s happenings, I am free to flow effortlessly and with grace in life’s unending river dancing in the light of each new day.

Are you willing to release the need to control life and be with the flow?

Let’s flow together!

Namaste.

Trees Fall Down And Nobody Yells At Them.

I didn’t do it.

No excuses. No reason why not (well actually I have a lot of those but you don’t really want to hear them).  The fact is, I did not reach the 50,000 word target of the NaMoWriNo.

And I’m okay.

When the time is right the writing will be written, I shall continue on.

At this moment in time, I am having way too much fun in my studio, creating a new platform on my website for creative offerings and developing courseware that expresses my life focus of being a Creativity Activist. Oh. And I’ve got Christmas gifts to craft for this year.

If I were really committed to the writing, it would happen. And it’s just not happening write now.

Isn’t that the way of life? We think about the things we’d like to do, and then don’t get to them. Sometimes it’s a conscious decision not to. Sometimes, it’s procrastination. Sometimes, competing priorities or different ones take centre stage. And then, there’s just the good ole’ filling time with other busyness.

Whatever the reason, not doing it is information that can create light in our life or heavy spaces.

In the past, in not reaching a target I might have wasted time chastising myself, beating myself up for what I deemed ‘falling down’. It never really helped. What it did do was create that heaviness of being that nullifies and defies my peace of mind.

Enough is enough.

I don’t need to chastise myself. I have to either get on with completing whatever it was I was doing, or, decide to be okay with not doing it.

In the ‘being okay with not doing’ I can choose to create space for self-compassion and self-acceptance.

I didn’t reach the NaMoWriNo word target.

I did sign-up. I did complete my outline and chapter synopses. I did a bunch of research on an area of the novel that I need to understand to write about it. I did start writing. And that’s a big deal. Those are positive steps.

Time to celebrate the steps taken.

Time to acknowledge I’m exactly where I am. Life is exactly what it is in this moment right now.

And then… it’s back to the studio I go to play and create.

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I’ve been creating more Christmas balls with clear glass balls and alcohol ink and glitter. I do love sparkly things!  Did I mention how much fun I’m having?

 

Dance child, dance.

Perhaps it is the soft glow of the candle burning on the desk beside me as I type.

Or, perhaps the steady stream of lights passing over the bridge, east to west, towards the busyness of the downtown core.

Or maybe the light from under the bridge dancing on the waters of the river flowing inexorably to some far and distant unseen sea.

Or maybe, it is simply the mystical, magical nature of morning.

I awoke this morning, and as happens most days when I sit down to write, I am unaware of the words that will appear, until they appear. My eyes peering into the soft morning glow of dawn easing its way across the sky, I watch the traffic flow, the river dance in the light, the trees stand silent in the lightening dark, and I breathe.

And with each breath, I sink into this moment becoming each moment passing by in one gentle, soothing continuous stream. Time fades away and life flows effortlessly into the gap creating a beautiful song of awakening.

I awoke to poetry this morning. To the dance of words calling me to let go and fall daringly into the mystical grace of nature dancing in wild beauty all around me.

“Dance child, dance,” the music of morning exhorts. And so, I let go and dance.

I hope you join me.

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About the title:  Each week, David Kanigan of Live & Learn shares a post titled “Lightly child, lightly,” in homage to Aldous Huxley’s words from his last novel, Island,

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling…”

“Lightly child, lightly”. I love that phrase and co-opted it this morning in the gentle hues of dawn and memory and nature’s beauty awakening to the light.

About the photo:  Every day Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I walk to the off-leash park just around the bend, under the bridge along the river’s edge and wander its woods and trails. Every day, if I remember to take my phone, I take a photo of something that entrances me in the nature of our walk. This photo is what delighted my senses yesterday.

In the language of the heart

In the language of the heart, there is only room for love to be expression. In the expression of Love, there is only Love.

At the heart of each of us is the divine impulse to express our magnificence in our own unique ways.

It’s just, for many of us, suppression of the magnificence of our self-expression has been a life-long learned practice that began in childhood. So accustomed to its presence, as adults, we do not question its validity, and live unconsciously within the confines of its limiting beliefs.

In the throes of creating examples and inspiration for my November 19 art journalling workshop at Kensington Arts, I am continually in awe of how the muse loves to dance out loud, wild and free in her expression.

Art journalling isn’t about ‘making art’. It’s all about that sometimes silent, sometimes unknown/never-before-experienced inner drive to wondrously, and sometimes what feels like miraculously, give form to our self-expression.

There are no rules. No rights nor wrongs. There is only your own unique self-expression.

For the course, I am building an art journal book from a Hilroy Scribbler — it is an inexpensive way to create an art journal to create in.

Albeit not my favourite kind of journal to use, the experience of working with it is almost magical. It demands I let go of my own preconceived notions of what each page will look like.  – It’s impossible to pre-determine anything as every page spread is actually made up of three journal pages glued and taped together — which creates magical little lumps and bumps in the pages that become, of their own volition, part of the finished piece.

Which makes Lesson #1:  Let go of expectations.

Lesson #2 is a little more challenging for me. Be willing to go through the chaos without forcing your way back to calmness.

Midway through creating the page spread above, it looked very different.

And then, I added a couple of elements. I overworked the piece and chaos happened.

My initial desire was to admit defeat, tear the pages out and start again.

I had to allow myself to stay present in the wonderment of creating and ‘go with the flow’. As in, pour some paint on the top of the page, spray some water, lift the page up and let the paint flow down and be surprised and inspired by whatever happens next.

The process, when I let go of expectation and my desire to control the outcome,  is…

Mysterious. Magical. Expansive. Soul-enlivening. Sense-defying. Joyful.

It is these qualities I am striving to inspire in those who attend my workshop, as well as in all my creative expressions.

