Morning Dance on the River.

Light dances on the water where the river flows freely through an icy bordered channel. If I keep my eyes focused only on what appears to be the light dancing, it is as if the river is standing still.

I know it’s not.

Light on the river / Morning dance in the darkness / Love flows through it all.

It is the same in life. Sometimes, I think time is standing still, and then I notice a birthday flowing past, a memory drifting away into forgetfulness and I remember – nothing is static. Everything changes.

Life is energy and energy is not inert. It is constantly moving, shifting, changing, flowing. Like time. Always on the move. Like life. Always evolving.

It was at this time last year that my sisters and daughters and I began to gently move into the space where we knew the light in our mother’s/grandmother’s life was beginning to waver. That space where, at 97, she knew her time on this earth was drawing to an end.

It would be another 15 days before she drew in her final breath and released herself to eternity, but she knew. The one’s she had loved and lost in this life, and the God who had held her steady through every breath, were waiting, she said. She was ready to join them.

In those final days of my mother’s life, if I kept my eyes focused on each breath she took, it felt as though time was standing still. As if, her breaths would keep on going, even though her heart was growing more and more still.

It wasn’t that I wanted her to not go. It was that I wanted her to open her eyes and see that what she was leaving behind was a circle of love that she had woven together through every hardship, every sorrow, every moment of joy.

It was often hard for my mother to see the moment’s of joy. Tormented by depression most of her adult life, darkness often clouded her view of the beauty surrounding her.

I remember as a young girl wishing I could weave a bridge of words that would take us away from where my tormented mother stood in the kitchen in front of my siblings and me holding a knife to her breast and threatening to end it all. That bridge would take us away from the darkness into a land of constant sunshine.

It would be many years before I realized I was never powerful enough to break through the darkness. And, even longer before I learned that even though I could smile my way through even the darkest night of the soul, the darkness owned part of me too.

It was a therapist’s calm question of, “How long have you been depressed?” that created the first visible crack in the darkness for me. I was in my early 40s at the time.

“Me? Depressed? Never.”

I remember how she smiled, slightly, and asked, “What would you do differently if you were?”

It was a really tough question for me to even consider.

I knew how to walk alongside other’s in the darkness. I did not know how to walk alongside myself.

I feared sadness. I feared the depression that had consumed my mother throughout her life. Yet, to love my mother as she was, I had to learn to love her in the darkness. I had to learn to not be afraid of sadness, tears and emotions that did not come wrapped up in a smile.

Much has shifted since that therapist invited me to consider the shadow side of my constant smile. The icy grip I had on maintaining ‘my smile’ has eased as the warmth that comes with letting myself feel deeply, cry freely, live joyfully in darkness and in light, has helped me grow beyond my fear of the dark into loving all of it. All of me. And all of my mother.

And though my memory likes to play tricks on me sometimes, like the light dancing on the water, life keeps flowing with its beautiful truth shimmering in every moment. To see through darkness, we must open our eyes to the light. And, to truly feel and know lightness of being, we must honour the darkness that makes light so much brighter.

I watched the light dance on the water this morning. The river kept flowing. Time kept passing and always, Love moved freely through the darkness and the light holding me always in the circle of Love my mother’s hands wove together through every breath of her life.

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,

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“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!

How To Nourish Body. Mind. Spirit.

If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.  — Muhammad Ali

It appears that Covid has created some psychic mould. You know, those spaces where rather than nourish my body, mind, spirit, I fall prey to activities that leech away my creative essence and dry up my inner peace.

Like falling into binge-watching past seasons of shows I’ve never watched before on Prime and wouldn’t be watching now if it weren’t for Covid’s insidious presence. Because, you know — it’s not my fault. It’s these ‘uncertain times’ and sometimes the only way a girl can cope is by losing herself in mindless images parading across her laptop screen.

It seems that with Covid’s presence, I can easily be lured from my path of daily self-care day after day. Because, you know, if I let it go one day doesn’t it make sense to repeat it so I don’t feel so bad about doing it in the first place? Yeah. I know. Repetition of what’s not good for me just makes what’s not good for me a habit I’ll live to regret.

Being in a place of the peaceful unfolding of my day, especially with the feeling that Covid’s presence is just waiting to pounce every time I step out my door, can be challenging.

There are times when all I want to do is bury my head in the sand. Because, I tell myself, burying my head in sand will probably be just as effective or even better than wearing a mask.

