Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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3 Things to make the world a better place.

I have been contemplating 3things.

In particular, what are 3 things, of all the things I’ve learned in my life, I want to share most with my grandson?

It is not a simple process to discern these 3 things. I don’t want them to be about ‘doing’. They are about ‘being’. Present in this world. Aware. Conscious. Thoughtful.

This contemplation is a deep examination of my values. Of what is important to me to create value  in the world around me and an understanding of what I feel is my unique expression of Divine Grace in this world.

These 3 things are not like teaching him how to say the alphabet or count to 100. They are deeply personal, deeply impactful to the quality of my life and my being fully present to and within my life.

This morning in meditation, 3 things floated into my consciousness as gracefully as a leaf drifting down to rest upon the surface of the river on a warm autumn morning. I held them for a moment and like the leaf, let them drift quietly away as I sank deeper into the silence.

Yet, when I came back into awareness, there they were, 3 things I seek to carry with me as I journey through this world. 3 Things I seek to share with my grandson to add value to his world.

These three things are not shared through teaching, but through being who I am and how I am in this world. Somedays, I live from within my 3 things with grace and ease. Other days it’s a struggle. But always, when I let my 3 Things be my touchstone, my world is a better place for me and everyone I meet.

And that is what I want to share with him. The beauty and fragility of our human condition and our capacity to be forgiving, loving and compassionate with ourselves and everyone in our lives when we live from a heart-driven place where love, compassion and kindness are our guides..

My 3 things are unique to me. They are universal qualities. They mine come from that place deep within us where we rise above our impulses and ego-driven motives to hear our heart and soul calling us to be in Unity with the Divine Grace of life within and all around us.

My 3 Things bring my deepest desires into alignment with the desire of the Universe for me to know life in all its beauty, wonder and possibility. They free me to live at peace in that grace-filled space where I am One with divine love and compassion for myself and the people around me.

  1. Be kind.  In all things, all ways, be kind. Treat people and this earth gently. Tread lightly. Speak softly. Act respectfully. Do not let your thinking interfere with your being who you are. Do not let your anger pull you away from the path of kindness. Ask yourself, is this [whatever I’m about to do or say] kind? And let your heart answer.
  2. Listen to your heart. No matter what is happening in the world around you, your heart knows the answers. Listen deeply. Strive to keep your heart soft and your mind open. Let your heart inform your thinking. Let your heart lead the way. When angry or feeling hurt by the actions of others, when you feel frightened and alone, when you feel unsure and confused, ask your heart what it knows. Your heart will always tell you the truth. Listen deeply. Trust in Love. Trust in yourself. Believe in your heart.
  3. Live joyfully. It can be tempting to fall into the trap of thinking life is a serious business. That making a difference means focussing on what’s wrong in the world, not what’s right. There is a great deal going on in this big ole’ world that makes your heart beat faster, your eyes open in wonder and your thoughts take flights of fancy. Let the wonder of it all keep you seeking the path of joy. No matter what you’re doing, where you’re going or how you’re travelling, let joy be your constant companion.

I want my grandson to know that as we travel through the world, we can sometimes lose our way. To find ourselves again, all we need to do is come back to our hearts by living within the truth of our 3 Things.

We all have 3 Things, even more. For me today, 3 Things are what I need to travel lightly so I can share with my grandson the beauty I see in the world around me.

What about you. What are your 3 Things?


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Frozen Shoulders and other aches

I have a frozen left shoulder. It hurts.

And one thing I know about pain… it’s not only physical, it’s mental too. It changes my outlook from bright and cheery to gloomy and dark.

Doing anything hurts. Though it does also make me laugh. Kind of.

Like when I try to blow dry my hair and can’t hold the hairdryer in my left hand so have to bend my body down to meet it where I’ve placed it on the top of the bathroom vanity, desperately trying to hold it in place with my hip so I can get some heat on my wet hair and brush it at the same time. Looking in the mirror I did create a rather odd perspective. And why I didn’t think to just hold the hairdryer in my right hand and forget about brushing is beyond me!

