Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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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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Let compassion be my guide

It can be easy to forget some days that we are all on this journey of life, together.

That my plan may not align with yours.

That your ideas may be different than mine.

Regardless of our point of views, or our goals or aspirations, we are all on this journey of life, together. We all share this one planet, one earth. We all breathe this same air. Bathe in the same waters. Need the same things to sustain our lives.

It can be hard to remember sometimes that just because I disagree with you, it doesn’t give me the right to judge you. To make you bad or wrong. It just makes our opinions different.

My job is to stand true in my beliefs, and to hold that delicate space between us gently and lovingly clear of my desire to make my voice heard louder than yours.

Whatever you do, my responsibility is not to change you. It is to see you. To know you and acknowledge you as you are, not as I’d like you to be. And regardless of what you say, my voice does not matter more. Talking over you will not make me heard more. It just makes both our voices become louder.

We can disagree. We can hold differing positions and points of views.

When we do, how we share our differences is a reflection of where each of us stands and what each of us values.

How I treat you is a reflection of my values and of who I am.

How you act or speak or respond is a reflection of who you are.

I may not agree, but judging you doesn’t make me ‘more right’. It just makes me part of the problem.

Let me not be ‘the problem’ today. Let me be the path to compassion, love and peace.


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The Fall. Ouch!

I fell a couple of weeks ago. I was in the kitchen at work and slipped on a piece of cucumber I hadn’t noticed lying on the floor.

It was a textbook, slapstick-style movie fall. Both feet went flying up from beneath me and I landed hard, my body sprawled out like a starfish on the beach. The resounding crash of my landing brought my co-workers running to the kitchen door.

Naturally, I tried to pretend it was nothing. That I wasn’t hurt.

Needless to say, my body was not happy — with my attitude nor the fall.

I’ve been going for treatment, ice, heat, creams, taking it easy. Not lifting things. You know, playing the princess prima donna. But in truth, I really messed up my left side so if I want to heal, I need to heed the doctor’s advice. Take it easy.

And I was. Until Saturday that is.

I was at an event where dancing is the order of business.

I love to dance. Love it.

My challenge is, when the music starts, I lose all sense and sensibility. I forget how my body feels and let the music take me where ever it wants to go.

On  Saturday, it took me.

And now my body is saying, it took you too far.

Okay. Okay. Being 100% accountable for my actions means I can’t lay the blame on my body. I let it happen. And whining isn’t going to change any of that, nor is blaming it on the music!

Whining is not the point of writing this out anyway. It’s about finding the value in all things, looking for the gift in the mud, seeing the beauty in the darkness.

And that’s where I’m struggling. To find lightness of being when my body feels like it was hit by a truck. To remember, this too shall pass and I shall once again not feel like an old lady with arthritic bones.

Oh wait. I am edging closer to being an old lady than a lithe young thing. And I do have arthritis!

Maybe the point of this is to find the grace that resides within, no matter my body’s age, and to let the joy of being who I am supersede the way I feel right now.

To acknowledge dancing like no one is watching doesn’t mean dancing by letting it all hang out. It means, learning to heed my body’s signals of when it’s appropriate to let go of every joint, muscle, and inhibition when I dance. And when it’s not.

It means letting the music have its way with my senses, not my sensibilities.

Perhaps the point is, I love to dance, but just as I no longer jog, maybe it’s time to curb the free stylin’ and become a little more in tune with not just the music, but my body too.

Because believe me, falling has jaundiced my outlook and my back being out of sorts has cramped my style! And it’s definitely given me pause for reflection, to stop and think about the things I’m doing that do not create ‘the more’ of what I want in my life.

Fact is, I’ve never really treated my body like a temple. I’ve never considered its needs before my desire to go places, get things done, feel free of constraints.

Perhaps, it’s time to grow up and tune into the music within so that the music around me doesn’t carry me away from all sense and sensibility!

Namaste.

 

 

 


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Finding connectedness in our broken and whole hearts

It is so easy to forget to be thoughtful and kind when someone shares an opinion that rubs up against our hearts, stirring discord and animosity in our minds.

It is so easy to forget, their voice matters, even when we don’t want to hear what they have to say. Possibly, just as much as they don’t want to hear us.

Yet, when we practice listening from our heart, with our whole being engaged in offering up our attention, without  seeking to criticize or get our opinions heard, we create space for all voices to see into the uncommon ground beyond the obvious, to find sacred ground upon which to stand, together, united in our humanity.

