Unfurling

I awoke with the first stanza of this poem drifting through my mind.

When I wrote it down, the second stanza wrote itself out as if it knew its truth long before I heard the words calling.

When I went in search of an image to include with it, the image above was the first image I opened on my computer. It is from the Sheltered Wonder art journal Icreated last year to mark all I’d learned, experienced and grown through during the initial months of our sequestered solitude.

The body knows even when the mind doubts.

Yesterday, in response to a comment by the lovely and thoughtful Kiki, I told her I wished I’d taken a video of the raw journal. And then… while I was looking for something else, I accidentally uncovered the 19 sec video I’d taken of my Learning to Fly art journal before I started to create the images and quotes.

The body knows even when the mind doubts (or as in this case, forgets).

Since completing the LtF journal, I have been working on pieces for the Vale’s Greenhouse, Cultivation of Art Show and Sale I’m in June 18, 19, 20.

Initially, I was hesitant. Worried. Fearful of moving from art journal to canvas.

I love the freedom of the art journal. There is no right or wrong way. There are no rules. Anything goes.

The Canvas… well there my mind starts to impose rules. It has to be ‘good’. Sale-worthy. Meaningful. Impressive…

I balked. Stalled. Procrastinated.

And then I listened to my body. I sank out of my thinking mind into the font of knowing deep within my belly.

Just start, my body whispered. Just start and let whatever is yearning to appear find its way into expression.

And so I did.

And so it has.

And I am reminded again, the body knows even when the mind doubts.

Blossoming – mixed media on canvas board – 10 x 10″
Nurture your dreams – mixed media on canvas board – 10 x 10″

Waiting out the storm

The morning started out cool, damp and gloomy yesterday. As the morning progressed, it didn’t get much better.

By the time Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I went for our long walk, the temperature was still hovering close to freezing.

“I should dress warmly,” I told my rational self.

My irrational self had other ideas. “It’s late May,” that voice inside my head that loves to be contradictory insisted. “You shouldn’t have to bundle up.”

This is Calgary. Snow in May is not uncommon.

In 1986, when I was in the final weeks of my first pregnancy, (my due date was May 28) we were also in the final stages of finishing a renovation on our house. The back end was still covered in a big tarp as our contractor raced to complete construction before I gave birth.

Fortunately, my daughter decided to wait three weeks before putting in her appearance June 19th, but that’s a whole other story.

At the time, we were racing to finish the renovation when the weather decided we needed one last big dollop of winter. And I mean BIG TIME dollop. A HUGE dump of snow.

So yeah. Snow is not uncommon in Calgary in May.

Alas, it’s also not uncommon for my mind to decide it knows better, or to forget being obstinate is not necessarily a good thing.

Which is why, when Beau and I were walking on the path that wends its way through the woods along the river, I had to stop under a tree, pull the linen scarf I wore around my neck primarily for decoration, up over my head, and wait out the sleet that was almost snow. Note to self: linen scarves do not offer much protection from the elements.

Beau had no need to wait. Oblivious to the white stuff falling from the sky, he sniffed and snuffled through the grasses, bound over fallen logs and headed into the river for a drink.

By the time the sleet/snow stopped I was feeling mighty damp. Because I had told myself I didn’t need to wear my fleece lined rain jackiet, my sweater coat offered about as much protection as my linen scarf.

And none of that mattered.

As I stood under the canopy of the forest, I listened to the birds twittering and tweeting in the trees. A pair of Canada Geese honked as they flew overhead. Two ducks floated on the river just out of Beau’s reach. A squirrel complained vociferously about Beau’s presence on his turf. A woodpecker pecked on a tree trunk somewhere close by and the leaves whispered stories of their unfurling as the wind rustled through the branches.

It was magical. Mystical. Beautiful. And, I might have missed feeling, hearing, seeing, experiencing the sounds and sights of the forest so deeply had I not stopped under a tree to wait out the squall.

Which makes me wonder… how much beauty do I miss when I’m busy living my life as if getting to the next moment in time is all that matters? How much of the mystery and wonder do I not experience because I’m busy marching through inclement times determined to better life and get ‘this stuff’ over with so I can get to the ‘good stuff’?

