Category Archives: Radical Wholeness

While my husband lay sleeping.

On Saturday morning, after taking Beaumont the Sheepadoodle out for his morning business, I carried my coffee and the newspaper back to bed. As my husband slept beside me, I opened the paper to the insert honouring the 57 Canadian victims of Flight 752, shot down by a missile in Tehran last week.

I did not want to read it. I did not want to read all the stories, the names, see the photos. I didn’t want to. But, I knew I must. This was the one small thing I could do in this tragedy that leaves me feeling helpless and frightened for the future of our planet.

I lay in bed, tears streaming down my cheeks as I learned about the lives that were lost, about the people who loved them, stories from their co-workers and friends. Though insignificant in the totality of the tragedy, that hour spent reading about their lives made a difference to me. In that act, I could pay tribute to those who died, and their families who must now learn to live with the empty spaces their loved ones once filled.

I am not sure if I could have done it if I was alone in my bed, an empty space beside me.

But I don’t have to think about that as my husband is here, not gone like those who lost their lives on that flight and the countless others who will lose their lives today in other atrocities we humans inflict upon one another every day.

I want to be angry. I want to get mad. To express my sadness and sorrow in ways that make others feel as badly. I want to demand we all ‘wake up’ and stop killing one another.

And I know that none of my demands and assertions I know best will change the world for the better. My anger and blame-throwing will not create a safer, kinder planet. It will not add to the more of what I want to see in this world.

Only Love can do that.

I must choose Love.

Love is the one force, the one presence that is present in it all. In the anger, the sadness, pain, sorrow, grief, despair,

Love is always present.

It flows eternally, waiting forever for us to awaken to the truth of our humanity:  We are not separate beings walking in isolation on a planet made up of many singular people acting as individuals or collectively under individual flags. We are One humanity co-habiting this One planet. A collective humankind that has the power to create life or destroy it.

It is our choice.

When one of us walks in anger, we all feel it. When one of us kills another, the loss is universal. There is no one person to blame, no one country at fault. We are all accountable. All part of the tragedy and the loss of our humanity and the destruction of our planet.

Flight 752 took off from Tehran airport last Wednesday carrying the hopes and dreams of those on board as some travelled towards home and some to new adventures. Those 176 passengers and crew will never come home. They’ll never explore new horizons, never experience their dreams coming true. They’ll never again brush their teeth or tuck their child in bed with a goodnight kiss and a whispered prayer for ‘sweet dreams’. They’ll never again know the feeling of laying in their loved one’s arms or the excitement of running into the arms of their families waiting for them at the arrival gate.

They will never take another breath, another step, another bite of an apple, a pear or the sweetness of life. They are gone and the empty spaces they leave behind will now be filled with the tears of those who carry their memory and struggle to find meaning in the empty spaces they once filled.

I read the stories of the lives lost on Flight 752 on Saturday morning. The space beside me was filled with the comfort of my husband sleeping. And as I read, Love flowed freely, in my tears, my sorrow, my anger and my hope that one day we will choose that which makes life so beautiful and rich. That which makes life worth living –  Love.

Magic. Miracles. And Wonder

I am lying in the bath soaking up the heat and sensations of being immersed.

Thoughts float on the surface of my mind like the bubbles that surround me.

A bubble pops and a thought erupts. “This body covered by my skin is my ecosystem. When I do things, eat things, say things that impact my ecosystem negatively, I am harming my world.”

Fact is, my ecosystem is connected and dependent upon the ecosystems of everyone in my life, everyone I encounter, know, meet, have never met because my ecosystem is not an independent system, it relies upon the ecosystems of the world to live, breathe, move and thrive.”

I know. Heady thoughts while lying in the bath, but sometimes, you just gotta flow where the current goes.

We are all connected. Not just we humans, but the squirrel bouncing from limb to limb of the naked trees outside my window. The river flowing eastward. The snow covering the ground. The Arctic Vortex that covers our city in its ‘cold dome’ right now.

