Category Archives: My Daily Intention

An Ode To Summer Solstice

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the days have begun their journey back towards the darkness.

The long lazy days of summer beckon. Blossoms burst forth and grain fields grow plenty. The days begin to give up their light to the dark. Imperceptibly. Moment by moment. The lengthening of shadows begins.

On a far and distant horizon, cool days of autumn slumber, oblivious to the promised heat of summer yet to come. Beyond the promise of autumn days coruscating in the golden light of falling leaves, winter sleeps, its dreams full of frosty days and snow-covered nights sparkling under the light of a full moon rising.

And the world continues to spin.

And life continues to unfold in all its mystery, magic and wonder.

May the Solstice be with you.

______________________

Confession: The word ‘coruscate’ appeared in an article I was reading this morning.

Coruscate? Hmmm…

Curiosity slipped in. What does that mean? So did my father’s voice. “Go look it up.”

It was his way. Growing up, whenever I’d ask, “What does that mean?” he’d reply, “Go look it up.”

And so, I did.

And just as a child when he’d make me use my latest ‘coruscated’ addition to my vocabulary in a sentence, I followed my father’s voice into the mystery of discovery, and used it a sentence in my blog today.

Thanks Dad!

(And don’t tell him… but just in case you too, like me, do not know its meaning, I gave you a hint. — or you can go look it up, HERE.)

I think it might just be my favourite new word. It’s so yummy and juicy on the tongue.

It sparkles!

A Morning Meditation

A Morning Meditation (turn sound on)

Dust motes dance with the lissome grace of fairy dancers swathed in shimmering gowns of sunbeams streaming through the window. I stand in the light and open my arms, welcoming the sun in. I feel it. Warm. Against my skin. My face. My hands. My body. Effortlessly, it warms me with its grace.

I sit at my desk and watch white fluff drift lazily through the air. A delicate dance of grace floating down towards the ground. The poplar trees are casting off their spring buds. Snow falls in June.

Pink honeysuckle scents the air. The glossy green leaves of the poplars that dance above their blossoms rustle and whisper, redolent with the stories of the wind as it moves effortlessly through their branches.

The river flows past. The wind drifts through. I sit and soak up the beauty of this morning, my body embraced in the sacredness of the world around me.

Here. I am.

I breathe. Deep. Soul-nourishing breaths that ground me here, in this moment.

I imagine my toes digging into the rich soil that nourishes the grass and shrubs and flowers and trees. I imagine the soles of my feet sinking. Down. Down into the bedrock. Deep. Deep within the earth.

I keep breathing. Slowly. Deeply.

I sense myself coming to rest deep within the core of the earth. Connected. Supported. Grounded in Mother Nature. Mother Earth.

Here. I am.

The morning breaks itself open to day.

The sun casts light into infinite space.

The river flows past.

I sit at my desk. Silently embraced in the grace of morning’s awakening.

I am the temple girl carrying water from the well to wash the feet of the holy women gathered to sing the praises of Mother Earth. To dance in honour of the sun rising, the moon setting, the dawn breaking.

I am the initiate dancing in the light of dawn bathing her naked body in early morning light.

I am the priestess supine, body stretched out in supplication before the altar of Mother Earth’s beauty.

Here. I am. I whisper.

And Mother Earth wraps her being around my body and gently, lovingly pries me open. I am broken open and I weep in gratitude, joy, Love.

My heart sighs. I take a sip of morning’s glory bursting with the promise of this day. I take another and another and am filled with the wonder and awe of being here, where I am.

Here. I am. I whisper to the morning and the sun and the trees and the flowers and the birds and the river and the grass whisper back. Here. We are.

Namaste.

Oh The Times They Are A-Changin’

The sky is very different today than when I took this photo last week. It is grey and lowering. Heavily pregnant grey clouds release their bounty upon the earth, nourishing plants and trees and soil. A prayer of hope for all life on earth.

The forest outside my window is different today than it was a week ago. The forest canopy is lusher. Full of spring’s delicate breath. Green leaves dance in the wind upon branches that sway with hypnotic grace, like a thousand Sufi mystics spinning in prayer.

The river too is different. Spring runoff in the mountains has begun in earnest. Snowbound slopes have given way to spring’s promise, releasing their burden of snow to the streams and rivers below. Outside my window, the river waters are swollen. They run high and fast. Their rushing waters flow with the secrets of time gathered from mountaintops and valley bottoms leading them to the mystery of a distant, unseen sea. Listen. The waters are chanting. They are pregnant with a luminous prayer echoing through time. May the river never stop flowing, they whisper. May time always pass.

