Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


Still. Waiting.

It is the second week of advent. As we wait for the sun’s return, as we listen for our deepest
knowing to awaken from these long dark nights of winter, listen to your heart. Listen to the
silence and winter calling you to know the otherness.

This is the time of endless nights growing darker. Of day’s light growing weaker in the soft
approach of winter solstice, in the coming light of the child’s birth drawing near.

This is a time when our patience grows thin as we rush about, fighting crowds and traffic,
endlessly hurrying towards one more checkmark on the list, one more item scratched off on the
gifts we must buy.

Patience is a virtue and at this time of year, a necessity. Yet, we struggle against giving it time to
grow, to take form, to inhabit our being present in the darkness of these wintery days so that we
can lean into the silence to hear the song of joy being born within our hearts.

We cannot change the course of night, just as we cannot change the path of the earth moving
around the sun. Winter will pass in its time, and whether we wait with calm heart, or battle
against time’s slow passing, the sun will appear upon the horizon, raising itself up into the sky,
with or without our permission. No matter how many items are checked off on our list, the sun
will return, days will lengthen and nights will grow shorter. The cycle of time passing will continue,
again and again, in its ever ending circle of life.

This is a time when I seek that place of quiet within where I can hear my heart giving birth to the
new life I must call my own. This is a time when I yearn to fall into place with the world around
me and the world within me. A place where the hustle and bustle of the season wanes as I find
that place within where I know communion with the world, within and outside of me.

This is the place where I let go of that which I ‘hate’ about me and find the courage to live from my poet’s
heart rising up within me. It is in this place I sense the world through the beauty expressing
itself through my soul’s desire to give birth to the one I have been waiting for, just as over 2,000
years ago, Mary gave birth to the one she waited for, the One the world awaited.

And in this moment of quiet, as I sit in the stillness of the night, a song arises within me, and I find
myself settling into my heart. In silence I wait patiently for the sun to return, for a child to be
born, for peace, hope, love and joy to become the essence of my world.

In my waiting, I grow still. In my stillness, I hear the whisper of hope singing in dawn’s caress waiting at the edge of the horizon to push the darkness back into the night. With hope awakening, I know, anything is possible including peace, hope, love and joy for all the world.



Thank you Liz at Be. Love. Live for introducing me to Future of Forestry and this beautiful Christmas song.


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Grounded in Love (My Daily Intention)

December 1.

As the earth circles the sun and the tides flow in and out, the holiest time of the year is once again here. The time of waiting, of anticipation, of night stretching its velvet blanket across the sky, holding light at bay, as we dream of new birth waiting to awaken and become present.

Into the quiet expectation of this month of waiting and preparation, I breathe deeply into the lengthening night, letting peace of heart take root, its healing presence shimmering in the depth of my gratitude for this beautiful, precious gift of life.

It is time to quit worrying about what am I going to ‘get’ the one’s I love and put my focus on what I have to give.

To know on a deep abiding level that this is not the season of buying. It is the season of gracious giving, from the abundance of my heart.

And with dawn’s early light breaking upon the horizon, I breathe into all the Love I have to give, grounded in the heart of all I wish to receive. Peace. Hope. Love and Joy.



Nov 25 – Dec 10 #MyActionsMatter

For four years nine months I endured a relationship of escalating terror. Looking back, I can’t remember what it is that kept me so stuck in his abuse. Looking back I wonder sometimes, what was I smoking? It must have been powerful stuff. And then, I remember the fear. Fear soaked into my pores. It damned the blood pounding into my heart. It permeated every crevice of my mind, consuming my thinking with terrifying reminders of why I could not leave him.

When it was really bad, and the abuser raged or sat in silent condemnation of yet another of my transgressions, I would slink into a closet, close the door and sit in the dark, my eyes shut to any crack of light trying to enter the dismal confines of my mind. Repetitively I would pet my Golden Retriever’s silky fur, clinging for dear life to this one being who laid her head upon my scrunched up knees and loved me unconditionally. Sometimes, when he held onto the pooch and would not let her come to me, I would crawl into the closet and dig my nails into my wrists, scraping the skin back, trying desperately to feel something, anything, other than the pain of being me. I wanted so desperately to peel my skin away, layer by layer to reveal the veins and vessels that carried the blood of life within this person who felt so dead to me. I wanted to see who lived within me. I wanted to expose the bones that were supposed to hold me up yet seemed to be crashing down from within me. I wanted to die.

It is hard to describe how he implanted such terror into my life. It was a moment by moment seeping away of my essence. When I met him, I was a partner in a communications firm. I had my home, my daughters, my life. He kept telling me that everything I had was nothing compared to what he would give me. I would say, “But I’m happy with my life today.” And he would laugh and ask me how could that be and he would remind me of what a mess my life was. I couldn’t figure that one out. My life wasn’t perfect. But it wasn’t a mess either. Yet, he persisted and rather than laugh back at him, I retreated into silence. Perhaps he was right. Perhaps all that I had accomplished meant nothing compared to all that he had done and wanted to give me.

And then the stalking and the phone taps and the threats of bomb’s under my car and the stories of evil men threatening to kidnap my daughters and drug them and put them into the sex trade began. And I fell into despair. The unreal began to feel too real and I could not risk challenging the truth.

