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.

February Woman – Full of Grace

February – #ShePersisted 2021 Calendar https://etsy.com/ca/dareboldlyart

There is a video circulating on social media of Marta C Gonzalez, who in her prime during the 1960s, was a prima ballerina with the New York Ballet Company. She passed away in 2019 after many years of living with Alzheimer’s Disease. Just before her death, she was given headphones to hear Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, which she had performed in 1967.

The body remembers what the heart knows.

In the video, as Ms Gonzalez listens deeply to the music, her hands begin to flutter in her lap and then rise, higher and higher. Gracefully, seemingly effortlessly, she stretches out her arms and they float like angel’s wings through the air around her.

And with each note, she moves through the dance of her younger years from where she sits in the wheelchair that moved her through the world in her final days.

The body remembers. The heart knows.

Alexis’ social media post.

Yesterday, my daughter Alexis posted a beautiful passage on her social media about this time of waiting. Waiting for Covid to pass. Waiting to see our loved ones again. Waiting to be free to move out into the world without fearing this dreaded virus.

We are all waiting.

How we wait. How we move through these days of rising caseloads and deaths matters. A lot.

It matters because every life on earth matters. A lot.

It matters because we are all connected. And in that connection our survival matters.

It matters that as of this moment when I write this post, 55,514,668 human beings have been taken ill by this virus. 1,335,279 have not survived. I wrote those number 45 minutes ago when I began this post. Those numbers are now – 55,531,335 cases 1,335,467 deaths)

It matters because when we move beyond the confines of our homes, step out of our safe little bubbles into our communities, we are affecting the life of every single person we come in contact with.

We can be carriers of hope or carriers of unwitting illness.

It is our decision.

Yes, we will get through this. And, though there are days when I rail against the limitations, when all I want to do is visit a friend, or have dinner in a restaurant with my beloved or travel west to see my daughter and her family, I know that what I do right now matters.

And how I go through it matters. A lot.

I can rail against the confines of these times, this virus, this life of narrowing options. Or, like Marta Gonzalez, I can allow the music of my heart to be heard and felt and known. I can act with grace. Because, even though my beloved and I have made the decision to once again sequester in solitude at home, grace has not left the house.

And so, just as my daughter teaches in the words she wrote, I call upon patience, kindness, consideration and above all, grace, to move us through these difficult days so that one day, soon I hope, we can all breathe easily again.

And when we do, may our bodies remember what our hearts know. We loved one another and took care of each other in the darkness and the light.

And when these times have passed, as they surely will, may the stories we tell remind us of how, even when grief and fear and sadness and loneliness and uncertainty filled our world, we danced with grace through it all.

Namaste

And, just in case you haven’t seen it, here is the video of Marta C. Gonzalez dancing Swan Lake. There is a moment at the beginning where her hands begin to move and then collapse onto her lap. When the gentleman kisses her hand with such loving grace, she begins again to dance. So beautiful.

January’s #ShePersisted Woman – 12 Days of A Calendar

January Woman #ShePersisted Series 2021 Calendar

There was a time when my silence caused me pain. When speaking up felt too dangerous, too complicated.

My critter mind kept repeating, “Speaking up makes you a target. Be quiet.”

Fortunately, the critter and I have evolved and while it still likes to have its say, the voice of inner wisdom has the vote that counts.

And that vote is always to support me in living true to who I am. To my values, principles and beliefs.

Which is why the January Woman is such a powerful message for me.

My voice matters. Your voice matters. All our voices matter. Even those I don’t agree with. We all matter.

My job isn’t to teach others how to speak up. It’s to ensure that when I speak, my voice fosters truth, honesty, respect and kindness.

For years, I had a note posted above my desk that read: It’s my responsibility to turn up, pay attention, speak my truth (with loving-kindness) and stay unattached to the outcome.

Not always easy.

Sometimes, I want to scream at the world to stop being so blind, so cruel, so ugly.