The world is different today than just a few short days and weeks ago. Not just because of Covid 19’s sinister presence that still cautions us to slow down, to stay sheltered. It is different because the voices of the people are rising up as one voice, clamouring for change, marching for justice, kneeling on bended knee in unified prayer for the sake of our humanity.

Bob Dylan’s 1964 iconic song says it best:

Oh the times they are a-changin’.

When Your Home is Your Boat

There is a story about a man who travels through a desert searching for escape. He stumbles over a dune and there at the base of the dune, he sees a river flowing, it’s waters sparkling in the sun. On the other side, he sees what looks like the land of paradise. Lush. Green. Full of trees heavy with fruit.

He races to the river’s edge and drinks deeply.

He stays there for awhile, catching his breath, letting his body grow strong again.

Eventually, he gets up, scours the water’s edge for wood and makes a raft.

Happily, he rows across to the other side. He climbs off his raft and sets off to explore paradise.

But first, he decides to take his raft with him. Just in case.

Eventually, he grows tired. Bone weary tired. The raft weighs so much. But he cannot put it down. ‘What if I come upon another river that needs crossing?’ he asks himself.

And so he continues to stumble along until finally, he cannot take another step. He falls to the ground and his boat falls with him.

We are all at home now. At least those of us who have a home in which to shelter-in-place. And those who are not ‘out there’ saving lives, keeping us fed, keeping us safe and secure.

We are all at home.

What are you carrying on your back as you shelter-in-place? Does it serve you well?

Yesterday, I spent a few hours cleaning out the basement. My cleaning out/up began with the realization that it’s mid-April (already) and the Christmas boxes are still sitting at the bottom of the stairs, outside the storage room door. (I’d give you the story about why they weren’t on the other side of the door, but it’s not all that interesting.)

Fortunately, along with the boxes, I can now put away that tired old excuse-filled story and relax.

I feel lighter. More accomplished. More peaceful. More spacious.

And all it took to alleviate the weight of those boxes of glitter and boughs on my peace of mind, was to put them in their place.

For me, it is one of the hardest parts of our self-isolation. Whatever I’m carrying, worry, fear, anxiety, guilt, anger, resentment…, grows into a heavy-burden when I do nothing about it. Because I am sharing this space with my beloved, sometimes, the presence of the undone, unmentioned, unspoken creates choppy waters between us.

Fact is, I think I was kind of secretly wishing, hoping, thinking, he’d put all the boxes away. I mean, I took Christmas down. Why can’t he put it all back where it belongs? You with me?

Probably because his COPD makes tasks that require lifting and moving of things very challenging. Probably because it hurts him to breathe when he over-exerts.

It does not hurt me.

What hurts is when my mind goes round and round in circles of discontent, nattering about the ‘why me’s?’ of everyday living.

When your home is your boat, it’s not just what you carry with you that makes a difference in how smooth or choppy the waters upon which you sail. It’s also about how lovingly you navigate the messy places too.

Yesterday, I got rid of a weight on my shoulders that had no purpose other than to weigh me down. In getting the job done,  I released myself of the guilt-riddled anxiety and self-defeating grumbles of resentment that arose every time I walked down the stairs and saw all the boxes sitting by the basement door.

Today, the skies are clear and my sails are set for smooth sailing.

I feel lighter of heart. More expansive in nature.

And all it took was the willingness (and a wee bit of elbow grease) to right my boat by ridding it of the ego-driven thoughts and things that were weighing me down.

When your home is your boat and your boat is your home, carrying unwanted baggage makes the journey a struggle between ego and will or compassion and Love.

When your home is your boat and your boat is your home, jettisoning the things you know do not serve you well, creates space for harmony, joy, peace and intimacy to blossom. In the beautiful garden of their nature, you are free to enjoy the waters of your day sparkling in the light of Love.

The question is: Are you willing to put down the things you are carrying that do not create harmony, joy, peace and intimacy as you sail through your day?

Namaste.

 

 

Remember & Awaken

I sit at my desk and look out at the trees lining the river, the sun shining on their trunks.

I watch dried up leaves of autumn that still cling to a few naked limbs sway in the morning breeze as their warmth starved branches soak up the sun’s rays.

