Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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Is your heart singing?

Do you remember that diddly from childhood?  “Today is Monday /Today is Monday / Monday washday/ Everybody happy?/ Well I should say…”

I went in search of the words this morning (I have no idea why) and discovered they are very, very different than I remember.

That’s the trick of memory. What I remember is not always what actually happened, or was said, or seen. Yet often, I find myself defending my memory, especially in the face of someone else’s insistence I’ve got it wrong. They’re right.

I don’t like being wrong, and while I’d rather not make them wrong  either (I’m pretty sure they they possess a seimilar aversion to being wrong as I do), I also don’t want to not be right!

Definitely a conundrum.

Defend my memory to preserve my need to not be wrong, or, release my position, move into the present moment to be connected in a joyful, peaceful way.

My beloved and I sometimes find ourselves in this pickle.  He says. I say. You’re wrong. I’m right.

As my Auntie Marie-Therese used to say, “What to do? What to do?”

When I find myself defending my position more than seeking common ground, I know I have to give up space to the possibility of both of us remembering the same incident/conversation differently.

But I don’t want to. Not really.

I want to be right. Really.

And that’s when I have to ask myself, Would I rather be right than happy?

Being right might give me the dubious distinction of winning the argument. It does not give me the joy of deeper connection and intimacy with my beloved.

Now, don’t worry. This isn’t about a particular argument C.C. and I have had. I’d be writing this much differently if we had because instinctively, I’d be attempting to tell my side of the story in such a way that you would all see very clearly that I am ‘the right one’ and he is unequivocalbly WRONG. And of course, in my telling I would be the virtuous one and he’d be… well… still WRONG.

It’s not about a particular argument. It’s about my awareness of my desire in life’s sticky moments, to defend my position rather than seek understanding, connection, common ground — not just in intimate relationships but in other ones too.

And all of this awareness came from looking up the words of a nursery rhyme. I have no idea what prompted the search, but there I was, humming along to “Today is Monday” and finding myself on this Tuesday morning reading words to a song I know I sang differently.

Which led me further down the rabbit hole to where I found a version that actually does resemble the words I remember!  Whew!  I wasn’t completely wrong. Just hadn’t dug into the truth enough to find what I needed to feel comfortable in this moment.

And there’s the rub. It isn’t about being wrong nor right. It’s all about being comfortable with your truth and allowing others to be comfortable with theirs. Both versions of that nursery rhyme exist. Neither is right. Nor wrong. They just are.

In an argument or sticky moment, there is truth in all things. And not all things are true.

Creating space for the truth in all things to be known, creates room for everyone to feel heard, and seen. And when we feel heard and seen, we feel valued.

I value my memories, they’ve hung around for awhile. I value the people in my life more, I want them in my life forever.  I don’t really care which nursery rhyme is the one I sang, nor which one is right for today.

I care that in my quest to find the version I remember, I discovered an opportunity to deepen my journey into what is true for me in this moment right now. To paraphrase Mary Oliver, “This is my one precious life.” What shall I do with it?

I shall live it savouring each moment right now, diving into what rings true in my heart so that the world around me becomes a more tender, loving, caring place.

It isn’t what I remember that gives meaning to my life. It’s what I do, hear, say, how I respond to memory and experience in the here and now that creates a world of difference today.  When my relationships are rich and deep, when they are founded on mutual respect, trust and integrity, it doesn’t matter what words someone uses to a song. It matters only that our hearts are singing, together.


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Caution: Possibility of ice. Do you have any brain de-icer?

Spring-like weather is descending upon our city and with it, the melting of snow during the day and sheets of ice forming during the night as temperatures dip just below freezing with the sun’s setting.

Earlier this week, a patch of snow on the roof caused a sheet of ice to form at the corner of our walkway as you approach the front door. The first time I tried to traverse it, I almost slipped. We promptly threw some de-icer and it disappeared. It took a few more de-icings before the mound of snow on the corner of the roof melted and de-icing was no longer necessary.

Like life. There are patches of tricky spots, unhealed spaces, unknown hurts that lurk waiting to slip us up as we navigate life’s roads. De-icing is necessary.

This past week I have immersed myself in navigating new waters as the organization I work for prepared to name its new Executive Director. It is bittersweet for me. I love the work I do. Love working with the families we serve and the team. I love the feeling that comes with making a difference.

As in all things, however, doors open and close, opportunity knocks and new horizons beckon.

I have always been clear with our Board of Directors that I am not prepared to commit to more than a couple of years in this role. They needed more and thus, yesterday, a new ED was announced.

At the beginning of the week when I was informed of the decision, my ego, in concert with the nasty critter who likes to remind me of my human frailties, tripped me up. “See. I told you so. Nobody wants you,” it whispered fiercely. “You don’t belong.”

