Category Archives: Essential Journey

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.

Life Refuses Nobody

The mornings are darker now. The sun seemingly slower to rise.

Nothing has changed for the sun. It is the earth that has moved. And as it moves, all things change. Like the river flowing past. Constantly moving. Constantly changing. A never ending stream of life flowing to some far away sea that will not refuse it entry when the river reaches its open waters.

Like life. The ocean refuses no river. Life refuses nobody.

Including you and me, even though sometimes, we may resist its natural force, balk at its insistence we flow with it.

Life is constantly flowing.

I breathe and give into the flow.

I breathe and release my resistance to being one with the flow, one with life, with the river.

I breathe and fear takes hold. I stand, uncommitted to the flow, leaning deep into the depths of my ego’s desire to claim my separate nature from nature.

The river keeps flowing. I resist the flow.

“Yes. Yes. Yes.” The critter mind celebrates my resistance. “You are not One with some unseen Oneness. You are separate. Singular. Alone.”

I breathe and the voice of wisdom within whispers gently, “Breathe and let be. Breathe and let be. Just as the river is made up of many drops of water flowing as one, life is made of every soul journeying together on planet earth. Let the river carry you into that place where believing you are separate is not necessary.”

I breathe and invite my ego to give up its fight for separateness.

Be your fear and let courage draw you into the flow, the voice of wisdom within whispers to me. Be your courage and let the fear fall away.

I breathe into being and become the courage of my heart’s calling me to be one in this moment, right now.

I breathe. I become all that I am. In the moment. Alive. At peace. Free. I breathe and become all that I am when I let fear fall away and surrender and fall into Love.

And like the river flows past. This moment flows with it. Fleeting. Ethereal. Beautiful. Whole.

The universe refuses no life. And in that knowing is the truth — That sacred knowing that this life, this beauty, this brilliance, this moment is mine, and yours and each of ours to live as best we can, as best we allow, in Love.

Not separate. Not alone.

As One.

No matter how small, how big, how rusty or difficult, how tired or weary, how young or old, the universe refuses no life.

The ocean refuses no river.

The open heart refuses no Love. The open mind no knowing.

And life refuses no body, not me or you or him or her or them.

Life refuses no life.

In that acceptance, in that awareness is the knowing, deep and profound and healing. We are not alone. We are one with life flowing in the ocean of Love flowing all around.

DarkPath meanderings and other psychic journeys

For the past few mornings, this lovely fellow has been visiting me as I sit at my desk. I think he’s trying to tell me something!

I had a dream last night. Its memory is a bit garbled, and yes, when I awoke from it I did think about writing it down but fell back to sleep before the thought took hold.

I do remember thinking, I must remember this. It’s important. And, while I don’t remember the details, I do remember the substance. It was all about me and my DarkPath — the Dark Healer.

Several years ago I had my SolePath Energy Analysis done to help me understand, my “Sub-conscious self, and the reason why you behave the way you do.”  Or, as the website states, your best lifehack ever. (Where on earth did the phrase ‘lifehack’ come from?)

Yesterday, I read through the analysis again for the first time in a long time.

And that’s where the DarkPath dream stemmed from.

In a SolePath Analysis there are 3 Paths. The Joyful LightPath. The Progression LightPath and the Collapsing DarkPath.

I have been dancing with the DarkPath and forgetting to activate my LightPaths to get me back on track.

Yup. I’ve been playing in the darkside of my belief “I am not wanted here” for a few weeks now. My dream was to remind me to turn to the light. To allow my natural gifts to raise me up so that I can respond with grace, ease and love to everything and everyone in my life.

I know. I know. It sounds kind of whoo hoo fairy dusty, when in actuality, my SolePath Energy Analysis reads incredibly accurately to me. And, if it is a tool that can help me move with grace, ease and love, why wouldn’t I use it?

Here’s the thing.

There’s all sorts of things in this world we can learn to make life easier. We can learn how to read and write. How to ride a bike. To cook and clean. To build bridges, boats, rafts – all sorts of things to carry us across the waters.

What we don’t learn very much about is how to be the best version of our human essence on this journey called life.

We tend to leave that to ‘the fates’, to happenstance, to some future state of ‘maybe one day’.

While I believe we all share a desire to be our most magnificent selves, we aren’t provided many tools, nor support, to actually make it happen.

In our journey from childhood to adulthood, we don’t always learn the tools we need to swim with grace and ease, flowing with the waters of life instead of against them. In our desire to direct the waters so that we can get what we want in life, we flail about splashing our negativity, fear, confusion all about, get caught in the back-eddies, or caught up in the currents, and forget all about ‘going with the flow’ as we fight against the natural current our individual human uniqueness.