The river flows freely. The ice that formed a bridge from one bank to the other has melted. Spring awakens slowly, its approach a long drawn out flirtatious dance of farewell, an ode to the loss of winter’s kisses.

I sit and watch the world flow past my window as I awaken to the beauty all around me.

This planet on which we walk, this planet we call our home, it is the home of everything. Trees. Bees. Birds. Reptiles. Mammals. Fish. Flowers. Wind. Air. Water. Earth.

It is our home. Home to all.

We do not own it. We cannot possess it. We are its caretakers.

We must keep it clean. Keep it healthy. Keep it safe.

Remember & Awaken

by Louise Gallagher

The memory of a tree
is buried deep
beneath our feet
walking on the soil
that is its home
its birthplace
its womb.

Tread lightly
the trees call out
swaying their branches
in the sky above
as if to catch
our attention down below
where we walk
oblivious
to their dance of love
with all of nature.

Tread lightly
they whisper
to the air
their voices a sweet caress
calling all the world
to remember and awaken
to the beauty above
below
and all around us.

Tread lightly
you are walking
on our past
our present
our future.

Tread lightly.

What Dreams May Come…

I am in the between space of sleep and awakened, dreaming.

I am walking through a jungle. Struggling actually.

I am chopping down vines, watching out for snakes and muttering about the people following me. “Can’t they find their own path? Why do they need to follow in my footsteps?”

I am also scared. I can feel the fear clinging to my skin like the sweat that rolls down my back in the heat and humidity of the jungle.

I keep whacking at the vines. Possibly a tad too violently, but hey! They’re thick and unruly and blocking my way.

I pause to catch my breath and someone from behind bumps into me. I turn to tell them to be careful and stop.

It is me. Just a younger me. Maybe a teenager, almost adult me.

I look behind this me and see more me’s.

“Oh,” I think. “It’s me following me. No wonder they don’t go somewhere else. They can’t get away from me.”

I laugh (okay more smirk but I’d like to think I find myself funny in this predicament) and turn back to begin whacking at the vines blocking my path forward.

That’s when the inner wise woman whispers to my heart. “What would happen if you just stopped whacking your way through everything and invited the other you’s to join you in the silence and beauty of this moment where you’re at right now.

I want to tell the inner wise woman what a stupid idea that is, but I don’t. I’ve learned through the years and all my experiences that when I listen deeply to her wisdom, I find myself in peace and love.

I sigh. (I may not talk back but I am not willing to give in graciously. Yet.)

“Fine.”

Quickly, I clear a space in the jungle where I can sit in a circle with all the other me’s.

Wow. There’s a lot of them. All varying sizes, shapes and ages. But they’re all me.

In the light that is able to filter through the clearing, I see their faces.

“Why do you keep following me?” I ask them. A tad huffily but not quite as ungracious as my ‘Fine’ response to the inner wise woman.

“We have nowhere else to go but be with you,” one of the me’s, she’s about 30, says to me.

“Aren’t you tired of following me?” I ask.

They all laugh in unison. “YES!” they cry out as one.

“Then stop,” I reply.  Ha! Take that inner wise woman.

The smart-alec me, she’s about 13, smiles at me knowingly. “Hmmm. You just don’t learn do you?”

“Of course I do,” I reply huffily. I do not say, well if you’d learned your lessons way back when maybe I wouldn’t have said what I said now!

I think I’m pretty smart.

I sit and smile smugly at all of the me’s gathered in the circle.

No one says anything. They just sit silently watching me, their eyes loving and kind.

Finally, I break the silence. “What am I supposed to do with all of you?” I wail. “I gotta get through this jungle and you’re slowing me down.”

Just then, the inner wise woman whispers into my heart, “Invite them in.”

“Yes,” say all the me’s gathered in the circle. “Invite us in. Welcome us. Love us. We are all part of you.”

I am a bit taken aback by their response. They can hear her too?

And, seriously, there’s a lot of them…

But I know truth when I hear it.

And I’m tired of fighting myself.

So I invite them in. Embrace them. Integrate them within my entire being.

And as I do, the jungle disappears and I am standing on a hillside, bathed in sunlight. Birds sing. Flowers blossom. Rabbits play in the grass.

I am no longer afraid. No longer sweating. I am home.

_______________________________________

So… this dream really did come to me this morning as I lay in bed, not quite awake, not quite asleep.

It is profound.

In times of crisis, inner knowing and beauty can rise to the top if we are willing to stop fighting what we wish was true. In loving acceptance of ourselves (all our selves) we flow into acceptance of what is. In that place, regardless of the times around us, love and grace flow freely. We are free.