It is not easy, this place of holding democracy in our hearts and letting go of side-taking and name-calling, blaming and shaming. Yet, in its presence, we hold the capacity to both love and disagree, critique and find common ground, to weep for inequities and the bigger evils that trap us all in victimhood, and find connectedness in our brokenness and our wholeness.

In our connectedness we learn to savour the beauty of our humanity and through our heart of hearts, see one another as what we truly are; human beings on a shared journey of life on earth.

In this sacred space, there is no ‘other’. There is only ‘us’. One humanity. One planet. One shared experience of life.

 


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Let Love wash over me

 

June Daily Intention Photo Credit:  Photo by Irina Kostenich on Unsplash


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There’s always time to awaken and Begin Again.

Have you ever noticed how in times of stress, unease, uncertainty, the things that bring you calm, centeredness, peace are often the first things you let go of?

At least, that’s true for me.

My beloved and I have been living in temporary housing since early December. In November, we bought a new home, decided to renovate and put our old home on the market. It sold quickly leaving us ‘homeless’ as of December 15th,

From the time of signing the sales agreement to closing on our old home, I had 11 days to organize a mover, find new accommodation that would allow our furry family members to live with us, and pack up what we believed we’d need for about six weeks displacement while all our furniture, dishes and belongings went into storage.

Six weeks later than anticipated, on March 12, we will move into our newly renovated home.

This past three months have been interesting.

Feeling displaced is unsettling. While the condo we have rented during this time is lovely, it’s not home. I am missing my ‘things’, missing the ease of being ‘at home’.

You would think that during such an unsettling time I would sink deeper into my practices that bring me balance, ease, contentment.

Nope.

I have completely let go of my meditation practice, my morning rituals, my evensong ceremonies.

Which is what makes me smile, shake my head in bemusement, fling my hands above my head and exclaim, “Aren’t I fascinating!”

There’s not much else I can do because no matter the circumstances, there’s one thing I won’t let go of,  my belief in not beating myself up for slipping.  To do that would just pile on more unease to an already unsettled mind.

This morning, I chose to step back from resistance of doing the things I know that are healing and live-giving for me so that I could slip into the life-giving waters of the things that support me.

This morning, I chose to Begin Again.

I chose to reconnect to the things and practices that create peace of mind, no matter the times.

I chose to walk in the quiet of breaking dawn, letting Beaumont the Sheepadoodle sniff to his heart’s content. Instead of rummaging through my mental list of things I needed to do for work, the renovation, the upcoming move, I chose instead to spend time breathing in the beauty of early morning, marvelling at the night covered sky turning pink and the quiet of the world around me.

I chose to spend 15 minutes in meditation, quieting my mind even when it wanted to worry over something I need to deal with at work, an issue I want our contractor to fix and thoughts of what to make for dinner tonight…

I chose to savour my mug of hot water, lemon and honey, letting it seep into my body with its nourishing and nurturing essences.

I chose to not rush, but to slowly move through my morning, appreciating each moment and its many gifts.

And I chose to let go of recriminations for having fallen into unease and breathe instead into gratitude for all the blessings in my life and for this opportunity to Begin Again.

I awoke this morning and realized I had let go of my practice and stepped away from consciously doing the things that bring me ease and grace.

This morning I awoke and chose to Begin Again.


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Today I choose to allow GRACE

This morning, a friend sent me a tweet about the impact of random acts of kindness at work. It makes sense. Sharing acts of kindness makes the giver and the receiver happier. They’re contagious and they make for more fulfilling and happier workplaces.

Another tweet I saw on the same person’s feed posed an interesting question about our choices:

I love how he presents the things we did not choose, and the things we can.

Me, I want to always choose in favour of being kind, generous, honest…

Yet, sometimes, my choices are not aligned with my ‘higher good’.

Like when a driver cuts me off and I think something not so nice about him or her. I’d prefer to simply let them in with a gracious wave and a smile.

Or when someone slips into the lane beside me that I know, and I know they know, is merging because there are big, big flashing lights up ahead telling us so. I don’t really want to let them in when I reach the front of the lane at the same time they do. I often wrestle with my ‘higher good’ and my baser instincts. It can be a struggle for me to make room for grace.

Fact is, grace doesn’t always win.

Today, I choose to let grace win.

With grace as my guide, my baser instincts will have no room to take hold and pull me into defiance. There will be no room for me to choose to act down to my need to ‘have one over’ on my fellow human beings!

Today, I choose to allow grace to have her way with me.