We and it and they are all connected. Interdependent. Intertwined. Participating in, supporting and being part of one universe.

What we do today makes a difference.

What we do with our time, thoughts, actions — it all matters. Not just to each of us individually but to the world and all its inhabitants, everywhere.

I awoke this morning. Arctic air surrounds my home. I am warm inside.

Outside my window, snow covers the ground, the river flows, trees stand naked, cars drive across the bridge towards the city centre.

I do not know exactly what this day will bring. Every moment is a moment for magic to erupt, for miracles to unfold, for the exquisite nature of life to reveal itself again and again.

I can stay open, expectant, excited by the magic or I can close the blinds and stay hunkered down inside the comfort of my home.

And as I type, I spy the unexpected. A bicyclist pedals across the pedestrian bridge towards downtown. It is minus Arctic outside and he is riding his bike through the freshly fallen snow.

I smile.

If I’d closed the blinds I would have missed the moment of wonder of his passing by.

Today, let me live with my eyes wide open to the possibility of magic, miracles and wonder. Let me breathe deeply into the awe of the intricate beauty and unexpected nature of this fragile planet upon which I walk and breathe and live my life connected to the world around me, part of the ecosystem of all.

Namaste

Tofino Solace

Wind blows. Waves crash. Trees bend.

Rain falls from grey sky melting into grey ocean. The horizon is a distant shrouded line drifting effortlessly into infinity.

The view from our room

I am in my happy place. At the edge of the rocks where land meets sea. Where seagulls swoop and the air is kissed by salt and sea.

This place of endless sky brings me home to where I find myself drifting effortlessly into restfulness, peace, tranquillity. In this place, I reflect and refresh. In this place, I settle in beside the fire and let my mind drift into the endless nothingness of being present, being at one with this moment in which I find myself drifting effortlessly into time present, past, future, to all that has brought me here to this moment right now where all of time is wrapped up in this moment, right now.

As the sounds of the bells ringing in the new year fade into the call of a new day unfolding, my heart skips a beat of recognition, of clarity, of excited anticipation. A calendar page turns and the story of my life shimmers with possibility on the spine of calendar days flowing, one into the next, in the story of my life unfolding.

The Lodge at Middle Beach

It was a year of great opportunity. Of growth. Of trial. Of struggle. Of possibility. Of excitement and stretching to find muscles I never new excited within me as I adapted and evolved, shifted and stretched my wings, my horizons, my possibilities. It was a year in which change beckoned and familiarity called me to hold on, to let go, to release and to let be.

It was a year to savour. To give thanks. To be grateful. To be content.

It was time past that was once each moment.

I sit by a roaring fire wrapped in gratitude and ease, the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks outside the windows find the rhythm of my heart and fill my soul with grace. Soft music plays. My beloved sits beside me reading.

I am at peace. I am at rest. I am here. Here I am.

Namaste.

Are you willing to give up control to have what you want in life?

Early morning. Lying in my bed. Comfy. Warm. Cozy.

I listen to the sounds of the house. The gentle breathing of my beloved. Beaumont snuffling in his sleep where he lies on the floor at the side of the bed. The hum of the furnace. The faint, distant thrum of a train rolling westward out of the city. The air feels fluid, soft.

I feel enveloped in a womblike glow of peace, calm, graciousness.

Morning has not yet broken. The day is slow in its awakening.

Sitting at my desk.

Music plays softly in the background. Piano. C, Eb, G, Bb. My desk light casts a warm glow on my fingers. Lights of cars travelling across the bridge sparkle in the early light. The surface of the river shimmers in the light shining on the pathway under the bridge.

Yesterday, there was an ice island forming at the base of the middle abutment. In the warmth of yesterday’s temperature, the ice has disappeared. The river flows freely, moving in harmony with nature’s grace.

Life is like the river. We flow gracefully, effortlessly in its never-ending harmony and then, something happens. A hurt. A loss. A sadness.

We stiffen up. Freeze. And ice begins to clog the flow. Sometimes, in our pain, we isolate. Stand still. Run faster. Resist. Push back against life’s constant flow.