Sometimes, I want my voice to matter more.

A few years ago, while doing community engagement work for a not-for-profit that managed housing for individuals exiting homelessness, I faced an angry crowd who had convened a Town Hall to share their opposition to the NFP’s apartment building in their community.

At our first meeting together I was confronted with about sixty people, the majority of whom did not want the people living in the apartment building anywhere near their families, homes, lives.

They screamed and yelled and threw insults while I stood alone at the front of the room.

Whenever I had the chance to speak, I calmly asked people to please not yell. “I can’t hear you when you yell,” I said. “And I really want to hear what you have to say.”

I repeated my request several times over the 2 hour meeting and while I can’t say it was easy, I do know it turned out better than if I’d put up a wall of defences around me, Stood in silence or yelled back or stormed out of the meeting.

My putting up a wall of defences would have prevented me from being present to their fear, confusion, worry, anxiety.

My standing in silence would have meant I was standing in fear which would have added to the fear already present in the room.

My yelling back would have inflamed the situation more as would walking out (though there were moments it was all I wanted to do).

Every voice in that room mattered. Every voice deserved to be heard — and the fact is – I can’t hear people when they’re yelling at me (I don’t think many of us can). My mind shuts down, my body tenses and my heart races as my fear rises up to swallow me whole.

I wasn’t there to stop people from speaking up.

I was there to create space for every voice to be heard. Including mine.

I was there to listen to everything they had to say. To their fears and concerns as well as their ideas on how ‘the problem’ could be fixed.

And while the solution was not what they originally wanted, (move out), over time, through keeping the conversation going, respectful interactions and opening up to possibility, the outcome became something far better than could have been imagined in that original meeting — a community where everyone felt safe. Where differences were accepted and where every voice mattered.

In the past, I have lowered my voice and stayed silent when fear engulfed me.

In the past, I have flung my anger at others like daggers to their heart.

In the past, I have used my voice without conscious choice.

No more.

Today, I choose to keep my voice raised to create a more loving and kinder world.

Today, I choose to drop the daggers and instead, fling my words out into the world like a fisherwoman casting a net of silk onto the seas full of the hope that what I cast out will calm turbulent waters and bring back to me tenfold what I send out. Love.

__________________________

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/dareboldlyart

My North Star

No 1 #ShePersisted Series – They said she had attitude. They said she couldn’t change the world. She Persisted.

When I started the #ShePersisted Series it was my quiet rebellion, my line in the sand, my statement of Enough. The time has come.

It was inspired by reading about how Senator Elizabeth Warren was treated in the Senate and deciding I had to do something.

My something came through creative expression.

No 8. #ShePersisted Series – They said, don’t make waves. She rocked the boat. (August in 2021 calendar)

I began with thinking I’d create a painting that stated in visual-storytelling my position.

One painting. That was all I intended to create.

And then, the muse kept visiting and whispering ideas into my head and I kept creating.

It tapered off over the past year, the compelling need to create more within the series. Not because the world had suddenly decided to rid itself of prejudice and inequality and discrimination and a host of other societal woes that keep people in the places that hurt them, that limit their possibilities and stifle their capacity to speak up and be heard.

That hasn’t happened yet.

For whatever reason it tapered off… it’s back.

No 18. #ShePersisted Series – They said just accept it. You can’t change it. She didn’t accept it and chose instead to transform her world. (March 2021 Calendar)

The purpose to my creative expression.

I have always believed that life is creative by nature. The evolutionary path of our world has been driven by the creative impulse to create better.

In my life, visual and written story-telling has been at the bedrock of my self-expression. It is my pathway to fulfill on my desire to create better. It is my confidence-builder, idea generator and my ballast.

It is my North Star.

There was a time, especially in my 20s, when I tried to ignore my creative-drive. I’d bury it beneath trying to fit in, to be part of the norm, to appear like I was ‘playing the game’ in a way that made me more acceptable to the world around me.

