March Woman – Transformation in Action

March Woman – 2021 #ShePersisted Calendar (click on photo to purchase yours!)

There is much in this world I do not accept.

War. Famine. Poverty. Injustice. Discrimination to name a few, including economic and social policies that leave some feeling they are ‘less than’ while others believe they have a right to consider themselves ‘greater than’ because of an inherent bias in what they consider to be their privileged status.

And there is much in this world that I feel I have no power to change or affect.

Yet, when I take care of my own world, when I create better in the emotional, physical and spiritual environment around me, my world changes. And, while it is easy to say, those changes are infinitesimal in the big picture, the ripple effect of millions of small changes can create transformation of a grand scale.

We are all one humanity. One people on this one planet called earth. We are all connected. Through the air we breathe. To the trees and the sky and the water and the animals and the flora. We are all connected.

What we do to eachother and to our planet matters.

But how can I change what others do?

In the simplest of forms, I can’t. I am not that powerful. Nor is it my ‘job’ to change another.

What I do have the power to do is inspire change in the world around me by ensuring how I am, what I do, say, create, share creates better for everyone in the world around me. Holding space for better, my ripple becomes a constant ebbing outward of peace, harmony, joy, Love.

In that rippling effect, the things that annoy me abate, the feelings that keep me playing small diminish and the fear of making waves or being different washes away.

In their place, transformation within my world happens. And if there are millions upon millions of us transforming our own worlds, our collective ripple can become a tsunami of hope, possibility, change leading to transformation on a grand scale.

And never has that been truer than today.

Yes, Covid 19 is running amuck. Yes, there is political, economical and environmental strife everywhere.

And everywhere, there are human beings doing their best, giving their all to create lasting change that will, and must, transform our world for the better.

The March #ShePersisted Woman is a reminder to no longer accept you don’t have the power to change. To never give up on believing transformation is possible.

It is.

We just need to keep doing small things with great heart that change our worlds so that ripple by ripple by ripple the entire planet is transformed through each of us creating a better world for everyone and everything on earth.

Namaste.

Just hanging On!

Hang on! Hang on! The leaves cry frantically to one another. The fall is coming. The falling is coming. Resist! Resist!

Let’s stick together, they tell one another as they huddle closer to the branch. There’s strength in numbers.

In time, none of it matters. Resistance is futile. Defiance unnecessary.

As predictable as the earth’s orbit around the sun, the fall beckons. The leaves fall. Winter descends. Spring follows.

Nature always has its way.

Let’s face it, hanging on is sometimes the only way we know to avoid the thing we fear even more than speaking in public or dying — change.

Change is in the air. It always is. Change is here to stay.

Have you ever…

Stayed in a job you hate? A relationship that made you unhappy?

Are there clothes in your closet that no longer fit? Shoes that hurt your feet? Sweaters with holes and pulled threads that you no longer wear but just can’t get rid of?

And, what about memories?

Do you keep a reel of unhappy stories on repeat in your mind? Do you replay them and replay them so that your ‘poor me’ story becomes the only story you know how to tell?

Do you wish you could change the past? Redirect the movie of your life into someone else’s story?

Well, here’s the deal. No one is powerful enough to change the past. And someone else’s story will never fit you.

All you’ve got to work with to create the life you dream of is this moment right now and your willingness to bet your life on your heart’s desires, whatever they may be.

So… what’s holding you back? What are you hanging on to?

Ask yourself,

“What am I feeling right now? Do I want to be feeling these same feelings I’m feeling right now in a week, a month, a year, five years time?”

“Is there a burning desire deep within me to make a dream come true and I am doing nothing to make it happen because I’m afraid to let go of… [name your poison] Fear of failure. Looking silly. Falling down. Being laughed at. Being right. Having to learn something new. My story of why it isn’t possible. My deeply buried belief my dreams are not worth fighting for…”

“Am I holding onto past hurts and pain because I tell myself at least I can count on the past? Nothing changes there. And anyway, I’m not ready to let go of them yet.”

Once you’ve examined your feelings and thoughts around those questions, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen if I let go of [fill in the blank] and my fear of change and the stories I tell myself and decide to just do it anyway?”

Fact is. You might fall.

Then again. You might soar too.

You’ll never know until you let go of what is holding you back…

_____________

About this post:

When I took this photo yesterday on one of my walks with Beaumont, I was fascinated by how this one bush was still covered in leaves when all through the forest the trees stood bare, stripped of their autumn finery by wind and snow and the changing of the seasons.

I wonder why this one tree hasn’t lost its leaves yet, I wondered… and then, the parallel to my life began to form.

What am I holding onto that I need to let go of? I wondered.

I think it’s a great question to begin my day.

Namaste

Love Finds Me. Here.

On the kitchen island, sunflowers stand in a white vase. Their yellow heads are beginning to droop. Time is passing on.

In my studio, two cacti blossom. Life’s natural impulse to grow and flower is on display in riotous pink pressed against winter’s presence lying in pristine white outside the window.

In the trees that line the bank between our yard and the river, a squirrel scurries down. Winter is coming. There are preparations to be made.

It scurries towards the birdfeeder hanging along the fence at the back of our yard. It has become a squirrel seed depot.

The squirrel grabs at the tiny lip of the feeder and hangs on. Its body swings precariously from side to side. It steadies itself and opens its mouth ready to catch the seeds as they spill out.

Pouches full, it leaps back to the fence onto a tree branch, scurries up the trunk, sailing effortlessly from one branch to the next until, high up, it reaches a hole in the tree and disappears.

Another squirrel replaces it at the feeder.

I wonder if squirrels have a sound for gratitude?