Now, those are old core messages that emanate from my lizard brain in moments when I feel unsafe, fearful or at risk. I know them. I see them and hear them, but, if I don’t step into the light, lift myself up to my executive brain functioning, they can cause me to slip back into the icy waters of self-deprecation.

If you’ve followed my writing this week, you will have witnessed my journey from uncertainty to clarity.

Life is filled with opportunities to explore hidden areas of our pysches where icy patches exist that need the warming grace of light and Love. It is those patches that growth and surrender co-exist to bring us back to our magnificent selves waiting to shine. It is in those places that possibilities arise and hope lives unending.

My tenure at the family homeless shelter where I work is coming to an end. There is no firm date yet as I work with the new ED on a transition plan. What I know though is that the transition will be grace-filled because doing it with grace is how I prefer to exit every stage of my life. And I do love a good swan song!

I am excited. I have dreams and schemes and ideas to create an exciting new path for myself. A path full of potent possibility, passion and purpose, A path where anything is possible because when I de-ice the tricky spaces in my lizard brain, I am free to shine and soar and step with grace into every possibility that opens up on my path.

Namaste.


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Powerful Changes: Becoming my creative expression

Alcohol Ink on Yupo Paper
Louise Gallagher
5 x 7″

The card is named, “Powerful Changes”.

I feel my body’s visceral response to the words. ‘Change? What change?’ my critter mind wails. “Enough already with the changes! Haven’t I done enough? ”

I want to know the changes, as if in the knowing, I can vet them, or at least measure them against my barometer of what is acceptable change. And what is not.

“When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God: good orderly direction.
As we open our creative channel to the Creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.”

I am like the river flowing to the sea, my course defined by two parallel shores guiding me, channeling me.

My creative essence is not be channeled.

When I open my creative channel to the Creator, I drift quietly away from the need to be safely channeled by the shores of my being who I think I am in this world and the life I lead. Open to my creative channel, I release my expectations that my course is predictable, known, somehow able to be directed and determined by me.

In the absence of needing to direct or be held in by the bounds of what I deem the shores and boundaries of my life, I am free to explore where ever my creativity leads me.

I am free to be my creative essence. Open to powerful changes whether they enter gently or roar in like an arctic wind.

I want to control change. To harness it to my directions.

I cannot harness the wind. I cannot change the weather.

I surrender my need to control and give into my creative essence and its deep desire to be known simply as it is.

In that knowing, I am not bound by the shores of who I am. In that powerful change of how I see myself and my creativity, I am free to become all I am when I let go of being my creative expression and become the expression of my creative essence running wild and free.

Namaste.

_____________________________

Free-fall writing from today’s The Artist’s Way Card by Julia Cameron —  Powerful Changes

Without thinking about it, as I wrote, my word for 2019 became clearer. “Surrender”  That is a powerful change from my thinking that I needed to consciously focus on my word for the year.


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The Joy of Love

 

I am off to spend 5 days with my grandson, daughter and son-in-love celebrating his first birthday!

Enough said.

See you next week!


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The Window through Which We Look

The Window Through Which We Look

A young couple moved into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they were eating breakfast, The young woman saw her neighbor hanging the wash outside. ‘That laundry is not very clean,’ she said. ‘She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.’

Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, The young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband:

‘Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this.’

The husband said, ‘I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.’

And so it is with life.

What we see when watching others depends on the window through which we look.

Author Unknown

It is a sometimes human practice to sit in our easy chairs and judge others. To view their world through the comfort of our view of the world to see the defects on their side, rather than notice the cloudiness of our own lens.

I often hear this in the homeless-serving sector from those not immersed in the work.  “Why do they drink?”  “Why don’t they plan better for financial hardship?” “How can they let their children down like that [by bringing them to a homeless shelter]?

No matter the injustice about which we are speaking, or the social condition which we are viewing, our judgments come from a lack of understanding, an inability/unknowingness of how to step out of our own construct of how the world should be according to us, to see the world according to another’s lens and position in it. Living within our own world view, it is challenging to see how our privilege has provided us more grace, more room to make mistakes, more capacity to weather life’s storms. How another’s choices are not based on a ‘desire to create worse’ but rather a lack of opportunity or knowing of how to create better.

As I journey through this week, may I always remember that no matter my view, it is different than someone else’s. Not right. Not wrong. Just difference.

No one sits where I sit just as I do not walk in someone else’s shoes. May I always remember to check the cloudiness and cleanliness of my own view. That no matter my view, may I remember, it is more compelling and compassionate to make room for other’s to share their own views, rather than make them see mine as the right and only view through which they must live.