Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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I choose miracles

I choose to believe that life is a miracle. That I always have a choice as to what I do with me, my life and everything in it. I have the power to choose how I respond. How I react to circumstances, to other people, to trials and tribulations — I have the power of choice.

When I choose to look at my life as a miracle, I see miracles reflected all around me.

Now, it’s easy to fall into the habit of not seeing ‘the miracle’. It’s easy to see the fault lines, the pressure points, the sore spots that irritate me and cause me stress.

Whatever I’m seeing or experiencing, I always have the choice in where I put my attention. It’s my choice to not focus on the negatives and find the values in all all things.

So, for today, I shall walk through each moment celebrating the miracle of life in everyone I see and meet and interact with, including me. For today, I shall walk through each moment knowing what I do with my life is always my choice. I can celebrate, or complain. Congratulate or condemn.

The choice is mine.

It’s up to me to choose wisely because in my choices, I can destroy joy or create the joy, happiness, contentment, peace I want to have in my world.

The question is: Can you see the miracle of you reflected back in the eyes of everyone you meet? Do you choose to be like Chicken Little, constantly fearing the sky is falling or do you choose to see rainbows dancing in the wake of your passing through each moment causing waves of happiness and joy?


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Let kindness start with me.

Years ago a friend asked me, “If there were one word on your headstone that completed this sentence, “She was a_______________woman”, what would you want it to be?”

Kind, I replied. Definitely kind.

When I look back on 2018 I look for where kindness has cast ripples outward, creating gentle sailing for those around me. Amidst their smooth waters I see currents where discord arose because of something I did or said. I choose forgiveness and keep moving into my heart. As I move into the moment, casting my thoughts to the year ahead, I whisper a prayer of gratitude for so many opportunities to learn and grow and make a plea for courage and strength to carry me forward.

Let kindness infuse each step. Let kindness be my ripple effect.

From kindness, acts of courage, of compassion, or greatness evolve. Joy rises, within me and around me. Love radiates from me and through me and all around me.

From kindness, I soften my heart, gentle my words and smooth my spirit’s journey. When I look more kindly upon myself, I see the world as a kinder place.

From kindness, I step softly into the world, conscious of where my footprints tread, conscious of the footprints I leave behind. May my footprints disturb no one with ripples of discord.

Ah but, you say. In this world, how can you tread anywhere without disturbing someone? Don’t you have to be a ‘yes girl’ to not disturb anyone? Doesn’t that make you weak?

Not when I stand true to my beliefs. To my values. Not when I express my truth, in Love, without fearing the outcome.

But… Isn’t that like not leaving your mark on life? On the world? Don’t you want to make a difference?

Yes. I do. Want to make a difference.

And I want my difference to be remembered in how people feel about themselves, their lives, their possibilities. Not about me.

Working at a homeless shelter I am greeted with countless opportunities everyday to be kind. To be caring. To be compassionate and tolerant and fair.

With those we serve.

Where I am not so kind and caring and compassionate and tolerant is with the people on ‘the other-side of the street’. On mainstreet. The world ‘out there’. With those I consider, in my judgement and not so kind viewpoint, should know better.

When we know better we do better.

And sometimes, I view some of those I meet on ‘mainstreet’ as lacking in the knowing they need to do better.

And sometimes, in my determination of what ‘they lack’, I am less than kind, less than compassionate, less than tolerant.

Hello? Who am I kidding? Who am I to criticize?

I cannot be kind with some, and not with others and think of myself as a woman of integrity. I cannot create compassion in some corners of my world and carry discord in others without jeopardizing my peace of mind. And when I am intolerant with some, including myself, I am creating a world of discord around me.

It is the 100% accountability factor.

To be a woman of integrity. To radiate joy and peace and harmony throughout my world, I must move through myself and every moment, every encounter in Love, creating a ripple effect of kindness, compassion and tolerance all around me.

It is the way to happiness. To peace of mind. To calmness of spirit and soul. It is the way.

Because, no matter how much I might think I’m fooling myself that what I am saying is ‘the truth’ when I speak disrespectfully of someone else or treat them with little care or thought of the impact of my words or actions, I am acting without integrity. I am not being kind.

And so, I turn the mirror back to me and look lovingly upon the cloudy imperfection of my reflection.

In loving kindness, I accept the one I see and let go of the fear she will never be enough.

She already is. In all her human imperfections.

We all are.


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Moving beyond the fears of the ‘there and then’.

Years ago, when I began blogging, I set a goal of writing frequently. It quickly became apparent that ‘frequently’ left too much room for interpretation. I needed a specific measurement. I changed my goal to ‘write daily’.

It worked.

Today I have published 3,425 posts. Enough for several books worth!

I think it’s time to broaden my goal, because ultimately, writing daily is now my habit, which was the underlying intention of writing a blog — to create a safe, courageous container for me to express myself and free myself to be me while also instilling in myself the habit of writing daily.