Living on the river reminds me, every day, that it’s not about bracing myself to face every storm as if I can get the better of nature. Nor is it about trying to protect myself from life, or arm myself to avoid falling or getting wet.

It’s about listening to the calling of the trees, the birds and all of nature and allowing all of nature to unfold naturally, effortlessly, calmly, without my trying to control it.

And yes, it’s a good idea to put on a rain jacket when the skies are cloudy and grey. But it’s not the rain jacket that makes life beautiful and magical and full of awe. It’s your attitude.

Whether you storm head first into inclement weather, or wait it out under a tree, being present to all that is around you, savouring the moment full of the sights and sounds of nature, makes all the difference in the world, no matter the weather, or even how well you’re dressed for it.

Namaste.

Leafing Out – Lessons from the canvas

Leafing Out — Mixed media on canvas – 10 x 10″

I find some transitions hard.

Like going from autumn to winter. Here in Alberta it can happen in less than a day, just as spring can pop out and then be burdened again with snow. Some days, like this morning when Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I went for our walk, I’m not prepared for the sudden leap backwards from 22C (72F) yesterday to 3C (37F) this morning – my hands were really cold!

Another transition I find challenging is moving from working in my art journal to a canvas. My mind starts chattering about how ‘There are rules when painting on a canvas.” “A canvas can’t be wasted.” “Make it good.” “Don’t mess up.” “This isn’t as much fun…’

Which is what happened when I went back to working on a painting I’d begun a couple of weeks ago in preparation for an art show I’m in next month.

The under-painting

I had an idea of what it ‘should’ be. Big pops of colourful flowers on the background of smaller flowers I’d already painted.

I worked hard to make my vision come into reality.

But it just wasn’t happening. I felt stiff. Confined. Like it was all just turning to muck and mud.

I took a breath. Stepped back. Made myself a cup of tea and contemplated what was going on.

It wasn’t that the painting was awful. It was that my mindset was full of ‘stinkin thinkin’.

I was getting caught up in my expectations of how it should be, versus allowing whatever was seeking to appear to find its way into expression.

I wasn’t letting it be. I was trying to make it become…

And that’s why I was feeling so frustrated and uncomfortable. That’s why the critter was prattling on about how I couldn’t paint. How I wasn’t good enough. How my art sucked.

To find my inner knowing/intuitive self, I had to shut off my thinking mind and get into my ‘belly brain’. I needed to allow myself to sink deep into my body so that I could be present with the process instead of trying to force it into what I was trying to make it become.

It was a great lesson.

Getting stuck in your head. Dousing yourself in self-judgement. Self-criticism. Self-harshness and a desire to control the outcome all play a role in limiting joy, self-expression, creativity and passion.

To live life fully I must release myself from expectations. I must let go of the outcome to fall deeply into the process of being alive in this moment. Right now. Unfolding in all its ineffable mystery.

When I hold on too tightly to the outcome, I lose sight of where I am, what I’m doing, how I’m being in this moment right now.

I’m pretty sure spring leaves don’t tell the tree, I’ll only leaf out if I can be 3 inches long, two inches wide and a certain green hue. And they definitely don’t say, “Oh. And I’ll only unfurl if you promise to not make me turn orange and fall later in the season.” They leaf out fully immersed in the journey of leafing out.

To be fully immersed in my life, I must release my need to control the journey and throw myself with wild abandon into each moment unfurling in the deep unfathomable mystery of life.

Namaste

.

Brave Beauty

Brave Beauty

Late spring snow
melts
velvet purple petals
preen
eager green grasses
shoot
out of winter moist soil

And the seasons turn
and the sun shines
warm
and Mother Nature
dances
as my heart
expands
to embrace
brave beauty
budding
up
out of the ground.

As I sit at my desk this morning I watch two robins chase each other through the trees. An opportunistic squirrel, taking advantage of what I assume to be their amorous intentions, raids the birdfeeder while chickadees hop along the fence, tweeting and twittering. I think they’re telling the squirrel to get lost.

A man in an inflatable raft drifts into view on the river. He drifts with the current, a fishing line trailing behind him as he uses one oar to gently guide him along. He passes in front of my window, under the bridge and out of sight. I imagine him full of hope.