Namaste.

 

Love in. Love out. Love in. Love out.

I carry it with me.

No matter where I go. No matter what I do. What I’m thinking, saying, hearing, feeling. I carry it with me. And it carries me. Through. Into. With. Of. Everything I do and say, think and hear and feel.

My breath.

In. Out. In. Out.

In these crazy, uncertain times, my breath carries me.

It sustains me. It nourishes me. It keeps me alive.

I feel so helpless in the face of the news. I feel so scared. There is so little I can do, but whatever I do, I must ensure it sustains, protects and nourishes me, everyone in my world and all the world around me.

And so I breathe.

In. Out. In. Out.

As I breathe in, I imagine love all around me. It flows into my body with my in-breath. It courses through my arteries. Is carried into every vein, every molecule, every cell every fibre of my being.

I breathe out. I imagine the love that fills me up, rippling out into every molecule of my exhale.

I imagine love flowing out. Flowing out into the world around me, filling every molecule, every cell, every breath of air around me.

Love in. Love out.

It may not stop a virus from attempting to slip in undetected, but it does calm my heart, ease my mind and bring me peace.

And with peace of mind and heart, I am better able to cope with fear, uncertainty, anxiety.

With peace and love rippling through my body, I am present in the here and now without fear stealing away the moment.

Love in. Love out.

Love in. Love out.

And so I breathe.

 

Giving Tuesday – you can make a difference!

Today is Giving Tuesday, an annual day of giving to not-for-profits doing the heavy lifting of social change, supporting research for intractable diseases and other issues like healing our environment, helping animals and a host of difference-making work to support those whose lives have landed them in hard rock places.

Imagine if every day was Giving Tuesday. Imagine if we all believed in the importance of supporting organizations at the frontlines, monetarily and through volunteerism – and then did it!

What a world of difference we would make!

I also get that giving every day would be cumbersome – it would cost more to process a daily $1 donation than a monthly $30 one – but you could give a recurring donation every month to reflect a month of daily giving. It definitely does good things for your heart. And even the tax-folk recognize your giving by giving you a break on your taxes!

Colour me altruistic… but my dream is that Giving Tuesday becomes like Valentine’s Day (without the artificial sugariness and commerciality) — hard to ignore, simple to participate in, and an expression of our love — for humanity, the planet, all sentient and non-sentient beings, everything and everyone on this earth.

I like that.

— Making a difference in the world – everyday.

The original name of this blog when I started it on January 1, 2012, was ‘A Year of Making a Difference’. At the time, I had just left my role as director of communications at the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre and was concerned about how I was going to keep making a difference in the world. I was doing consulting work and thinking I might continue along that vein but, helping clients (who albeit were all not-for-profits) didn’t quite feel the same kind of ‘difference-making’ as walking into a homeless shelter every day.

So I focused on finding one thing every day that made a difference in my life, other’s lives, the world at large, and I wrote about that.

It definitely made a difference in my life to put my attention on difference-making/makers every day. Eventually, I moved back into working in the homeless-serving sector and at the end of that first year, changed the name of the blog to Dare Boldly. My goal was to inspire each of us to live beyond the limits of our comfort zones and to make a difference.

When I left the sector, and the formal workforce at the end of May this year, I still wanted to make a difference — Difference-making is in my blood.

Inspiring others to make a difference is also in my blood.

So, my challenge to each of us today is to find one not-for-profit organization where a donation of any amount will make a difference. And then, make that donation.

It’s not hard and it doesn’t have to be a huge amount! A quick google search of the term “Giving Tuesday” will give you lots of links to click on to inspire your giving.

I just made mine through  Canada Helps — where for today only, every donation of $25+ is bumped up by $5 — it’s fast, it’s easy and it makes a difference, plus, your favourite charity is probably listed on their site! (And PS — you can even make the donation in honour/memory of someone you love — I did and it brought a smile to my face just to write the message — see, giving is receiving!)

And here’s the thing, if giving monetarily isn’t in your basket today, Volunteer!  Or, when you’re out and about, share a smile, a kind word, an act of grace with everyone you encounter — from those you love to strangers. Share the goodness and grace of your heart.

Seriously, together we can make a world of difference. And BONUS! Giving generates lots of feelings of goodwill in your heart that ripple out into the world in joy and harmony — and what could be better than a world awash in feelings of joy and harmony?

