Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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The difference is in our human connection

She is maneuvering her scooter wheelchair up the ramp into the Mac’s store where I am headed to buy cough drops. I call out to her that I will open the door, slip around her scooter and hold it open. She nods her head, grunts a muffled ‘thank you’ (I think) and moves away.

Inside the store, she struggles to move her scooter through the aisles to the cooler section. I watch and ask if I can help.

“I just want a Coke,” she says and I open the fridge door, grab one down and pass it to her. Again, she nods her head, mumbles and moves away.

At the checkout I step back to make room for her to get into the line. This time, she acknowledges my presence. She smiles at me, comments on the heat and how difficult it is to get around for her as she’s just got the scooter. “Cities aren’t really designed for people like me,” she says.

“It must be very challenging,” I comment and she tells me more about her difficulties.

I notice two puppies in a cloth animal carry bag at her feet and she tells me their names. “Buddy” and “Friend”. We chat about her dogs. I tell her how I like their names. “It must be nice to know you always have a buddy and a friend around,” I quip.

She laughs. “Yeah. Except, this Buddy, he can be a real little dickens. Always trying to run off. He’s so nosy. He wants to know what’s going on everywhere!”

And then it’s her turn and the sales clerk greets her and I know she comes here often because he reaches over towards the lottery machine and asks, “Quick Pick?

She laughs. “Not this time. Just the Coke.” And I wonder if, as happens to many, the month has too many days for her assistance cheque.

She holds the coke out towards the clerk but the counter is too far up for her to reach from a sitting position. She’s told me she can walk, but it’s uncomfortable in the heat and I offer to pass the Coke to the clerk and she is grateful. She hands me the bottle and her Toonie (a $2 coin) and I pass both to the clerk. He scans the coke, counts out her change. I pass both back to the woman.

“I’m the intermediary!” I say.

And we all three share a moment connected through laughter.

I pay for my cough drops. The clerk says, “Thanks for all your help.”

The woman is moving towards the exit door and a man in line races over to open it for her. He smiles, she smiles, and I smile as I walk out behind her through the open door the man is holding open for me too.

“Thank you,” I smile.

“Have a great day,” he says. “Oh, and thank you for being so happy this morning too. You brightened my day.”

“You brightened my day too.” I tell him. “I love open doors!”

And we part to go our separate ways and I know the day has been made different because of those small connections made through our human connection on a hot sunny morning in July.

 


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When I shift, everything shifts.

Day 68 of consciously choosing to notice what it means and what it takes to make a difference in the world.

The lessons are simple.

It begins with me. My I Statement.

I am the difference I want to create in the world.

Making a difference requires Commitment.

Commit to your Be. Do. Have.

Focus on your Intention — how do you want to BE in the world.

Move through Attention — where will you focus your efforts on your DOing — what am I willing to DO to create what I want in the world

Find fulfillment of your vision in No Tension — that state of being where you HAVE balance and harmony in your being and doing what you want more of in the world. That place where you know, the Universe is on your side. The Universe is with you, for you, supporting you because it is in the best interests of the Universe that each of us shine.

Stay your path. The Path is the Way.

On Valentine’s Day I gave my beloved the gift of a poem a day for 14 days. I thought it was simple gift that would speak to him of my heart and love. I thought he would enjoy it. No expectations, I said. No need to respond. I’m sending you these poems as a gift. (He is currently living 500 km away and we only see each other every second weekend.)

I lied (didn’t mean to but I did have expectations).

I had lots and lots of expectations! And I let him know it. Even sent him ‘the script’ I’d written on day three about how he should be responding — you know, by my rules and all that. Naturally, his response was not all that ummm, positive.

I regrouped. Took a breath. Acknowledged I did have expectations and my expectations were pushing up against his natural resistance to my expectations. I wanted to quit. To pack up my words in a huff and take to the silent path of poutiness.

I remembered my desire to make a difference in his heart.

I began again where I was.

Always begin again.

I kept sending the poems. Every day. Dipping into that loving place where I write my heart out without expectation of the outcome.

What a difference.

We’re now on Day 30 and the process of writing of love every morning has changed where we are in our relationship. Everything has shifted. Intimacy has deepened. Openness has expanded. Togetherness has aligned.

When I shift, everything shifts.

That simple decision to write a poem a day has made a difference.

Sticking to it, even when the road got muddy, has made a difference.

When I shifted my expectations away from ‘what I want’ to accepting what is, everything was made different.

I’m now working on an online course to inspire others to engage in a similar process.

You make your Difference.

 

Have you told yourself today that ‘it doesn’t matter’. My difference doesn’t count. Nobody cares. Nobody gets ‘me’. Have you asked yourself, “What’s the point?” “Why bother?”

Shift.

Shift your perspective and know, when you shift, everything shifts.

We can all make a difference. It just takes shifting our perspective and opening up to what is without expectation it be any different than what it is.