And the trees stand still. Yesterday’s breezes gone. Buds are appearing along their branches, tiny shoots of hope leafing out in possibility.

High above, the blue sky is dotted with islands of fluffy white clouds that lay seemingly motionless, like a warm woolly blanket covering the earth below.

And I awaken.

There is much to be done today. I am in spring cleaning mode.

The deck. The storage area in the back of our basement. Both done.

Today, after my prerequisite morning walk with Beaumont the Sheepadoodle, I tackle the granddaddy of all cleaning chores. The garage. There are closets and cupboards that also need my ministrations but they can wait for a rainy day. The weather folk have promised a warm, almost hot for this time of year in this northern clime, day. It’s a good day to clean the garage.

Later, after I’ve soaked off the dust and grime from the garage in a leisurely bath, I shall venture into my studio and keep working on pieces for an art show I’m in this June.

I have a lot to do. My body of ‘saleable’ work not yet big enough.

I used to joke that you could always tell when I was writing. My toilet was sparkling!

It was my avoidance tactic.

And I wonder…

Is cleaning out the garage (or scrubbing the toilet for that matter) avoidance or preparation?

I’m choosing to reframe it as ‘brave preparation’.

Creative expression requires presence.

Presence requires full embodiment in the moment.

Embodiment calls for ridding my thinking mind of clutter.

So… I clean and clear and declutter.

It is a brave thing to do.

To create I must dare to release myself from thinking mind directives and allow myself to flow, unguided, along the river of creativity that courses through my veins and the air around me. I must allow myself to be carried on the current, like the fisherman in his raft. Trolling for nothing but a little nibble of an idea to seed itself in the fertile soils of my imagination.

I am cleaning out the garage this morning.

I am stepping into the beauty of brave creativity.

He Gave Her Words

He Gave Her Words – mixed media on canvas paper 9 x 12″

Yesterday, when I stepped into the sheltering welcome of my studio, the muse whispered a tantalizing thought “He gave her words.”

Curious, I followed her lead.

I tore a page from an old book I keep on hand for just such occasions. I pulled out my GelliPad (a rubbery mat used for mono printing) and laid some colour down. Using the round end of a paintbrush, I drew a vase and flowers, laid the book page down and pulled a print.

The words on the page showed through. Cool. I kept going.

Pulled out a piece of deli paper, laid some more paint down (mostly darks), made more marks and pulled another print.

On the canvas paper page of my art journal, I collaged strips of paper from an old dictionary onto the page. The words defined on the torn strips all had to do with flowers. I collaged the deli paper printed page and then the printed book page onto the background and set to work creating a cohesiveness to the piece with paint pens, markers and fingerpainting – I had decided, somewhere in the process, that I wouldn’t use any brushes on this page. So I didn’t.

When I was finished, I placed my hands on the page, took a breath, closed my eyes and asked, “What words do you yearn to release?”

And the poem below came into being.

I am sharing my ‘process’ because it is, in so many ways, a reflection of life. We start with a desire to live life as best we can. We set goals. Follow dreams. Discover and use our talents. We gain knowledge. Expertise. Experiences. We layer on wounds. Scars. Cracks. They form the stories we tell ourselves about why or how we can or can’t do something. Those stories, made up of all the words we use to tell them to ourselves, again and again, create pathways, ruts, habits. Sometimes, we question their existence. Often, we accept them as natural limitations.

And then, one day, if we’re lucky or if we’ve hit such a devastating patch we cannot fathom how we will go on, we have no other choice but to start questioning the stories we’ve told ourselves about how we got to this dark and foreboding place. In our questioning, we start to unravel the words that formed those limiting beliefs that trapped us in believing this, this place where we feel so lost and alone and hopeless, is really all there is. Isn’t there more?

And then, if we’re really, really quiet, if we’re really, really still, we hear that voice deep within calling us to awaken. To open our eyes and heart and arms to the infinite mystery of who we are when we stop questioning our right to live wild and free and outrageously ourselves.

That’s when we begin the journey back to our truth. To the stories we tell ourselves, not of our limitations but of our limitless capacity to live wild and free and outrageously ourselves.