Understanding what motivates us, how we are the way we are, what works for us (or not), what inspires us, and how we can stay out of, or at least get out of, the fray of our sometimes human dysfunction is essential to living a grace-filled life of joy and wonder.

And the fact is, I have been a bit stuck in behaviours and monkey-mind self-talk that I am predisposed to revert to in times of stress and unease.

In simpler terms, my comfort zone. That place where I’m not all that comfortable but at least I know the lay of the land. Even when it doesn’t bring me more of what I truly want in my life, at least there are no surprises because, in my comfort zone, I can easily play the victim and feel vindicated in my position. because “I’m to blame for all the bad stuff going down and they’re all going to blame me anyway because it’s always all my fault”.

I know. Pretty yucky. Right?

Here’s what my SolePath energy analaysis says about the DarkHealer Path

Yup. that’s me.

And here’s the thing, my DarkPath is my place of enlightenment. My place where growth occurs because my DarkPath  reminds me to choose away from it to step into my LightPaths so that I truly can be of service to the world and live from within the power and beauty of the best version of myself.

I had a dream last night. It came to me from the darkness to remind me it’s not my job to fix everything/everyone and when I call upon the strengths of my LightPaths, I have the power and capacity to live in the light.

It’s my choice.

The dawning of a new day brings awareness. I choose the light.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

The Rainbow Chasers Guide to Changing the World through Loving Self-Talk

You can be hard on yourself or kind to yourself.

Either way, you’ll get things done.

The hard way will be harder. The kind way will be easier.

The hard way, or the easy. Which do you choose?

I know, it sounds so simple. Just be kind to yourself and it will all work out.

Being kind to ourselves isn’t all that easy when the habit of being hard on ourselves takes up most of our inner conversation.

Many years ago, I kept track of the number of times I gave myself negative self-talk versus positive. I carried around a little notebook and for one week I made a check mark in either the negative or positive column on the page.

It kind of made me want to cry to see how much the negative outweighed the positive.

It was definitely an eye, mind and heart opener.

I sure wouldn’t want to hang around me if I was constantly shedding negativity into the world.

Oh wait! I was. And I was holding it all inside me. Ugh.

Hanging around with myself wasn’t a choice. The choice was, what was I willing to do to make the experience of being with me more enjoyable?

Right.

Change my relationship with me.

I’m not saying it was an easy transition, moving from always talkin’ sh*ttalk to myself to being a voice of gentle loving-kindness. But it sure made a difference once I made the decision to stop the sh*ttalk and get with the “I’m okay. I’m human” talk.

For me, it meant ensuring the ‘Positive’ column in my notebook was filled with more check-marks than the negative side. My consciousness of that goal kept me aware of my inner talk. Every time I caught myself saying something negative to myself, I had to find one positive to match it. That way, at least the negativity didn’t grow into the longer column!

Eventually, I moved from one positive to two until, now, when I do say something negative to myself, like ‘how could you be so stupid?’ or, “Seriously? What were you thinking?” I quickly breathe in (deeply) and give myself grace. “It’s okay Louise. You made a mistake. Your job is to be accountable for your mistakes, not give yourself a life sentence of grief.”

See, sometimes, when I do make mistakes, like say something that hurts someone, or do something I’m not all that proud of, I want to revert back to that place where my mistakes are worthy of my being whipped, tarred and feathered. In those moments, I must surrender my need for punishing myself by making myself ‘not okay’ and call on grace to love me through it.

We are all ‘okay’. It’s our behaviour that can be optional. And when our behaviour gives evidence to our not being as okay as we’d like to be, then we work on our behaviour.

Changing behaviour isn’t about working on our essential goodness, our inherent human magnificence. Those are givens. They are universal in all humanity. Remember?  We are born magnificent and then… life interferes and gives us reasons to doubt our magnificence. Our job then becomes remembering what we forgot so long ago, we worry it no longer exists.

That’s our universal human journey. Returning to love and our inherent magnificence.

What’s not so universal and not such a given is that we treat ourselves, and each other, with dignity, respect, kindness, Love.

And that’s where the work is — in shifting our behaviours to be a reflection of the values that make this world a better place.

We can make it hard. Or do the easy.

The easy begins with talking nicely to ourselves so that our hearts are at ease, our minds calm and our spirits lifted up by our generosity of spirit.

From that place, well let’s just say, changing the world becomes a cakewalk! (Okay maybe not quite so Pollyanish but if we’re all talking nice to ourselves, we’ll be talking nice to everyone else too!)

See, the Rainbow Chasers Guide to Changing the World through Loving Self-Talk! Easy-peasy!