Sometimes, we’ll do it all repeatedly, trying anything everything we can think of in a desperate attempt to stop whatever pain is damning up the flow.

Slowly, like ice forming on the river as winter approaches, we begin to move more labouriously, our hearts become heavy. Our limbs stiffen. Our minds circle again and again, like water in an eddy, around and around we swirl, trying to dislodge whatever is holding us in place, pulling us down. We struggle to control life, forgetting life is not to be controlled. It must be experienced.

And then, spring arrives and we begin to feel the first promising breaths of hope teasing our aching hearts and limbs into motion. Frightened it will not last, we cling a bit more to whatever pattern we’ve developed to keep ourselves safe from feeling the pain of hurts, loss, sadness.

The river flows freely this morning. Moving with the grace of nature. It will freeze again before winter is done, and always, it will thaw in nature’s continuous flowing of the seasons.

My heart is light this morning. Flowing freely in the beauty of nature awakening to the day.

There will be hurts to come (there always are), losses, sadness to experience. And always, when I immerse myself in the flow of life, when I release my resistance, my belief I can control life’s happenings, I am free to flow effortlessly and with grace in life’s unending river dancing in the light of each new day.

Are you willing to release the need to control life and be with the flow?

Let’s flow together!

Namaste.

Dance child, dance.

Perhaps it is the soft glow of the candle burning on the desk beside me as I type.

Or, perhaps the steady stream of lights passing over the bridge, east to west, towards the busyness of the downtown core.

Or maybe the light from under the bridge dancing on the waters of the river flowing inexorably to some far and distant unseen sea.

Or maybe, it is simply the mystical, magical nature of morning.

I awoke this morning, and as happens most days when I sit down to write, I am unaware of the words that will appear, until they appear. My eyes peering into the soft morning glow of dawn easing its way across the sky, I watch the traffic flow, the river dance in the light, the trees stand silent in the lightening dark, and I breathe.

And with each breath, I sink into this moment becoming each moment passing by in one gentle, soothing continuous stream. Time fades away and life flows effortlessly into the gap creating a beautiful song of awakening.

I awoke to poetry this morning. To the dance of words calling me to let go and fall daringly into the mystical grace of nature dancing in wild beauty all around me.

“Dance child, dance,” the music of morning exhorts. And so, I let go and dance.

I hope you join me.

______________________________________

About the title:  Each week, David Kanigan of Live & Learn shares a post titled “Lightly child, lightly,” in homage to Aldous Huxley’s words from his last novel, Island,

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling…”

“Lightly child, lightly”. I love that phrase and co-opted it this morning in the gentle hues of dawn and memory and nature’s beauty awakening to the light.

About the photo:  Every day Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I walk to the off-leash park just around the bend, under the bridge along the river’s edge and wander its woods and trails. Every day, if I remember to take my phone, I take a photo of something that entrances me in the nature of our walk. This photo is what delighted my senses yesterday.

The Perfect Beauty of Imperfection

It can be hard sometimes to see that the life we’re living is the perfect life for us.

We tell ourselves, “Life is not a perfect journey,” and then list the reasons that defend our position.

Too often, our expectations of how life ‘should be’ mar our vision of the beauty in the life that is ours. We grade our path as ‘difficult’ and judge it against the ease of another’s. We compare our foothold on planet earth as filled with hard rock stories and bemoan the bounty we see in someone’s soft landing spot. And then, we tell ourselves we’re not ‘the fortunate’. We’re less than, other than, somehow unworthy of a beautiful life. We’re not like ‘those people’ who seem to breeze through life as if they were born to it.

We are all born to live. We are all born to shine.

It’s just sometimes, we peer so long into the darkness, we forget to turn on the lights. Sometimes, the darkness is so deep, we don’t ever remember there being any light.

At my studio table. Works in progress.

Yesterday, immersed in creative exploration, judging, comparing, bemoaning life’s woes fell away.