Yesterday, I stepped into the studio and the muse whispered, “He gave her words.”

I did not question, “What does that mean?”

I did not ask myself, “How on earth am I going to create something around ‘that’.”

Instead, I dove in. I let my intuition, my inner knowing guide me, unquestioning, into the creative expression of the muse’s invitation. I allowed ‘whatever yearns to appear’ to appear as I expressed myself without limiting my expression of my intuition by listening to all I tell myself I know about words and making sense of them or art and all I know about making it happen.

I stepped into the studio yesterday. I let go of ‘knowing’ and allowed myself to be present to the process of unveiling the mystery of what was seeking to be revealed.

And in the end, isn’t that what life is? A journey of exploration? A great mystery to be revealed with every step we take in its unfolding? Wild and free and outrageously ourselves.

He Gave Her Words
by Louise Gallagher

He gave her words
ripe and plump
full 
of plundered promises
plucked
from the strings
of memory
playing a melody
he vowed would never die
with the turning of each season.

He gave her flowers
colourful and bright
full
of tomorrows
never-ending
cast upon indolent days
spent languishing
beneath a summer sun
burning
hot against her skin.

He gave her promises
vanishing
like flowers 
wilting
beneath autumn’s kisses
bleeding colours 
dry
fallen
upon the frozen ground
of winter’s ice-cold breath.

He gave her words.
She gave her heart.

His words faded.
Plucked dry.

Her heart beats.
Fierce and free
of his words.

To Love Yourself Completely: Part 2

To love yourself completely, begin with finding beauty in the broken places. Layers of Love – mixed media on canvas board – 7 x 9″

Yesterday, I posed the question at the end of Part 1 of To Love Yourself Completely, “Knowing what you know now, what are you willing to do to love yourself completely.”

It’s such a delicious question. So invitingly full of possibilities.

I mean, think about it, knowing what you know now, knowing how important it is to love yourself completely, the paths to self-love are endless.

As are, it feels at times, the places within where ‘unlove’ exist in constant disharmony. Those wounded places where self-neglect and shame and other signs of self-abhorrence hideout and manifest themselves in harmful ways that diminish your light and leave you feeling less-than and unworthy, angry and discontented, sad and weary…

They don’t hideout in your heart, those wounded places. They’re buried deep within your psyche, swimming in a sea of emotional angst infecting every facet of your being with their angst-riddled ways. Their presence robs you of knowing and sharing your talents, gifts, beauty and light with passionate abandon.

What will you do to love yourself completely?

For me, the studio is where I come home to my heart, where my mind stills its constant chatter and I become embodied in the infinite beauty of being all I am in the present moment.

Yesterday was no different.

As I began to create, I knew I wanted to explore the question. What will I do?

Not holding myself to a set idea or plan, I gathered random items to work with. A dryer sheet. A delicate piece of crocheted lace my mother had given me. A broken chain from a necklace I’d used when I made my wedding bouquet (it was made of brooches and necklaces from family and friends). Some painted papers. A leaf I’d printed on a piece of fabric. A page from a book of poems that belonged to my father on which I’d drawn a heart-shape and other bits of ephemera including a bit of painted paper from one of my paper dolls.

I got out acrylics, inks, watercolours, my sewing machine and let my imagination run wild as I zigzag stitched items together and glued them onto a canvas board I’d painted at the start.

When I was done, I sat quietly, eyes closed and rested my hands on top of the completed piece.

What is your story? I asked it. What truth are you revealing?

The answer drifted effortlessly up from the font of wisdom that is always present deep within my belly. Or, perhaps it floated down from the collective consciousness that connects us all (I don’t consciously know where it came from – it just appeared, as truth often does)

To love yourself completely, begin with finding beauty in the broken places.

Ahhh yes. My heart sighed. Truth.

And my body embraced it as my mind quietened and rolled the words around and around.

Find beauty in the broken places.

There are so many, my mind whispered.

And my heart replied, “They are all so beautiful to me.”

Namaste

____________________________

I shared this piece yesterday with an art journalling group I belong to. One of the members called it – Layers of Love — it fit so beautifully. Thank you Pamela W. ❤

Walking In Prayer

I found a wounded bird yesterday.