By the end of that ride, I did not exist. I had completely submerged my identity and scrunched it up into a tiny pocket tucked high up into the corner of my mind as I became the vessel of his deceit. We were in hiding as he tried to evade the police. He was searching for a way out of the country. I was searching for a way out. Of life. Of being there with him, And so I existed, telling myself that at least I had gotten him away from the one’s I love. They didn’t deserve him and his abuse. But I did.

For four months my daughters, family and friends didn’t  know where I was. And I was too afraid to call and tell them I was okay. He told me I couldn’t, so I didn’t. It would have been a lie anyway.

I was not okay. I wanted to die. Every moment of every day. Waking or sleeping. I wanted to die. I watched buses and semi-trailers looking for an opportunity to fall into their path or crash into the solid substance of their massive sides as they sped through my life. I counted pills. I fondled razor blades. I imagined death in every form and prayed for it to come and end the darkness that was my world.

And through it all, I stayed silent. I acted the role he needed me to play to convince those who needed convincing that we were who he said we were. Even though I knew it was all a lie. I had become his lie. I was his shill. His creation. The only truth I held onto was my love for my daughters. To take my own life would be to make a lie of my love for them. And I couldn’t do it.

And then, at 9:14 am, May 21, 2003, the police walked in and arrested him and I received the miracle of my life and thus began my journey back.

It has been an amazing journey since that beautiful day in May. A journey filled with sorrow, tears, laughter, joy. A journey like no other. A journey of Love.

I am blessed. Once upon a time I was an abused woman. Today, I am a victor. My daughters and I have reconnected. We are free.

I cannot stop an abuser being who they are, but I can stop abuse in my life. I can make a difference in the world around me by standing against, speaking up and calling out abuse because, #MyActionsMatter.


This is a repost from Nov 2, 2012.


Abuse Hurts. Stop it. (Family Violence Prevention Month)

This is the last Friday of November. Black Friday to some. Blue Friday to others. It is also, the last Friday of Family Violence Prevention Month.

Family violence kills. Spirit. Hope. Dignity. Trust. Lives.

Awhile ago, I attended a fundraiser at a pub in an inner city neighbourhood, just east of the downtown core, along the river’s edge.

What was significant for me about this event wasn’t just the cause or the people, it was the place.

It was held at a venue where, once upon a time, I tried to end the relationship that was killing me.

It was fall, 2002. Life was spiralling out of control and I was falling. I had no money, no job, no home. My daughters were living with their father and I was falling further and further into the darkness.

‘The man’ was clinging to me in a desperate attempt to have life look as if it was normal. I don’t remember where he was living, but I was staying between the home of one of my dearest friends and at the time, house-sitting another friend’s house in the same townhome complex in which she lived.

I wasn’t sure what would happen next. ‘The man’ kept promising to make it all right. He kept promising that he would fix it, get my money and home back, get all my belongings out of storage, get me stable once again.

I didn’t really believe him but I couldn’t quit listening to his promises. I was so tired. So lost. So helpless.

And then, he made a scene. We had gone to a local pub (the same one as the fundraiser) for a drink and he acted out, accusing me of flirting with another man in the bar. Yelling at me for destroying his life. Calling me names.

I grabbed my coat and walked out.

I walked and walked in the cold, dark night.

The pub was only a couple blocks from the river, about a twenty-minute walk from where I was house-sitting.

I walked down to the river and along the path that skirts its shoreline. I don’t remember if there was a moon, or if the stars shone. I remember snow on the ground. Frosty air.

I felt so hopeless.

I wanted him to follow me. I wanted him to leave me alone. I wanted him to disappear. I wanted to vanish.

At one point, I took a path down to the water’s edge and sat on a rock watching the water flow past. I imagined what would happen if I could simply fall into the water. I imagined what it would be like if I could disappear. I knew his presence was choking me. I knew being with him was driving me crazy, that there was no truth in anything he said. And I knew I was lost and had to do something to find myself again.

Somewhere in that relationship he had given me a heart-shaped ring set with tiny diamonds. I had worn that ring ever since he’d given it to me in the belief that as long as I wore it he would not disappear from my life and my daughters’ would be safe from the evil men he told me were threatening their lives.

Sitting beside the river that night, I knew I had to let go.

I took the ring off and hurled it into the river.

I broke the ties. I rebelled against the bonds that tied me so fast to his deceit and abuse.

I walked back to the house where I was staying. I let myself in and went to bed.

It was over.

And then, the doorbell rang.

I didn’t want to answer it. I told myself not to.

But he started yelling. Pounding upon the wooden barrier that stood firm between us.

I capitulated. I told myself I didn’t want to wake the neighbours. I didn’t want him to cause a scene.

I told myself I would let him in just so I could tell him it was over. I didn’t care about the money, the home, the stuff. I wanted free.

It would be six long, terrifying months before I got free again.

I remember that night. It was the night I gave up on me completely. It was the night he threw back at me everything I had ever told him about my life for which I held shame or sadness or regret. In the reminding me of all my misgivings, he affirmed my deepest fear. I was not worthy.

I lost my spirit that night. I lost my direction completely in the darkness of knowing, I was not worthy.

It is the reality of these relationships that take such a toll. To be abused we must believe abuse is all we’re worth. We must believe they are right, we are wrong. We must give up on ourselves, and give into the ‘who’ they tell us we are, what they tell us we’re worth. And we are worth nothing but their abuse.

To be abused we must believe in the one who abuses us.

And it is in that belief we die.

Abuse hurts. Stop it.