Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


And so it is. Beginnings. Endings. And in between transition.

And so it is. An ending. A beginning. And in between, transitions.

An ending:  I am no longer the Interim Executive Director of the family homeless shelter where I work.

A beginning.  Still unplanned. Unscheduled. But it is there. Simmering. Shimmering. Quivering. The space of the unknown. That place of possibility. Dreams. Vision. That place where my creative expressions unleash my psyche to dance naked in the light of each new day dawning. Where my soul knows I belong. Where my heart knows its home is right here, within me.

More than knowing what it will look like, I am beginning this journey with how I want to feel. How I want to be. Excited. Challenged. Creative. Inspired. All jazzed up. I want to wake up each morning and leap out of bed, imagining that I am stepping onto creative landmines that explode with opportunity, that challenge my concepts of who I am and propel me into being all I am when I am living within the fires of creativity unbounded.

And first, the transition.

I am spending the next six weeks supporting the new ED and finishing off a couple of projects.  No title. Just ‘Consultant’.

More transition.  I’ll spend the summer, unplanned, uncharted. Except for a trip to the coast to spend as much time as possible with my grandson and his family, and on the way, a stop-over to visit dear friends in the Shuswap and to take in some wine tasting.  I’ll hop on over to the islands to visit my sister and her husband. Maybe even visit Tofino, but I may save that for C.C. and me in the fall with Beaumont!

The beauty of unplanned time. Anything is possible.

As I sit at my desk this morning, watching the river flow past, the sun-bruised morning sky begins to lighten. Cars intermittently travel across the bridge from the west towards the east, where the downtown waits. A bird chirps in a tree, welcoming the morning.

And I am….

I am me.

And I feel….

Now that’s the question for the day. How do I feel?  I feel a mixture of anticipation. Joy. Sadness. Uncertainty.

How will I be with this new person walking into my old role? How will I respond?

Over the past few weeks I have been practicing, ‘releasing’. Letting go of any expectations I might have held that I could stay in the role longer. Releasing any hurts and sadness I’m not.

In releasing, space has been created for this new way of being in the same place to arrive and enliven me with its sense of anticipation and possibility for my uncharted future.

As I drifted into meditation this morning, I asked myself two simple questions to set my intention for this day, week and the weeks until I completely transition out of being here to being in the next as yet unmapped ground of being somewhere else:

How do I want to feel?

I want to feel grateful. Gracious. Calm. Inviting.

I want to feel that feeling of satisfaction that comes from knowing it was, a job well done.

That feeling that says, ‘my time here is done, and that’s perfectly okay with me now.’

I want to feel complete.

What do I want to create?

I want to create a space for the new ED to feel like this decision she has made to step into this role is the best decision she’s ever made in her life. I want to create a space where she feels my support and the support of all the leadership team. I want to create opportunity for sharing, of ideas, knowledge, experiences where she can learn of ‘what has happened in the past’, so that she is free to create an exciting new future for the organization, the families we serve and all the staff.

I want to feel like I am not ‘in the way’, but part of a transition that is creating better for the future, for everyone. And, as I near the end of my transition time, I want to feel like letting go is the most natural thing to do. That letting go is all there is left to do to step away and feel, ‘complete’.

I have awoken to a brand new day this morning. I sit at my desk where I sit every morning at this time and watch the river flow past. Right now, there are no cars on the bridge. No people walking or biking. Ther is only the river flowing past, the trees struggling to find their springlike finery. There is only the sun-bruised sky lightening and the birdsong calling me to awaken.

There is…. only Love.

I am grateful.



Heeding the Muse’s Calling.

Alochol ink on Yupo paper
5 x 7″
2019 Louise Gallagher

I created yesterday. Spent the day in my studio immersed in colour and texture and tone and joy. I gave way to the muse and let my senses be inspired by the calling of the wild.

Originally, I had planned on taking Friday off in preparation for the Art Show I’m in May 10 – 11. And then, a couple of meetings got scheduled that I needed to attend in preparation for the new Executive Director’s arrival at the family homeless shelter where I work, and I decided to switch up my schedule.

I’m grateful I heeded the guidance of the Artist’s Way Creativity Card I pulled in the morning, “We must have the patience to listen to ourselves carefully.”

In the past, I probably would have just let my day off go. I would have told myself, “It’s okay. Work comes first.” It was easier to give into the belief “I need to be at work” than to ask myself, “What do I need?”

Yesterday, even though I was up and getting ready for my day, I decided to stop and listen. I took my day-off yesterday.

It was soul-enriching.

The beauty of coming to the end of my tenure in this role as Interim Executive Director, and of having my ‘rejuvenation through retirement’ on the near horizon is that I am continually working on releasing.

Releasing my need to be involved in everything.

Releasing my compulsion to think about work 24/7. To check emails on weekends and the evenings. To respond to phone calls out of office hours, unless it’s an emergency.

I am releasing.

It is a process. One that I am consciously engaging with in order to ensure that as I transition from 9 to 5  to I’m on my rejuvenation time, I am building my resiliency muscles in preparation of open space.

It is something I’m learning I need to do as I listen deeply to the messages within me that percolate into consciousness as I explore what it means to be leaving the full-time workforce for this yet undefined space of retirement.

I think, buried deep within me, is the fear that with open space I’ll do nothing with my life.

And doing something with my life has been a life-long driving force within me.

Which makes me smile and do a little happy dance as I acknowledge the dichotomy of that belief! I love living a life of purpose. I just don’t think it’s healthy to believe, as I have tended to do, that living ‘on purpose‘ is what makes my life and me, have meaning.

My purpose isn’t to make meaning or even to give meaning to my life. Every life has meaning because every life is important.

The purpose of being alive isn’t to live each moment on purpose. It’s to be purposeful in living each moment, taking each breath so that we can each live, actively engaged within the light and darkness of our lives, savouring the ascents and descents, the intricacies and simplicities.

Sometimes, my capacity to be actively engaged will be at 3. Sometimes at 10. And that’s okay as long as I am consciously living my 3 or 10 with love.

Ultimately, life’s meaning is not found in what we do. Its richness is discovered in the love that fills our hearts as we live each day.  It’s the how not the what.

We do not need to give meaning to our lives nor make meaning happen in our lives. The meaning is already there in our human presence.

As I’m learning as I journey along this transition road, life isn’t about filling each moment with things to do. It’s to be conscious of the value of the things I chose to do and to cherish the joy of being present in doing them.