Who knew one frozen shoulder could impact every part of my body? Just goes to show, it’s true. Everything is connected to everything. And when one part of your body is out of whack, your whole body feels the pain.

My poor beloved is also feeling my pain.

I’ve not been the most ‘cheerful’ of people to be around. Which is probably why he took off on his 3 day golf junket with nary a ‘would you rather I not go?’ on Sunday morning. I’ve been wallowing in self-pity ever since.

Even Beaumont is keeping a low profile, though he is taking advantage of my lack of mobility by sleeping on the couch in the living room confident I’m not about to get out of bed to tell him to get off. Quite frankly, he can sleep where ever he wants right now. I just wish I could.

See. I’m whining and whining and the challenge is, whining does not make me feel better. Drugs do. 🙂 And acupuncture helps too. As do meditation and loving self-care.

Yesterday, I went to see the amazing Michelle for a treatment. It helped. Just not enough. She did tell me it could take a few treatments to unwind the damage. I believe her. At least the spasms are gone.

This morning I’m not feeling quite so helpless and in not feeling helpless, I’m able to hear the deeper messages of my body.

Louise Hay, author and self-help guru whose book, “You Can Heal Your Life” has changed millions of lives worldwide, says that any illness, whether mild or severe, is a reflection of what is going on in our emotional state. Shoulder pain is all about carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders.

I relate. I’ve been dealing with a high stress situation at work and most of that stress has landed on my shoulders. In addition, Louise Hay also states that left body pain relates to the ‘feminine energy;’ When it’s out of balance, I’m out of balance.

See, that’s the thing about when our bodies are hurt. They are giving us messages but often, we can’t hear the message because we’re focusing in on the pain.

When I step back and breathe into the pain and ask it what it needs, I create space for my mind to hear what my body is trying to tell me.

And a lot of that relates to the thing I keep forgetting — it’s important to take good care of me.

This is my one body. The one vehicle I’ve got to carry me through life, moment by moment. Ignoring its needs, over-stressing it, taxing its capacities without balancing whatever I’m doing with healthy food and exercise and all the things I know are good for me, is not good for my well-being. Not to mention my attitude!

So here’s to taking good care of myself. Here’s to balancing my world with loving kindness and letting go of burdens that are not mine to carry. and doing the things I know are good for me while letting go of the things I know do not serve me well.

And more than anything, here’s to treating my body like my life depends on it. Because it does.

Namaste.

,


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Giving into Grace

Franciscan scientist and theologian, Ilia Delio, writes that, “We are in the universe and the universe is in us.”

An old boss of mine used to say, “Everything is connected to everything.”

What I breathe in. You breathe in. What I breathe out. You breathe out.

What I do matters to you. And what you do matters to me.

It matters to me that people are treated with dignity and respect. That kindness, compassion and tolerance prevail.

If I beat down my opponents, criticize and condemn those who go about creating their kind of “better world” in ways that do not match my idea of ‘better’, than I am contributing to discord not peace. In my harsh condemnation of another’s way, I am creating an environment where disrespect and intolerance prevail.

And that matters. Because whatever I do, someone else is impacted.

What I do matters.

What you do matters.

How we do what we do matters.

Because everything we do has an impact. It’s circle of influence may be small. It may be large. But it all has an impact. It all has a ripple.

Recently, while out shopping with my daughter and grandson, a man waited at the mall exit and held the door open for us.

It was a small act, but it, created a ripple of gratitude.

And gratitude has a way of passing itself along and becoming bigger.

All things are connected.

Yesterday, his act of grace reminded me of our capacity to be grace-filled in a moment when I really just wanted to be difficult.

I was stuck in a long line of traffic creeping into the downtown core. The left lane was closed ahead and cars were zippering into my lane on the right. As I reached the spot where the construction started, there were no more cars beside me. They’d all managed to slide into the right hand lane.

Except one driver.

He ignored the signs advising people to move into the right lane and drove right up to the construction area, turned on his right hand blinker and tried to edge into the lane.