No. 46 #ShePersisted Series – They said, you can’t do that. She said, of course I can. And she did. (December 2021 Calendar)

It wasn’t until my 40s when I accidentally picked up a paintbrush and started to paint with my eldest daughter, who at the time was about 15, that I discovered the lie I’d always told myself (I have no artistic ability. I’m a writer not an artist) just wasn’t true.

I am an artist by nature and design. I am happiest when I am telling stories that inspire, not just verbally but in visual mediums too. And, no matter the medium, I want to tell stories that stir the pot. Stories that awaken us and connect us through our shared humanity to all that is magnificent and beautiful about our world.

And here’s what I realize after spending the past few days with the #ShePersisted Series…

No. 43. #ShePersisted Series – They said, don’t you worry your pretty little head about the state of the world. We’ll take care of it. She made up her mind to make a difference in the world. And she did.

It doesn’t matter if we are going through tough economic times, times of social or political change or the times of Covid or any other remarkable times. What matters is what each of us does, every moment of every day, to create better in the world.

And that’s where the #ShePersisted Series brings me to. That place where I am on fire with purpose and intention to stand up and speak up about what matters to me most.

And from where I sit today, surrounded by love and comfort, I must also acknowledge that the world outside my walls is not full of love and comfort for everyone.

And for my grandchildren to have a better world to grow into, I must not stay silent. I must keep standing up.

My grandchildren deserve the kind of world where everyone has the privilege of being seen and known and treated as magnificent human beings.

It is their birthright.

It is all our birthright.

Namaste

No. Never. No More. (#ShePersisted Series)

No 60 (something) in #ShePersisted Series – mixed media on watercolour paper.

I hadn’t realized how long it has been since I last created a painting for my #ShePersisted series.

I thought I was done. Finished. Had enough.

The muse had other ideas.

I listened. Because… as No. 57 (or is it 60?) says…

No. 60 #ShePersisted Series

They said, you’ve come a long way baby.
Be happy.

She said, there’s still a long way to go.
I’ll be happy when dignity and justice, equality and love
are the way for all humanity.

And here’s how I know how long it’s been since I created No. 60… (which I think is actually No 57 because I seem to have skipped a number here and there in the process – I really need to go back to elementary school and take arithmetic!)

To figure out the No. for this latest painting, I had to go back into my FB feed and check it out.

No. 60 was created in March — of 2019.

And yet, now, more than ever, ensuring every voice is heard, everyone is counted is as important today as its ever been.

We need to do better.

As a human race. As a society. As a collective. As individuals.

We need to do better.

We must.

We can.

Let’s do it.

_________________________________________

PS – I also have to do better at updating my website where all the paintings for the series are displayed. Apparently, I’m still at No. 52.

And another PS… I have had a couple of inquiries about a calendar for the series. For the past two years I have created a small desktop flip calendar with 12 of the paintings.

I’m in the midst of creating a new edition for 2021 with availability by November 30. Just in time for the season of giving!

If you’re interested in possibly getting one, (they’re about $18 +shipping) I’d love to know – especially if you have a ‘fav’ you think should be included. The series (up to #52 but I promise to get the rest uploaded today! 🙂 ) can be viewed HERE. Send me an email or leave a comment.

Thanks!

This was the 2020 version (which was the same as the 2019). 2021 will be 12 different paintings with corresponding messages.

That Ain’t My Gig.

The words for this page appeared before I began creating it.

“And in the end, when the veil that separated life from death was lifted and she slipped through into the ever-after, all that she left behind were her prayers and the Love that carried her through her life into the eternal grace of God’s embrace.”

This is the final page of the altered book journal I’ve been creating for the past few months with the prayer cards my mother left behind.

When I first began this journey I thought it would be… effortless. Seamless. A traipse through memory sweeping the past clean and closing doors on remembered words and perceived hurts that haunted me in my mother’s silence.

It has been non of that and all of that and so much more.