Writing a blog for 12 years is different than writing in my journal for 12 years. In journal writing, I am an audience of one. The intention is to simply express my thoughts and feelings and allow them to ‘be’ so that I do not have to carry them around inside of me.

Writing on my blog, my intention has always been to share my experiences so that I can find value in all things – and thus, inspire others to find value in all things. No matter how dark, bad, difficult, challenging the circumstance, whatever I share, I must always find the value in whatever it is so that I can create better in the world around me.

What I’ve discovered is that in the act of setting an intention to ‘find value in all things so that I can inspire others to do the same’, I have also developed the habit of seeing the possibility in all things.

Writing every day, when coupled with my intention, has been good for my soul, my spirit, my heart, my life, my world.

But where to from here?

An interesting question as I explore my word for 2019, ‘surrender’.

One of the limiting beliefs I hold is a deeply buried fear of ‘exposure’.  It’s a weird one because it’s not really about ‘success’ or ‘failure’. It’s messed up in a fear of ‘what if people see who I truly am and reject me?’

Now, in my head, I know how ‘silly’ that fear is. But that’s the thing about limiting beliefs and the critter inside who fuels them — Limiting beliefs are fear-driven responses originally created long ago in the there and then to keep us safe in what was the here and now at the time.

Except, the here and now moved on. Our limiting beliefs didn’t. They stayed stuck in the root cause of whatever caused them to be created, deeply buried in the fears that ignited them into being. And they can only be released when we acknowledge them and lovingly expose them to the light of day.

One of the things I’ve learned is that limiting beliefs and the games they ignite are always present in my life. What has changed is my capacity to see where I’m playing them or falling into their trap, and my capacity to stop the game and get conscious of what I’m doing and where I’m at in every moment.

Where once, my self-defeating games dictated my actions, they no longer have as much power to disrupt my status quo and pull me off center.

Sure, there are times when I get triggered and respond inappropriately or without thought. But, rather than staying stuck in my victim role, or defiant child attitude, or stubborn teenager, or whatever attitude I’ve taken on, I am able to bring my integrity to bear and let go of ‘attitude’ to allow myself the grace of being real and present with myself.

So what does this have to do with a new goal for my writing?

I’ve been kind of stuck in thinking if I just keep writing, the path will appear and I will know what to do. (Which deep down is really all about my fear of being exposed)

Surrender isn’t about just letting the flow take me where it will. It’s one of the contradictions of ‘flow’. It’s not about being like a jelly fish, letting the tide’s ebb and flow take me where it will.

Surrender is about giving into and becoming one with the deeper divine wisdom within, trusting that, embraced in its presence, I am safe to step beyond my comfort zone into the unknown, confident that whatever I do or encounter, I will be supported by Love. In Love’s embrace, no action is wrong or right. It is just the action I am taking to create better in my world.

And the journey continues… Still musing…. Still evolving.. Still discerning what it means to surrender…

 

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What would be different if you opened the eyes of your heart?

The Divine dwells within you, and desires that you heal.

Carolyne Myss and Peter Occhiogrosso

In the Ayruveda, it is said that the soul is already perfect. In our human imperfections, we don’t fully realize it. In our spiritual quest to ‘become’ the perfection of our human birthright, we work at healing old wounds, soothing the past, creating new pathways to a better tomorrow. In our quest to ‘be’ the perfect Divine creation we already are, regardless of our faith, we seek wisdom to heal ourselves, without realizing our essence isn’t broken, it’s just not visible to us. We don’t have the ‘eyes’ of our heart open to see the beauty that has been within us all along.

Many years ago, at a time when I felt like I desperately needed ‘fixing’, I heard a song for the first time and was moved to tears. “Open the Eyes of My Heart” is a Christian song by Mercy Me. But it wasn’t the type of song, or faith in the song that moved me. It was the idea that if I ‘opened the eyes of my heart’, I would experience healing, feel complete, know true Love.

I still feel the tears inside my heart whenever I hear that song today. It still moves me, touches me, reaches inside me and opens the eyes of my heart to the wonder and the joy and the beauty of my Divine essence. It still awakens me to the truth of my human condition: I am a child of the Universe, the Divine expression of amazing grace.

So much of my journey of life has been about reclamation. Reclamation of self. Of my Divine essence. Of my spiritual being and self-Love.

When I look back with an open heart at the many roads that have brought me to ‘here’ today, I see the pitfalls, the potholes and the gaping wounds. And I see the beauty of everything. Because everything has awoken me to the song within my heart; a song I still sing today, knowing, I don’t need to search for perfection, completelness, my spiritual essence. I already hold it all. Within me. And it already holds me. I am already whole. I am already healed. I am already embraced by the Divine.

When I get out of the way of my own thinking, I am at peace.

When I get out of the way of my doing, I am enough.

When I get out of the way of my being, I become all I am; the Divine expression of amazing grace.

The question is: Are you willing to open the eyes of your heart and see your amazing grace?


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Are you flowing with or against the current?

I dream.