Carried in the flow of creative expression, time lost its grip. Beginnings and ends of this moment to the next vanished. I was cut loose from Father Time ticking away the minutes and lost myself to floating on the drift of being in the now.

It was bliss.

All that was present was paint flowing and glitter falling wherever it desired — and if you could see my worktable and studio, you’d appreciate how glitter has its own design, crafting its destiny of sparkling up life with joyful élan!

For ten hours I was in the flow, full of contentment, joy, ease. Alive in the present moment, I felt grace infuse each breath with its delicious beauty.

There was no worry. No fear. No anxiety about the outcome. There was just the pure joy of creating and the exhilaration of letting it happen without thinking about where it was all leading.

Sure, I had an idea. A starting point — in this case, 24 clear glass Christmas balls.

And I had some tools — alcohol inks, glue gun, glitter.

And most importantly, I had the open space of time to experiment, to ask myself, “I wonder what would happen if I did…?” and then, the freedom to follow my wonderment.

I had such a day yesterday. A day where all things felt possible because I was in the flow of life, savouring the journey which, rather than perceiving it as separated into distinct moments, felt unseparated from the moment before and the next to come.

And then….

Well, sometimes, the ease and contentment of that long, continuous, blissful moment can feel so fleeting.

This morning, I awakened and realized I needed to do some touch-ups to what I’d created if… and here’s the catch… if I wanted them to ‘look perfect’.

What if I accept they look unique, a perfect reflection of my creative expression in the moment? Because, quite frankly, to see the imperfections you have to compare this morning’s product against last night’s. (Some of the inks flowed down to the bottom of the balls — the glitter’s still in place though!)

Well… here’s my chance to practice what I preach!

What if, I gave up comparison, judgement, expectations of perfection and breathed into the possibility that there is nothing left to be done to create better. There is only this moment to live in the better of all that is possible when I let go of… you got it… comparison, judgement, expectations.

What if… indeed.

Now that would be bliss. That would be life lit up like glitter on a Christmas ball shimmering in the ordinary grace of the present moment.

This morning, I’m going with acceptance.

How blissful!

The Beautiful Oops!

Good Morning Pear
Mixed media on canvas paper.
9 x 12″
©2019 Louise Gallagher

Artist and teacher Bob Ross calls them, “Happy Little Accidents”. I prefer the name Barney Saltzberg uses in his delightful children’s book, Beautiful Oops!

Sometimes, beautiful oops’es create moments where all we want to do is quit. Or throw away whatever we’re working on and start again.

And then, something happens to change our perspective, to open the doors of our limited thinking and suddenly, that “Oh Gawd, what was I thinking?” becomes a heartfelt “Thank you,” to whatever spiritual being, divinity, energy, or absence of, we believe in.

There were so many times while working on the piece pictured above that my thinking mind wanted me to quit. To give up. To say, “Nah. I’ll just move on to something else, or perhaps, I’ll just paint over the whole thing and begin again.”

It’s always a good thing to expect the unexpected when in the creative flow. It seldom disappoints.

Yesterday, as I was deep into my need to organize myself and my art-making into some semblance of orderly process where I was in control and the creative process was under my domain, a voice deep within me whispered, “You’re stuck. Go change the music.”

Walking over to my studio desk, I opened my laptop and thought, “Well, as I’m here I’ll just check my emails.”

And that’s when the magic happened.

At the top of my Inbox was an email from a lovely man I met while at  The Embodied Present Process (TEPP) retreat in October. His email contained a link to a song and its beautiful invitation to “Loosen. Loosen and let go of the weight of the world”.

In need of the distraction, I hit PLAY and suddenly found myself moving and swaying throughout my studio.

Several songs later I had danced my ‘stuckedness out’ and came back to my work table feeling centered and present in the moment.

Present in the moment that is all that is, I loosened my hold on wanting to organize my life and everything in it and let the muse flow freely.

I am grateful.

I kind of like the Good Morning Pear. 🙂 She pleases my heart and calls me deeper into the mystery of the present moment and the magic of creative expression.

Namaste.