This deep dive into the power of prayer and my ‘mother memories’ of the rights and the wrongs, the beauty and pain, has brought me face-to-face and heart-to-heart with the quintessential ‘mother wound‘.

Healing the mother wound has been a lifelong journey for me. While it might seem all about a woman’s relationship with her mother, it is bigger than that.

The archetypal mother wound is generational. It is the universal struggle to fit into a world that is constantly changing, yet struggling to transform. It is a world that does not make room for a woman’s exploration of her power and potential because the world itself is constructed by a patriarchal set of rules that do not acknowledge the power and potential of women. It is the fight against the ties that bind while holding onto the apron ties that taught us how to be women in a world constructed in man’s ways.

According to Dr. Oscar Serrallach in THIS ARTICLE on GOOP,

________________________________

“The mother wound reflects the challenges a woman faces as she goes through transformations in her life in a society where the patriarchy has denied us ongoing matrilineal knowledge and structures.”

“This agenda tells females not to shine, to remain small, and that if you are going to try to be successful, that you should be masculine about it.”

_______________________________

I am still searching. Scouring mind and heart for the words that will describe this journey I am on. This journey of reckoning.

With my mother’s passing. The words unwinding. The deeds undoing. The messages deconstructing. The lessons unlearning.

It is a journey of Repatriation. Reclamation. Restoration. Rejuvenation. Of myself.

It is a journey not just through time and space and generational legacies and patriarchal ties that bind me to a way of being that does not fit my skin, my soul, my sense of who I have the right to be in this world. A world that does not know how to create space for the art of the feminine to rise up and be heard and seen and known with grace.

I have come to the final page of this journal I have been creating of my mother’s prayer cards.

I can no longer blame my mother or hold her hostage to my unrealized dreams. I can no longer pray for my freedom from the past, from all that has kept me tied with invisible threads of silence and shame to beliefs and ways of being that do not fit me.

I have come to the time when I must claim my right to be free or crumble beneath the sorrow and rage of a life not lived.

No 5. #ShePersisted Series Mixed Media 2017 Louise Gallagher “Rock the Boat”

My mother has taught me well. Through her silence and her belief it was better to not make waves, I have learned to rock the boat.

Through her insistence I walk with both feet firmly planted in obedience, chastity and faith, I have learned to peer into the darkest night of the soul and see the light within.

In showing me how to be a woman bound to man’s ways she has gifted me the freedom to be unbound. To run wild of heart and free of spirit.

And now it is time.

Time for me to dive into the rising tide full of the song of the soul rushing in to greet me on the shore where I stand in anticipation of life washing me clean of the past. Body arced, arms flung wide above my head, waves crashing over my feet, I dive deeper and deeper into the sacred waters of the Divine Feminine. Into the depths of the great mystery where magic flows free and life dances gloriously unbounded by the conventions of a way of being that is not mine.

It is time for me to hold onto only Love and say to the rest, “The hell with that. That ain’t my gig!”

Yup. It’s time to shine big and dance!

Can we? Will we? Let Love Lead?

 

No. 60 #ShePersisted Series

In the spring of 2017, when Senator Elizabeth Warren was shut down in the Senate with Mitch McConnell’s statement, “She was told. She was warned. Nevertheless, she persisted.” I felt the rising up of something deep and primordial within me.

Silent for so long, I wanted to express myself. To speak to how that comment rippled down through the cells of my body, tearing apart my DNA, awakening forgotten moments of being put down, shut up and shut out by ‘the patriarchy’.

I put ‘patriarchy’ in quotation marks because I do not want you to think that I am targeting men. I am speaking of a systemic, insipid idea that has been woven into the fabric of our society, threaded through our DNA, our psyches, our lives. It is an old idea. So old, so inculcated into our human being that we don’t see it as distinct and separate from our human condition, we see it as part of who we are and how we are in the world.