A girlfriend and I had met for a walk. I’d started at the off-leash so Beaumont wouldn’t feel too constrained walking for an hour on-leash. We headed east, along the path that winds its way along the river, my friend and I chatting and catching up. Beaumont walking beside us (between tugs on the leash). We walked about forty-five minutes in one direction before turning around to walk back to our starting point.

It was then that we spied the bird. Its tiny red and black feathered body lying in the middle of the sidewalk. Shivering. Barely breathing. Almost still.

We couldn’t leave her so I used one of Beau’s bags to gently pick her up and cradle her in my hands. I could feel her tiny heart beating fast. She was alive.

So we kept walking back to our cars in the hope that she was simply stunned by an encounter with another bird or perhaps a car.

As we walked, I kept breathing on her while my girlfriend held Beau’s leash.

As we walked, I whispered words of encouragement and hope over her tiny, inert body.

I pray for you wings to fly free. I pray for you blue sky days. And whether you body recovers and you flutter your wings or take your last breath dreaming of flight, know that you are held in hands full of Love.

Step. Breathe warm air onto her body. Step. Breathe warm air onto her body.

A walking prayer.

She still wasn’t moving by the time we got back to our cars so I tucked her gently onto the front passenger seat, ensured the seat warmer was on and Beau and I drove home.

At home, C.C. found a box for her. I lay my electric heating pad in the bottom, covered it with a towel and carefully removed the plastic bag I’d carried her in while I placed her on the warm bed we’d made.

As she settled into the nest she opened her eyes and looked at me. She wasn’t shivering any more. She just wasn’t moving very much.

I waited awhile to see if her strength returned. She moved around a bit but never tried to spread her wings.

As I’ve done in the past when I’ve found wounded wildlife, I called the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conversation (AWIC) for guidance. They rescue injured and orphaned wildlife throughout the province and provide professional care to support the rehabilitation and release of all rescued wildlife. During the day, they have volunteers who will come and pick up the animals, but, if there are no volunteers available, they have a network of vets in the city where you can take the animal for care until AIWC can pick it up in the morning.

Always, whenever I’ve called AWIC, the volunteer at the end of the line has been kind, helpful, caring.

Always, the experience has reminded me of the importance of taking care of one another.

Birdsong, watching the songbirds hop about in the bushes and trees in our backyard, spying them sitting on branches as I walk, always brings me joy. It’s as if the birds know we humans need their song and presence to lift our spirits.

We need to take care of the birds.

We found a wounded bird yesterday. I carried her in my hands and breathed warm air onto her almost weightless body,

She reminded me of how easy it is to take care of one another. How sharing a smile, a kind word, a gentle gesture eases the burden for those who have fallen along life’s paths.

I do not know if that bird will fly again or if she will gain her angel’s wings. I do know the songs she sang, the joy she brought into this world is a gift of nature that matters to our world.

Whether she takes to the skies again or gains her angel wings, I am grateful for our time together. She reminded me of the need to always walk gentle of heart, connected to nature.

Learning to live in harmony with nature is critical to the survival of our species. Living in harmony begins with taking care of one another.

We found a wounded bird yesterday. Her song was silent. Her wings still.

In our brief time together she reminded me of the need to care for one another. She reminded me that there is power in prayer.

And in that encounter, I am reminded of the constancy of my mother’s prayers. Tomorrow marks one year since my mother took her last breath. As I sit in the silence of the morning, as I walk in the woods, along the river, on busy city streets, I hear her whispered incantations showering me with care. They rustle in my heart like a sweet, gentle birdsong filling the air with Love.

Musings on a Cold Winter’s Morning

I had my hopes up. I was excited.

And then I checked the weather before taking Beaumont for his early morning walk. Still cold. -30C with windchill (-22F)

Dang. The weather folk said it would be warmer today. Now I’ve got to wait another day?

Nothing to do but do what I always do when it’s this cold. Bundle up. Go outside. Savour the beauty of the morning.