There are times when I want to throw caution to the wind and just pretend Covid never happened, isn’t happening, will never happen. Because, when I was a child, pretend was such a wonderful game, why not play it now?

Houston. We have a problem.

Self-care is spinning off its axis and I am falling out of control.

Time for some straight talk and radical loving-kindness to fill the empty spaces where peace, harmony, joy… created my beautiful life.

Which brings me to the things I can do today to create more of what I want in my life every day. — Peace. Harmony. Joy.

The practices and things that connect me to joy, harmony, loving-kindness are well-known by my body, mind, spirit. It’s just sometimes, my mind wants to fool my body into thinking it’s okay being left alone. And sometimes, my body wants to divorce spirit so it doesn’t have to be accountable for keeping it moving, uplifted and connected to its essential nature.

Ah… the games we play when first we try to deceive ourselves into believing life is just a game that only needs to be played when we feel in the mood for a little light workout.

Life is not a game. It is in us. Outside of us. All of us. All of all that is within and around us.

Life matters and what we do in and with life matters every moment.

So…. here’s the thing. I’ve fallen prey to the ennui of these times. I’ve given too much mindspace to the notion, “I’m so tired of all this Covid stuff. Make it go away. Now.”

Fact is, now more than ever, I need to turn up for me and all the world around me to ensure, together and apart, we have the well-being to make Covid go away. Not with death but with beautiful, healing, sparkling LIFE.

So… I’ve committed myself to a 21 Day Plan to Embrace All that Is Present when I turn up in Peace, Harmony and Joy.

That means, along with daily practice of writing here, time spent in my studio, my twice-daily walks with Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and my daily skincare routine (Absolutely essential!) I shall be consciously connecting my mind, body, spirit to the essential nature of my human condition through daily repetition of five key practices I know are good for my body, mind, spirit.

Fact is, I seem to have fallen out of the regular committed practice of these vital components of creating more of what I want in my life today through falling prey to critter-mind thinking that… it all doesn’t matter anyway because Covid is stealing my peace of mind and clouding up my harmony and diminishing joy in my world.

Fact is, Covid can’t steal any of my peace, harmony and joy unless I give into the belief I am not accountable for or worthy of peace, harmony and joy in the first place.

So, to keep myself accountable, especially for the next 21 days as I reform the habit of doing these things every day, I am sharing my five daily commitments here:

  1. Meditate for a minimum of 20 minutes every morning.  
  2. Spend half an hour reading something inspirational every day.
  3. Write in my journal at bedtime for 20 minutes.
  4. Take my vitamins. Eat more veggies every day. Cut back on carbs and sugars.
  5. Do something for my community (and that includes writing my blogs as you are part of my community).

Oh! And there’s a few other things that are essential I consciously add into my life every single day.

  • Laugh lots daily
  • Dance
  • Breathe and release. Breathe and release
  • Practice loving-kindness with myself and all the world around me

And, along with the things I will do, there are some things I also need to publicly commit to not doing. The biggest one being… STOP WATCHING SO MUCH NETFLIX and PRIME!!!!

And yes, I’m yelling that to myself because sometimes… I need to shout to be heard above the critter’s insistence it’s okay to lose myself in mindless activities.

It’s not.

And I’m not okay with and within me when I do it.

And to get okay with me again, I need to practice loving-kindness with myself. Stopping doing things that are unhealthy for me is the greatest gift of loving-kindness I can give myself today to create more peace, harmony and joy in myself and all the world around me.

Namaste.

The Gift Project #storiesofhope

It is alive.

It is real.

It is ready for you.

baner-copyThe Gift Project has come into its own existence.  A little idea has become its own reality because of the generosity and creativity of Paul Long, Alexis Maledy, the amazing people at Corkscrew Media, Six Degrees Music Studios and Keys to Recovery.

Thirteen courageous and caring people shared their stories of recovery, of finding hope and home, after journeys through addiction.

These are powerful, compelling stories that touch deep and dig into the heart of our humanity, our shared human condition, our desire for connection, our need for belonging.

I hope you will join me in sharing these stories. In posting them on your social media pages. Pressing the LIKE button beneath each one.

And, as I build up The Gift Project’s social media presence, I hope you will follow along… and maybe even share one of your own stories of hope and encouragement in recovery.

Many blessings. Much gratitude.

http://www.thegiftproject.ca