Sometimes, we brush it away with comments of “Oh that’s just the way it is.” or, “You should be grateful. There are a lot of women in this world who do not have the privileges and rights you do.” Or, “Hey it could be worse! You could be…[and then we name some other being whose journey is even more fraught with peril than women’s rights.]” As if gratitude for being reluctantly granted the right to ‘being treated as equal’ will somehow wash away the blood, sweat and tears women have shed in their fight to gain a foothold in a man’s world they helped create.

The idea is simple. Men, as in the male of our species, know what to do because they have the power and the moral authority to control the world. It’s not that they want to. It’s just the way it’s always been. To maintain the balance of life on earth, all we womenfolk have to do is be grateful for what they give us and not rock the boat, too much.

Please, don’t jump all over me for stating this. As I said, I am not targeting men. I am shining a light on what that moment when Elizabeth Warren was shut down in the Senate, awoke in me.

The need, no the imperative, that I speak up. Rise up. Give up pretending I’m okay with the status quo. That I’m down with buying into the moral imperative of giving women a place at the table as long as ‘they’ get to dole out the number of seats in equal proportion to their assessment of what is right for mankind.

Discrimination, segregation, economic disadvantaging/control, sexualization of the feminine form, acts of violence perpetrated on the feminine form and on humanity, limiting or denying the rights of individuals because of their colour, sexual identity, creed, economic status… are subtle even in their overtness.

And so, I began the #ShePersisted series of paintings. My intent had been to create one or two and then move on.

Three years later, the muse keeps flowing with thoughts and ideas, the series voice still pushes at my creative expression, insisting on her right to be heard.

So, I heed her.

With the advent of Covid-19, she is becoming more insistent that we let go of our fear, our clamouring for more, our incessant building of bigger and better to the benefit of the few. She is calling out for all of us to give into the simple yet profound belief that Love is the answer.

No one person can lead the way out of this crisis. No one person has the answers.

We are, this entire planet made up of over 7+ billion humans and billions upon billions of animals and flowing rivers and oceans, icebergs and boreal forests and jungles and deserts, mountains and valleys, hills and plains. We are all spinning together in space, held fast to this place we call home by the gravity that holds us up. We are woven together by our one shared human condition.

Can we. Will we. Choose Love over Fear?

Can we. Will we. Let Love Lead?

________________

The series can be viewed HERE.

Thank you again, Miriam, for the inspiration for Let Love Lead.

 

 

Follow Your Heart No 52. #ShePersisted

No. 52  #ShePersisted Series  — Follow your Heart  —  2019 Louise Gallagther

My intent with the #ShePersisted series has been to complete 52 in the series. I just reached my goal.

And the muse is not yet finished with me.  She keeps delivering new ideas for the series. And I keep creating.

It is a process I love. A creative endeavour that challenges and fulfills me.

As I continue to explore all the muse has in store for me, as I move deeper into rejuvenation mode, I shall have more time to mediate on the messages and thus, be able to continue to write ‘The Teachings” for the each painting/message in the series.

It is an exciting journey. One that also invites me to go back to some of the original art pieces and possibly re-work the art, not necessarily ‘the message’.  The earlier pieces have a different style that became more recognizable as I continued to create in the series.

And that’s the beauty of this journey. There is no formula to follow. No rule saying I must do it one way or the other.  I get to create my own path. My own way. My own creative expression.

The Teaching

No. 52
The #ShePersisted Series
Follow Your Heart

Many years ago, Robert Frost penned one of his best known poems which ended with,

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

This card is calling you to examine where you are walking. To look closely
at your choices and see if you are choosing them for yourself
or are you following someone else’s plan, marching to someone else’s drum?

Life is full of opportunities to find your own beat, to carve your own path.
Yet, too often, we let fear of the unknown, fear of leaving the pack hold us back
from hearing the calling of our heart to follow no one person or thing, but our own beat.

Let go of fearing what others may say and listen to the voice of your heart.
Your heart knows. Listen to your heart.