That feeling that it’s okay to give up control, to not know the answer, to not have to do it ‘perfect’.

Let’s face it, life isn’t a well-laid out map of perfectly aligned steps built on the premise that ‘this will happen next if I do this now’.  Each step creates an unknown ripple effect that cannot be discerned, nor even predicted, until the step is experienced, felt, known.

Life is a magical adventure. An exciting journey of trusting in the wisdom of our hearts, engaging with our whole bodies in the ordinary grace of being present in this moment, right now, embodied, here, expansive and alive.

Art journalling invites us to get out of our heads. It is an invitation to learn the language of our hearts and opens us up to enter the rarified and beautiful air of the present moment where we are free to experience our lives in the wonderment and beauty of divine self-expression.

And it’s a great way to have fun!

Namaste.

Give Thanks. Everyday.

 

Thanksgiving has come and passed. The turkey, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce have been consumed. The table is cleared. The extra chairs put away and the table once again collapsed to everyday size.

The accoutrements of the festival have been put away for another year.

What doesn’t get put away is gratitude.

Gratitude is an everyday affair.

This morning, as I sit at my desk and watch the river flow past and the lights of cars travelling east to west towards downtown cross the bridge, I say a quiet prayer of thankfulness.

For the time spent with family and friends. The laughter and memories.
For the quiet of this morning.
My mug of warm coffee.
The music of Hildegard von Bingen playing softly in the background.
The lights from under the bridge dancing on the water as it flows past.
The wind rustling the leaves on the branches of the trees outside my window.
The gentle swaying of the branches.
The gift of Autumn leaves falling. As each leaf falls the branches become barer and the river becomes more visible.

I give thanks for my fingers’ capacity to sense the words forming within me and play them out on my keyboard so they appear on my screen.
For my body’s ability to sit upright in my chair.
My breath.
My body.
My life.

I give thanks for the sound of Beaumont the Sheepadoodle’s paws as he crosses the hardwood floor to come and sit beside me and nudge my elbow so I will give him a pet.
For the night becoming light as the sun rises behind me in the eastern sky.
For the candle burning on the desk beside me casting a beautiful golden halo of light.
For the talent of the potter who crafted my heart adorned mug that holds my coffee so beautifully and warms my hands when I hold it and makes my heart smile when I look at it.

I give thanks.
Everyday.

And as I stop and look outside, the wind picks up and it is raining golden leaves fluttering down to the ground.
I give thanks for the seasons that turn with such beautiful grace reminding me always of the sacredness and mystery of life.

I give thanks.
Everyday.

Namaste.

Radical Wholeness

The view from my room.

I left the house at 7:30am and by 7:50 was seriously considering turning back.

Snow covered the highway. There was low visibility in many areas. The driving was slow – except for the semis who seemed to be impervious to the winter driving conditions that blew in with the storm over-night.

I kept going, slowly. But I kept going.

I’m grateful I did. Travelling 30km below the speed limit felt safe, or at least as safe as I could feel in snowy, sometimes foggy conditions.

At least the wind wasn’t blowing and the highway was visible, especially if I kept behind another vehicle and could see its taillights.

An hour and 40 minutes later I arrived in Banff. At 10, the Radical Wholeness workshop with Philip Shepherd began and I was immersed in the science, exquisite mystery and beautiful practice of breathing with my whole body. It was a day to ground myself in the stillness within and to deepen my understanding of what it means to integrate energy and be accepting of what is.

What a blessing. What a gift.

I am always in awe of how learning something new can open me up to awareness of old patterns that do not serve me well. Today did not disappoint.

In Philip’s teaching of Radical Wholeness we are invited to breathe into the body and to be present to all life energy from the ‘Brain in the Belly’ versus our cultural bias to believe the brain in the head has all the answers and always knows best.

The Brain Belly yearns for felt relationships while the Head Brain knows relationships and measures all things against what it knows. Learning to move from the head into listening and being present from the belly is both art and science (and for me a whole lot of mystical experiences that opened me up to deep and refreshing presence.

It is powerful. Refreshing and so very calming.

I’m spending two days in Banff connecting to my body. It is a journey to live fully alive.

Feeling blessed.

Feeling grateful.

Feeling calm.

Surrender to Love

Surrender to Love
Mixed media on canvas paper
11 x 14″
©2019 Louise Gallagher

The snow came. The snow left. Autumn returns, its trees a little barer, its splendor a little less vibrant. Snow riddled clouds have disappeared, the days are warmer again and winter has retreat beyond the distant horizon.

I feel content.

We had guests this week. Delightful visitors from eastern Canada where summer weather has descended the land, pushing even autumn’s hues off the calendar. For now.

And that’s the thing. Weather comes. Weather goes.

The seasons keep changing with the turning of the earth as it spins its story around the sun.

I feel joyful.

My beloved fights a cough. I am determined not to catch it. I pound back Vitamin C and other holistic remedies in an attempt to thwart off any germs that want to take hold. Thus far, I’m winning.

And that’s the thing. Germs come. Germs go.

The seasons keep changing with the turning of the earth as it spins its story around the sun.

And I feel grateful.

I sit at my desk in the soft morning light watching the sun gently kiss the sky good morning with its rosy pink hues. Cars travel across the bridge towards the city center. The river flows constantly eastward. A squirrel leaps from one tree branch to the next, hop-scotching through the forest lining the river. I watch his passage, delighting in his journey.

A leaf surrenders its hold and falls silently to the still green grass below. Piano music plays softly in the background.

And I feel at peace.

The seasons keep changing with the turning of the earth as it spins its story around the sun.

A new day is dawning. Filled with sights, smells, sounds and delights.

And I surrender to its possibilities.  I surrender to Love.