And that’s the thing. No matter how cold it is outside, dressing for the weather means I can enjoy the fresh morning air. I can enjoy the sound my boots make crunching on the snow and how the crisp air wakens all my senses. And, when Beau has done his business and we have crossed the bridge to get to the garbage can on the other side and turned around for the homeward journey, we return to a warm toasty home.

Inside, I give Beau a treat, make myself a latte and sit down at my desk in front of the big window over looking the river. The furnace hums. Beau stretches out on the chaise beside me and C.C. sleeps in our bedroom on the other side of the house. All is well with my world.

Outside, the sky is getting lighter. The trees stand in silent majesty along the riverbank separating our yard from the river’s wide expanse. Between the two shores and the huge ice island that has formed in the centre of the river, water flows. In the streak of light cast from the streetlight at the farside of the bridge Beaumont and I walked across earlier, the water shimmers and dances.

I breathe. Deeply. I allow my conscious mind to sink deep, deep into my belly where every breath in and out is an invitation to release myself to this present moment. Embodied in its wonder I sink deeper into the knowing of all that is and all that connects me to the mysterious beauty of life unfolding all around and within me.

Eyes still closed, I raise my fingertips to my keyboard and begin to type. I feel…

 I feel…
 my heart beat
 slowing
 my mind
 emptying
 my thoughts
 drifting away

 I feel…
 this moment
 teeming with life
 ever expanding
 out, out, out into the universe around me

 I feel…
 peace
 calm
 joy
 settle deep within me

 I feel
 at one
 connected
 present
 alive
 in this moment
 right now

I feel
complete 

Try it.

All you need is your laptop open in front of you, or a notepad and pen at the ready.

Let yourself sink deep into the quiet. Take a deep breath in, out. Close your eyes. Keep breathing. Keep sinking. Deeper. Deeper. Keep breathing. Imagine your conscious mind sinking, deeper, deeper into your body until it comes to settle in the well of your pelvic bowl. That deep mysterious, magical place full of your creative essence.

Now, eyes still closed… pick up your pen or raise your fingertips to your computer keyboard. Don’t worry about spelling. punctuation. sentence structure. just type/write. Don’t think. Just be present to whatever your belly mind wants to express.

Let go of judgement. Thinking about what to write. Just let the words flow.

Write until you’re empty. Complete.

And when you’re done, open your eyes. Take a deep breath and read whatever you’ve written.

Don’t judge. Don’t criticize. Don’t let your body go all tight and embarassed. Expand it. Loosen your shoulders. Relax.

And savour what spilled out onto the page.

And then, turn the page.

Life continues.

_____________________________________

I wrote a love poem yesterday. It’s for you and me and everyone.

If you’d like to read/see it, I’ve put it on my poetry blog – A Poetry Affair. It’s a gift from my heart to yours. Click HERE

The Story of Love

I lay in bed this morning, in that space between drifting and awake, my mind rootless, unfocussed.

Images floated through like the chunks of ice that keep floating past on the river’s surface, eventually drifting out of sight, disappearing into an unseen future, perhaps melting or getting stuck in an ice block somewhere upriver.

Like my thoughts. Drifting aimlessly until one comes into view and gets stuck in mental gymnastics.

“You can never begin at the beginning again.”

My mind jumped into alertness. “Of course you can,” it insisted.

The thought had other ideas. “Every beginning drifts into the ending becoming a new beginning. The beginning is gone, changed, morphed into something else. To begin at the beginning again, you must wind back all of time, all of what has transpired between the beginning and the moment you decide to begin again. And you cannot wind back time to make everything exactly as it was when you began. You have changed. The air around you has changed. Life has changed. That’s what life does.”

Seriously? Sometimes the thoughts in my mind are a bit too heady for my heart.

At that moment, Beaumont the Sheepadoodle decided he needed to go out and came and stuck his wet nose in my face.

I got up and left the heady thoughts on my pillow.

At least, that’s what I imagined I did.

Until I sat down at my computer and started to type and the thoughts from when I first began to awaken came hurtling back into my mind.

I can’t quite grasp them the way they appeared earlier. I tried. To go back to the beginning of the thought. But time, and awakening, going outside into the cold winter air while the sky was still dark and the air was filled with sounds of the river passing by changed the beginning, making it impossible to rewind my thinking back to the precise space where the thoughts began.