I am crossing a desert. Looking for signs of life. I come to the edge of a river. I am hot. Tired. Lonely. Scared. On the other side of the river I see people dancing on the sands that edge up against a beautiful forest filled with flowers and birds and luscious fruits. The people call to me. They wave and yell, “Come on over.”

The current is fast. The water dark and deep. I am afraid to swim across. Seeing my fear they throw me a rope. I grab onto it but am still afraid to step into the waters. They tug on the rope and I slip and enter the river.

It is cold. I fight against the current. Fight against the tug on the rope. I see the people waving, calling out to me to hold on, they will pull me in. But I don’t want their help. I don’t want to be where they are on the bank of the river. I want to explore the lands further down.

I let go of the rope. The water pulls me. I fight against it. I grow tired. And then, the thought enters my mind that I must surrender. I must quit resisting the rivers current and flow with it, not against it.

A beautiful peace envelopes me. I drift upon the waters and am carried gently to a place further down the shore. A place of such spectacular beauty it takes my breath away. I step onto the shore and feel the silky texture of the sands beneath my feet. The warmth of the sun upon my back. The kiss of the breeze upon my cheek. Beauty surrounds me in all its breath-taking awe…

I awaken.

Like the woman in my dream, I sometimes resist life’s natural current, the ebb and flow of energy pulsating around me, through me, in me. I fight against the current, trying to make it fit me. To mold it to my design. To fit it into a box of what I construct in my mind as my ‘reality’.

It’s time to surrender and flow gracefully in the current of life.

When I let go of the ropes I use to manipulate, control, manage life around me, I give into the flow of life, its natural tendency to support me, lift me up, carry me onward, make me part of life flowing endlessly.

Like a drowning woman fighting against the waters, my resistance draggs me under, undermining my ability to float on the surface and be carried gracefully with the current to where ever it takes me.

When I flow with the current, I am one with the waters. I am free to dive beneath the surface, swim with the fish, explore the depths or rest gently on the surface, flowing with the flow. I am free to let the waters carry me as I let go of my need to direct their course and take their destination as a matter of course.

I can’t change the course of the river. I can change my course to let myself flow in the current of life, with grace and ease, peacefully stepping onto the shores where ever they find me, joyfully swimming in the waters of life buoying me up with their laughter, song, dance and love.

The question is: Are you struggling against the current, swimming upstream, battling against the flow? Are you willing to surrender and flow in and with the current of life?


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When there’s nothing else to do. Surrender.

“Surrender”  Alcohol ink on Yupo Paper
11″ x 14″
Louise Gallagher 2019

It’s an interesting space, this place where I surrender my ‘knowing’ to embrace the all of what I do not know, about life.

My active mind wants me to believe that if I just acknowledge my not knowing, I’ll be able to figure out all the knowing I need.

My intuitive, essential self knows, there is nothing to know except this moment right now. Nothing to do but to give into the river of life in which I flow freely, in this moment right now, and be present, alive, here.

In surrender, there is no knowing. There just is. What is. Reality as I see it. Experience it. Know it. Without any insistence on the part of my mind that I can channel it, change it, create it, make it into anything other than what is.

In the big moments in our lives, many of us will come to that moment of surrender. That dark night of the soul where we know there is nothing else we can do. We can’t keep fighting. Crying. Hurting. Being here.

In that space, we surrender and accept, we do not have the answers. We do not know the way.

In that space, we accept there is a force outside ourselves, greater than ourselves, other than, that we submit to. We can’t see it. Perhaps don’t even believe in it. We just know, we surrender.

And in that surrender, a path opens up. We don’t know where it’s going. If it’s even ‘the right’ path. We just know, we need to take another step and trust the next one will appear.

Looking back, we stand in awe of that moment. Not because it appeared but rather, because in all our trying to get there, trying to make it happen, nothing happened. And then, in our surrender, it appeared.

Living our daily lives in that place of surrender can be difficult. We’ve got lists of things to do. Places to be.

Who’s got time for surrender when there’s just too much to get done and not enough hours in a day?

We can practice surrender in those small, every day moments.

We can meditate. Walk. Dance. Ride a bike. Do something that takes our minds off our ‘doing’ to fall gently into our being.

Yesterday, I chose to paint. I did have ‘a goal’. When a word chooses me for the year, I create a painting to remind me of the word.

I sank into meditation and a vision of ‘surrender’ arose and while the final painting does not look like that vision, it feels like surrender to me.

When I create, I let go of ‘the outcome’ and fall into the grace of being present in the moment of creation. I play. I have fun. I experiment. I ‘don’t know’ as much as respond to how the paint flows, the colours blend, the canvas calls.

It is a beautiful, enlivening place. A space that reminds me, always, to surrender and…

Breathe.

In.

Out.

In.

Out.

As you go through your day, stop every so often, breathe and ask yourself,

What am I experiencing in this moment, right now?

What if, my experience is not ‘the thing’? What if ‘the thing’ is to let everything be as it is, just as it is?

What if, I sit and breathe and let what is be my experience in this moment?

Now, feel it. Be it. Breathe into it. Right now.

Namaste.