Take charge of your own life. #ShePersisted No 47

No 47 #ShePersisted Series
Mixed Media on Watercolour Paper
11 x 14″
2019 Louise Gallagher

Sometime ago a friend asked me to join her and other women in creating a book of wisdom for a niece who was turning 13. Ultimately, after writing my list of “10 Things I would tell my 13 Year-Old Self if I could change her life”, I discovered that what I would have told myself then is really, what my 60+ self still needs to hear and know and breathe into everyday.

This post originally appeared on my blog in May 2014 and then Sept. 2017.  As I was contemplating what went with No 47 in my #ShePersisted Series, these 10 things came to mind. The 11th would be, “You are responbile for your own happiness. Do not abdicate your responsibility to someone else. Take charge of your life.”

Ten Things I would tell my 13-year-old self if I could change her life.

  1. There is no such place as forever. Nothing is forever. This too shall pass. Whatever you are experiencing, the trauma, the angst, the joy, they are all illusory. Transitory. Ride whatever is happening hands free, barefooted, body wide open to the experiences of life. Now is not forever.
  2. You’re okay. More than okay, you are amazing. Just the way you are. There is no fashion too out there, no style too wild if it is what you want to wear. You are not too fat, too skinny, to short, too tall, too under-developed, over-developed. You are who you are, how you are. And that’s amazing.
  3. You are worthy. This is a tricky one. Your mind wants to steal this one away and hide it because to know your worth, you must risk — the unknown. the perceived impossible. You must risk the ups and downs, ins and outs, overs and unders of life. To know your worth, you must know there is nothing, noone, no way anyone can steal it from you. It is your birthright.
  4. Believe in you. Really, really believe in you. Don’t question your right to be. Don’t question you’re right to go anywhere, do anything, anyway you choose. Be you. Everyone else is taken. Wear your hair up, down, wild, straight. Colour it pink, gold, orange or green. It’s your body. Your hair. Your skin. Your life. Your right to believe in you and be you just the way you are.
  5. Be kind. People will say mean things. Do cruel things. Be kind. Like you, they struggle to know their worth, find their place, feel their feelings. Like you, they are taking this journey of life without a manual, unable to control and predict everything life will throw at them. Like you, they are sometimes scared, sometimes silly, sometimes confused, sometimes wise. And like you, they too are looking to fit in, to belong, to be part of something bigger than themselves. Be kind, no matter how they act. Be kind.
  6. You don’t have to find your meaning. You are your meaning. Live it with your whole heart wide open to life. Your meaning is not in wearing the latest fashion or having the coolest stuff. Your meaning is found in how you approach every moment, engage every person from that place where you know, no matter what you think they think about you, you think and know you are amazing, just the way you are.
  7. Seek magnificence. Don’t go looking for mediocrity. Seek to be known through your magnificence and seek always to know others through theirs. Don’t look for fault, seek the lessons, seek the knowing, seek the value in all things.
  8. Risk often. Life isn’t a predictable series of events over which you have ultimate control. The only person you have control over is yourself – and even then you’ll sometimes doubt just how in control of yourself you are. Risk anyway because, if you’re involved with others, there will be lots of messy, sticky, unexpected and sometimes painful things happening on your journey. They’re just things. It’s all just stuff. You are amazing  – I know, I said it already – it’s true. Believe it. Risk living from the place of knowing you are okay, you are amazing, you are magnificent. Risk living as if it’s true — because it is.
  9. Smile often. Laugh lots. Dance always. And when you cry, cry out loud. When you laugh, laugh out loud. And when you see injustice, ask what can I do to change it, and do that thing with your whole heart and know, that is enough. You are enough. You don’t have to have all the answers, you only need to learn the one’s that will allow you to make the difference in the world you want to see and be. And that’s enough.
  10.  Get creative. Don’t go looking inside boxes for the recipe for life. Live it not knowing what’s next. Live it expecting the unexpected. Live it free of holding onto hurts and pains, sorrows and regrets. Live it up. Fill it with joy. and always, always SHINE! Because you are amazing. You are worthy. You are magnificent. And that’s the only truth you need to know to live your life fearlessly in Love with all of you.