It’s a grey on grey kind of morning. Dark river flowing between white earth. Withered trunks of winter bare trees standing against a bleak tone-on-tone landscape, their leafless limbs extended up into a bleached sky. The delicate fronds of their outer limbs interlace with one another like the filigree of a necklace my mother gave me long ago. It was from India. A gold slipper of exquisitely interwoven strands of gold.

I no longer have that slipper. It was lost to a time when my world crashed into chaos I feared would never end.

The chaos ended but I could never go back to the beginning to unwind the devastation and pain of those years of terror and abuse. 

I could only go forward, gently weaving the many strands of that story into The Story of My Life – one where I live fearlessly and authentically in the beauty of my heart beating fiercely in Love with all of me, my life and everyone and everything in it.

Yesterday, I saw a meme on Instagram that asked, “What’s one thing from your past you wish you’d never done?”

My answer is, ‘Nothing.’

I can’t change the things I’ve done. Nor do I want to. Everything in my life has served its purpose of bringing me here, to this place. I am not powerful enouh to unwind time back to a given point where I can weave a different story of my life. This story. This one I live today was created through all the strands, all the darkness and light, the pain and joy, the hardship and ease I’ve experienced.

I love the story of my life today. It’s the only one I’ve got.  It is a story of Love.

And so, I do what I can do, must do, to keep Love flowing freely throughout my world and my being present, in this moment right now, connected through and in Love with all the world around and within me. I weave beauty out of what was and what is, letting Love be the warp and weave of all I create, all I do, all I am.

Namaste.

About the Zine - Created with one sheet of 9 x 12 mixed media paper, the backgrounds were monoprinted with acrylic paint. I used acrylic inks and gold pen along with gold foil to create the hearts. 
The story grew out of the paintings. 
The video was a 'just for fun' way to stretch my creative muscles.

Perhaps…

The muse and I have an agreement.

She flows. I open. Myself. The floodgates. The doors. The windows. The entrances to my heart, my mind, my body, my being present. Here.

And in all that is opened up I lose the need to know what word, what thought, what idea comes next and simply allow. The word, the thought, the idea to appear.

This morning, I sat at my desk. My final eggnog latte of the season steamed in my Christmas mug, (final because the container is empty). Beaumont the Sheepadoodle curled up at my feet, piano music played softly all around, the furnace hummed, my husband slept in our bed.

Outside my window, the sun was kissing the night good-bye with rose-streaked kisses.

I sat at my desk and welcomed in the morning with a soul-satisfying breath. It sank, deep, deep into my belly. Softly, silently, it flowed with ease into my lungs, down, down into the crucible of my body, And as I breathed in, then out, I felt my conscious mind sinking down, down into the presence of the sacredness of this life-giving ritual of breathing. With each breath, in and out, I felt my entire being expand into every cell of my body bringing me effortlessly into the hallowed nature of this moment at the edge of day dawning.

And the words poured out.

 Perhaps 
 ©2020 Louise Gallagher
  
 In a rush to make-meaning
 in all that has happened
 in all that has gone wrong
 or right
 in all that has been lost
 or gained
 I lose
 myself
 in the desperate struggle
 to not feel
 the loss
 of all I tell myself
 has been lost.
  
 Perhaps in my struggle
 to make it all
 make sense
 or have a purpose
 or fit into a box
 that only I can see
 I lose sight of
 all I cannot see.
  
 Perhaps, the meaning
 is in the experience.
  
 Perhaps, the making sense
 does not make sense.
  
 Perhaps, when I allow
 the purpose of everything
 to be the experience
 of everything
 without holding on
 to it all
 without fearing
 losing
 it all
 without judging it
 good or bad
 acceptable or unacceptable
 necessary or unnecessary
 I will find myself
 in that liminal space
 where all I have
 and all I am
 and all I know
 are nothing
 more than
 all I have to let go of.
  
 And, perhaps
 when I let go
 of naming
 all I have
 all I lost
 all I won
 all I know
 I will find myself
 in all I am.
  
 Perhaps then I will experience
 the all that I am
 as the most 
 precious 
 gift
 of all.