Do I?

Is gratitude heard in the deep sigh of contentment as I sit in the darkness at my desk breathing in the beauty and wonder of the world around me?

Is it heard in the quiet hum of the furnace blowing warm air into the house?

Is it in the rustle of Beaumont’s body as he moves against the hardwood floor where he sleeps beside me?

Is it felt in the quiet, slow lightening of the day seeping across a nighttime sky ebbing into dawn?

Is it known in the halo of the lamp that lights my fingers as I type or the glowing of the candle on the desk beside me?

Is it tasted in the sip of my latte, foamy milk flowing warm and silky across my lips, down my throat and into my body?

Is it seen in the silent shimmery dark silhouettes of the trees dancing in the morning breeze outside my window, their not yet fallen leaves black against a not quite morning sky?

It is all here.

Filling me with gratitude.

This beauty.

It does not wait for the right season. Better weather. For time to flow from one moment to the next.

This beauty is here. Now.

And so am I.

And so is Love.

Namaste

.

How To Nourish Body. Mind. Spirit.

If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.  — Muhammad Ali

It appears that Covid has created some psychic mould. You know, those spaces where rather than nourish my body, mind, spirit, I fall prey to activities that leech away my creative essence and dry up my inner peace.

Like falling into binge-watching past seasons of shows I’ve never watched before on Prime and wouldn’t be watching now if it weren’t for Covid’s insidious presence. Because, you know — it’s not my fault. It’s these ‘uncertain times’ and sometimes the only way a girl can cope is by losing herself in mindless images parading across her laptop screen.

It seems that with Covid’s presence, I can easily be lured from my path of daily self-care day after day. Because, you know, if I let it go one day doesn’t it make sense to repeat it so I don’t feel so bad about doing it in the first place? Yeah. I know. Repetition of what’s not good for me just makes what’s not good for me a habit I’ll live to regret.

Being in a place of the peaceful unfolding of my day, especially with the feeling that Covid’s presence is just waiting to pounce every time I step out my door, can be challenging.

There are times when all I want to do is bury my head in the sand. Because, I tell myself, burying my head in sand will probably be just as effective or even better than wearing a mask.

There are times when I want to throw caution to the wind and just pretend Covid never happened, isn’t happening, will never happen. Because, when I was a child, pretend was such a wonderful game, why not play it now?

Houston. We have a problem.

Self-care is spinning off its axis and I am falling out of control.

Time for some straight talk and radical loving-kindness to fill the empty spaces where peace, harmony, joy… created my beautiful life.

Which brings me to the things I can do today to create more of what I want in my life every day. — Peace. Harmony. Joy.

The practices and things that connect me to joy, harmony, loving-kindness are well-known by my body, mind, spirit. It’s just sometimes, my mind wants to fool my body into thinking it’s okay being left alone. And sometimes, my body wants to divorce spirit so it doesn’t have to be accountable for keeping it moving, uplifted and connected to its essential nature.

Ah… the games we play when first we try to deceive ourselves into believing life is just a game that only needs to be played when we feel in the mood for a little light workout.

Life is not a game. It is in us. Outside of us. All of us. All of all that is within and around us.

Life matters and what we do in and with life matters every moment.

So…. here’s the thing. I’ve fallen prey to the ennui of these times. I’ve given too much mindspace to the notion, “I’m so tired of all this Covid stuff. Make it go away. Now.”

Fact is, now more than ever, I need to turn up for me and all the world around me to ensure, together and apart, we have the well-being to make Covid go away. Not with death but with beautiful, healing, sparkling LIFE.

So… I’ve committed myself to a 21 Day Plan to Embrace All that Is Present when I turn up in Peace, Harmony and Joy.

That means, along with daily practice of writing here, time spent in my studio, my twice-daily walks with Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and my daily skincare routine (Absolutely essential!) I shall be consciously connecting my mind, body, spirit to the essential nature of my human condition through daily repetition of five key practices I know are good for my body, mind, spirit.

Fact is, I seem to have fallen out of the regular committed practice of these vital components of creating more of what I want in my life today through falling prey to critter-mind thinking that… it all doesn’t matter anyway because Covid is stealing my peace of mind and clouding up my harmony and diminishing joy in my world.

Fact is, Covid can’t steal any of my peace, harmony and joy unless I give into the belief I am not accountable for or worthy of peace, harmony and joy in the first place.

So, to keep myself accountable, especially for the next 21 days as I reform the habit of doing these things every day, I am sharing my five daily commitments here:

  1. Meditate for a minimum of 20 minutes every morning.  
  2. Spend half an hour reading something inspirational every day.
  3. Write in my journal at bedtime for 20 minutes.
  4. Take my vitamins. Eat more veggies every day. Cut back on carbs and sugars.
  5. Do something for my community (and that includes writing my blogs as you are part of my community).

Oh! And there’s a few other things that are essential I consciously add into my life every single day.

  • Laugh lots daily
  • Dance
  • Breathe and release. Breathe and release
  • Practice loving-kindness with myself and all the world around me

And, along with the things I will do, there are some things I also need to publicly commit to not doing. The biggest one being… STOP WATCHING SO MUCH NETFLIX and PRIME!!!!

And yes, I’m yelling that to myself because sometimes… I need to shout to be heard above the critter’s insistence it’s okay to lose myself in mindless activities.

It’s not.

And I’m not okay with and within me when I do it.

And to get okay with me again, I need to practice loving-kindness with myself. Stopping doing things that are unhealthy for me is the greatest gift of loving-kindness I can give myself today to create more peace, harmony and joy in myself and all the world around me.

Namaste.

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.