 

All Our Emotions. #ShePersisted. No. 35

No. 35 #ShePersisted
Mixed Media 11 x 14″
2017 Louise Gallagher

Years ago, when I was a newly minted manager of a communications department in a start-up tech company, I struggled with keeping my emotions in check when discussing difficult topics. During meetings with my boss, an A-Type personality, I would sit and try to explain what I was dealing with while he paced his office, continuously pitching a small rubber nerf ball into a basketball hoop he had set up on a sideboard.

I knew it was not okay to cry, but the more difficult the problem I was trying to sort out, the faster he would pace and the more unnerved I would become. Unnerved, my tears inevitably followed while I tried desperately to stuff them back down my throat.  He’d get upset by my display of emotion. I’d get upset with his rapidly escalating pacing and my inability to stop my emotions from stealing my voice and self-esteem.

It was not pretty.

One day, when I had to discuss a very challenging problem and needed his guidance, I knew the past would repeat itself if I did not do something different.

I took my own box of kleenex into the meeting.

In essence, I told him that my tears were simply part of my expression just as his pacing and throwing the ball into the hoop was part of his. At least this time he wouldn’t have to go searching for the kleenex box he kept in a drawer. I had my own.

The meeting went much better. He still paced but, having given myself permission to cry, my frustration eased and I was able to get through the meeting with my composure intact.

It was a great lesson, though many years later, I have still not perfected the art of giving myself permission to be okay with my emotions and how I express them. I still attempt in times of stress or discord, to control my emotions by stifling my truth.

The art is in giving myself permission to breathe and consciously invite myself to ‘open up to expansion’ so that I can express myself without censuring my truth, and thus my emotions. When I speak from my truth, without being attached to the outcome, I am free to express my thoughts without igniting emotional outbursts that undermine my power and presence.

Card No 35 #ShePersisted
All My Emotions

We are conditioned to think of some emotions as ‘bad’ while others we deem ‘good’. As we ‘grow-up’ and become more mature, we are counselled to not display too much of even those emotions deemed as good. All things in moderation, my dear. Don’t make a scene. Don’t be too emotional. You’ll make others feel uncomfortable.

There is no ‘good and/or bad’ in our emotions. There are just our emotions. How we express them is up to us.

We can’t control our emotions, but they can control us, when we do not heal the broken places within so that our emotions are expressed in safe and loving ways.

Anger, like laughter is simply an expression of how we are responding to the situation we face, in this moment right now. When our expression becomes radically greater than the moment in which we stand, our anger, and our laughter, are signs of something deeper within calling us to explore unhealed places. Pushing them down, ignoring their call, makes our angry or hysterical responses fight harder to be heard. In their fight for expression, we become a target of their need to act out, undermining our capacity to be fully present in the now.

This card is inviting you to explore your anger and laughter. Ask yourself, “Is my anger present based, or does it constantly simmer, just below the surface of my thoughts, waiting for opportunities to erupt?”  “Is my laughter genuine or am I hiding behind my ‘shadow laugh’, that nervous, automatic response I give when I am uncomfrotable, don’t know what to say or am telling myself I don’t belong. I am unworthy. Nobody likes me?”

Ultimately, expressing our emotions in loving and kind ways creates a world of loving kindness. When we allow our emotions to have unconditional reign over our lives, we are not present to ourselves or the moment. We are acting out from past hurts and pains, and letting ourselves off the hook of being accountable in the present.

To be accountable, we must face the darkness we fear within, and turn up in the light of today, expressing ourselves with loving kindness. Fully present, acting in all things with integrity including how we express our emotions, we create a world of peace and joy all around us.