I was about four cars back. Like the cars in front of me, I thought about making him wait for someone else to let him in. You know, teach him a lesson and all that jazz.

And then I remembered the gratitude I’d felt when the man held the door open for my daughter and me.

I chose to let the driver in.

It was better for my heart and soul.

In giving into grace, I got to free myself from the inner chatter about how the other driver was acting like a jerk. How I’d already let someone in. Yada. Yada. Yada.

All things are connected.

Small things make big waves. When I choose the path of peace and let go of criticizing and condemning, I am contributing to the creation of a more peaceful world.

When I give into grace and choose to create an environment where peace, love and joy fill my heart and soul, my ripple becomes a wave of possibility in the ocean of life all around me.

Namaste.

_______________________________

Photo Source

 

 


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In Love’s Infinite Grace, Life Flows

It’s only Wednesday and already, it feels like a long week.

It happens.

Perhaps it is that yesterday was the 11th of September. A day worth marking. Not just because it’s the birthday of a couple of young women I love, but also because it is what it is. September 11th. A day in 2001 when the world felt like it shifted on its axis. A day when fear and confusion and horror awoke in the heart’s of millions.

I remember the fear. The confusion. The horror.

I choose Love.

And still, the ennui is here.

Perhaps it is just a heavy workload. Or having said goodbye to my daughter and grandson yesterday, my heart is full, and my body is tired.

Emotions come and go. Some weeks feel longer than others. Some situations feel more daunting. Some opportunities more challenging and exciting.

Yet, no matter what is going on, no matter what we’re facing, or doing or experiencing. No matter our elation or our worry, our joy or our sadness, Love is always present.

It’s the thing about life.  No matter how dark the skies or deep the river, Love is always present.

The challenge is, in the midst of chaos, it can be easy to lose sight of Love, to forget that in the midst of everything, Love is always present.

To remember, we need to name what we’re feeling and to also name Love in its midst. It goes like this:

Oh look. Confusion is here. So is Love.

Oh look. There’s my old friend anger. And here’s my greatest companion, Love.

Oh look. Helplessness is present. So is Love.

Oh look. Fear is raising its head. Love is here to ease its burden.

Oh look. Sadness is clouding my skies. Love is lighting my way.

It doesn’t matter what is filling your heart and mind. What is clouding your vision. What is stirring up your emotions. In the midst of everything, remind yourself that while all those things are present, so is Love.

And in Love’s infinite grace, life flows effortlessly.

Namaste.

 

 


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Pure Love

When she was a  little girl, my eldest daughter loved to play, Wedding. Inevitably, she would be the bride and some erstwhile young playmate would be her groom. In her childhood fantasies, it was always about the dress and ceremony. The marriage was inconsequential.

As she grew into a woman, those memories of her childhood weddings gave us all cause for laughter until this day, two years ago, when she enacted out her wedding day, and we witnessed the beauty and wonder of Alexis and JM joining together in marriage.

That was two years ago today.

This past weekend, Alexis my eldest daughter, has been visiting with their 7 month old son, TJ. We were celebrating my mother’s 96th birthday, which in and of itself was perfect. To have four generations together. To be together as a family — both my sisters, and both my daughters and the son Alexis and her beautiful husband have brought into this world.

What could be more perfect?

Someone once said, ‘a picture’s worth a thousand words’.  In the English language there is only one word for Love. The Greeks were smart. They had at least four.

And even that doesn’t seem to be enough to describe how my heart feels.

I am beyond words. Beyond emotions. Beyond anything but Love.

Not just for having spent time with my grandson, but also for being witness to the wonder of my eldest daughter as she embraces and embodies the role of ‘mother’.

I am in awe. I am humbled. I am grateful.

She is all that I would have wanted for my grandson. And so much more.  She is pure Love.


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Are you trying to be enlightened? Stop it.

Source: Zen Flash 

Trying to find a Buddha or enlightenment is like trying to grab space. Space has a name but no form. It’s not something you can pick up or put down. And you certainly can’t grab it. Beyond this mind you’ll never see a Buddha. The Buddha is a product of your mind. Why look for a Buddha beyond this mind?