Namaste.

PS — here’s a 30 sec video from the Giving Tuesday org that helps you understand how Giving Tuesday works as an antidote to Black Friday and Cyber Monday — I like it!

 

Snow? In September? What the Weather?

Autumn falls in golden glory, shedding summer blossoms and leaves like rose petals falling upon the smiling faces of a newly wedded couple.

There’ll be snow tomorrow, the weatherman drones on, his smile masking his dismay at Autumn’s duplicity. Like the river flowing endlessly to the sea, the wind pays no attention to the slithering fear the weatherman’s words convey into the heart’s of city folk who throw their words at television screens like a magician throwing knives in the hopes they do not hit their mark. “Snow tomorrow? Too soon. Too soon.”

Autumn leaves falling pay no heed. Impervious to our pleas for one more day  the winds blow free of summer’s promise bringing with them dark clouds brewing up an early winter storm.

In this moment, right now, I sit at my desk watching the river flow endlessly to the sea. No ice in site. I want to keep this image, right now, as my future state but know, I must release it so I can flow freely in the beauty of this moment, right now.

Snow will come. The ice will dam the river. Birds will flock south. The leaves will fall.

There’s snow coming tomorrow, the weatherman intones and I breathe deeply into the beauty of each golden leaf falling gracefully.

I cannot change the weather. I can change my state of being present in this moment, right now.

I breathe in. Breathe out and move into acceptance.

The weather will be what the weather will be. For this moment, right now, I choose the peace and joy of being present in the beauty falling all around me.

Perhaps though, it would be wise to go buy a new pair of winter boots today.

A Love Poem A Day

Several years ago, for an entire year, I awoke every morning and wrote my beloved a love poem.

It started out as a gift of a love poem a day for two weeks.

And then… I got kinda uppity about how he was receiving my gift, let him know how I would have responded if I was receiving the gift of a love poem a day and well, let’s just say my telling him in no uncertain terms my expectations of his behaviour did not go over well.

I had to make amends.

At the time, he was living in another city and when flowers arrived for Valentine’s Day, I realized I had totally forgotten! I knew I didn’t have time to get him chocolates or anything concrete so, I offered up a pretty email with a love poem and a committment to send him a love poem everyday for the next two weeks.

It only took one day for my attitude to interfere with my intention.

Originally, my thought had been to do something that would create intimacy over the distance. Instead, I created more distance when I suggested he open my emails at 6am when I sent them versus his normal afternoon reading which was when he got to his personal emails.

Harrumph. I responded via email. If I were getting a love poem a day it would be the first thing I read in the morning.

Well, you’re not me, he replied, and went on to suggest that a gift came without expectations of how the recipient received it. That’s what made it a gift.

Ouch.

He was right.

And so, I wrote him a love poem apology and committed to getting my expectations out of the way.

When I shifted, everything shifted.

By the time the two week mark appeared, I was committed to writing a love poem a day and he loved receiving them. So I kept at it for a year.

And in that year my understanding of Love grew deeper.

It was a gift to begin every day writing about love, thinking about my beloved and focussing on giving the gift of words to the one I love.

Recently, I shared that story with a group of coaches at Choices Seminars during the G2 training process on how to guide the trainees through the process of crafting the words to their purpose statement. In the actual process, there are a series of questions that lead them deeper and deeper into the truth of what they do naturally in the world to create a difference – which eventually leads to their purpose statement coming clear.

On that day, I was the example to show them how powerful the questions are, and how beautiful a journey writing your purpose statement can be.

As I answered the questions I gained more and more and insight into what that year of writing a love poem a day gave me and my beloved. It drew us closer together. It gave him a look into my day from across the miles (I started taking a photo everyday and writing my poem to that photo and sending both). It deepened my understanding of Love and it gave C.C. the thing I wanted most to give him and had messed up so badly at the beginning — the experience of receiving Love without any expectations.

Ultimately, what I learned is that Love has no expecations. It does not look for words of affirmation, reassurance nor reciprocity. Love is and when we share it without an expecation of how the other will receive it, or give it back, we transform ourselves and our relationships.

My purpose is to lovingly touch hearts, open minds and set spirits free. When I sent my first poems and let him know my expectations of how he should receive them, I was not lovingly touching his heart; I was attempting to hammer it into submission to my way of loving.

Love doesn’t work that way.

Writing a Love Poem a Day helped me learn that vital lesson in living and loving with grace.

Why not give it a try?