– Bodhidharma ∞ Thich Nhat Hanh Philosophy & Practice

I used to think there was a place to be. A place where on this journey of life I’d know, deep within me, I had arrived.

And once there, I’d never leave.

I’m so human!

I’m learning, there is no such ‘place’. No such “I’ll never leave because here is where I’m awake, aware and conscious. And that’s how I shall always be forever more.”

I have had moments of feeling enlightened. Moments of feeling like, “AHA! This is it. This is what they mean to let go.”

And then, that place moves away. I move on. Life shifts.

I am learning that being where I am, in this moment, is more precious than trying to get to ‘the next’.

That being conscious of what is happening to me and around me right now, is more fulfilling than dreaming of what will be in the moment coming up.

I am learning.

Enlightenment is not a place to be, a thing to achieve or hold onto. It is a way. A way of living in this moment without trying to make this moment count more than the last, or less than the next.

It is a balance. A balance of being real and human. Being present and unaware. Being vulnerable and protected. Setting boundaries. Pushing through them.

It is not letting one or the other override either.

It is letting one and the other exist in this moment, this space, together.

It is claiming my right to be heard, seen, known while honouring with equal respect, everyone else’s right to be heard, seen, known.

It is… being human.

Which means, honouring my capacity to stand up while falling down. To give in while holding out. To hold on while letting go.

It means embracing the contradictions while holding firm to certainty.

Speaking truth while making space for other’s truth to be spoken knowing, there is truth in all things yet all things are not true.

It means, not striving to be anyone or anything other than who I am in this moment. Right now. Knowing, this moment right now will not last forever.

I used to think I had to get somewhere to know I’d arrived.

I’ve learned that what I know is nothing compared to what I don’t know.

And that’s okay. Because in the duality of knowing what I don’t know, I am learning that being where I am is the best place to be for me to see the possibilities of where I can go when I let go of believing I have to get somewhere else to be who I am.

Namaste.

______________________________________

Photo and Quote Source:  Zenflash


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Ruminations of a misty morning

Silently, it rolled in from the west, snaking up the river valley, a soft gauzy blanket of white obscuring all that it enveloped.

I watched its approach. My eyes straining to see through its ethereal nature.

This is the way of falling asleep. The way of losing sight of clarity, of all that is real and true in life.

I watched the fog roll in and remembered a time when I lived within its depths. When my world felt like I was breathing shallowly in the marshmallow stickiness of lies and deceit that encompassed my entire being.

Those were the days when I was lost in dreams of shortcuts to happiness. When I believed in happily-ever-after.

And then I awoke to the dark and unforgiving truth that I was lost on the road to hell.

Frightened and trapped in my fear, I could not breathe deeply. I could not see my hands in front of my face, or feel my feet on the earth.

Terrified I would never find myself again, I became lost in a world of hopelessness.

And then, the fog lifted and I could see the world around me. I could feel my hands touching my face, my feet touching the earth.

Found again, I breathe deeply as the mist rolls in.

There is beauty in the mist gently undulating along the river valley.

The beauty is not in losing sight of the world but in knowing, no matter what the weather outside, I am safe, here, in this place where I stand in the eye of my truth. In this place, what happened then is nothing compared to what I am creating in my life today, day by day, standing true in me, myself and I.

We all get lost on the road of life. We all lose our way. Whether for a day, a month, a year or years, it does not have to be forever.

We can awaken.

We can step out of the mist. We can claim our place in the centre of our world.

For me, it took a miracle and a deep desire to seek forgiveness, to be forgiven and to forgive. It took believing that I was worthy or more than abuse and lies and deceit. It took believing that I am worthy of Love. Of self. Of others. It took believing I am worthy of life.

This morning, I watched the mist roll in and remembered the wonder and awe of being alive.

This morning, I watched the mist snaking up the river valley and saw the beauty of its gentle nature caressing the trees that line the water’s edge. In its memory I saw the beauty of my world today and gave thanks.

I am so blessed.