Sometimes, all it takes to make a difference in the world is to commit to doing something different.

We are each the difference we seek to create in the world. Letting go and flying free of expectations gives us room to explore the space between where we’re at and what is being created in our difference.

Namaste.

 

 


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Engage in the creation of beauty

A new week. A new day. A new opportunity to make a difference.

It happens everyday. Every moment of every day. And something I’m learning through this process of being conscious of what it means to make a difference is that — being requires action.

Several people have commented to me that ‘you make a difference on blogs everyday Louise.’ Thank you — Fact is, the difference isn’t that I turn up and be present in this white space. It is that I consciously fill this white space with my best with my creative intention to inspire.

My presence, your presence, in the world makes a difference by our being here. Air is displaced. We create ripples of energy as we move through time and space. the challenge is — to ensure the energy we extend to the world is the kind of difference we want to see in the world.

I did an experiment on my walk with Ellie yesterday. We took the paved trail as the off-pavement trail was extremely mucky. As we walked east, I spied a crumbled up kleenex on the path. I only had one bag so I decided to leave the kleenex until our return — and also, to see if anyone else picked it up. We passed several people going in the opposite direction as Ellie and I continued eastward. When we turned around and came back, the kleenex was still there. Bless them. Forgive me. (you know I was thinking not all nice things about those who passed the garbage by…)

This isn’t about those who missed the garbage. It’s about, once again, the action I took to ‘make a difference’. My choice. My decision.

The beauty when we take action is that we create a difference for others to experience and enjoy (there’s that ripple). Absolutely no one will know what I did. And it doesn’t matter. It isn’t about others knowing. It’s about what I’m doing to be the difference I want to create in the world. To have left the kleenex would have made a difference — just not in the direction I want to go.

There is no stasis in being present in the world — we are constantly evolving, always moving towards or away from what we want to create. I want to create a world of beauty — to actively engage in my creation, I must take action, constantly to be actively engaged in creating beauty in the world around me. And that includes picking up garbage.

Ask yourself today — what am I willing to do to create the kind of world I want to live in?

And then, consciously look for opportunities to be engaged in its creation.

Namaste.


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Committing acts of service

Last month, Ted Osler, one of the partners at Six Degrees, an audio, music recording studio here in the city, offered to record the one page story I’ve written on Joanne, a young 17 year old girl who was murdered several years ago. Joanne was in the process of leaving street life behind when she made a decision that cost her life. We are telling Joanne’s, and other stories of women murdered on the streets in the project, and My Name is… which the planning committee is currently in the throes of defining, creating, organizing.

When I went to the studio for the recording session of the story, Andrea Wettstein, the composer and voice coach we were working with, became interested in the project enough that she asked to be involved. Yesterday, she came to the meeting with me and will continue to volunteer her energy and talents towards moving it forward. Six Degrees has offered to stay involved as well as we continue to prepare for the official launch of the project this fall.

It is the selfless giving of organizations like Six Degrees, city employees like Beth and Dawn, Jody, Rebecca, Quyen in the Arts & Culture Department who go beyond the call of duty to ensure Calgary’s cultural essence continues to thrive and individuals like Andrea and Helen and Sue and Bev and Jane and all the police working with us to create the substance behind each voice in and My Name is…, that great acts of service are committed in the world, everyday.

If you volunteer, whether it be your time, talents, treasures or the resources of your organization, I invite you to take a moment today and say, ‘You’re welcome world’. Acknowledging what you do as a volunteer, honouring your contributions is as important as honouring the contributions of others. Your willingness to contribute acts of service to the world, makes a difference.

Give yourself a pat on the back today — you deserve it and the universe deserves your gifts.

Namaste.


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Peace of mind rests in a servant’s attitude

Princess Ellie

Yesterday I set out on my walk with Ellie, my Golden Retriever, with an intent in mind before I left the house.  My intent — to clean up the path of any deposits littering the trail. To insure I could fulfill on my intent, I took along extra bags and an attitude of service.

It made a difference. Walking with my intent clear, and the tools necessary to act upon it shifted my focus from seeing what other people didn’t do as ‘transgressions’ to one of seeing opportunities to be of service all along the trail. As I walked, I looked for places to ‘clean up the world’ and found ample opportunity to put my intent into action.

And all it took was a shift in perception.

Setting out with my intent clear meant I had extra bags with me, and could clean up all along the path. Knowing my path before we set out meant I could ignore the messes on our walk to the end of the trail we took and picked up on the way back. No matter the direction, I got to enjoy my walk with Ellie without inner grumblings of ‘transgressions’ marring my experience, and  I got to revel in a servant’s attitude all the way back to my car.

Win/Win.

And, once again it proves how easy it is to live consciously making a difference — and to enjoy my day without inner grumblings marring my path — If you’re looking for peace of mind — shift your perceptions:  Embody a servant’s attitude —  Set an intent. Plan your path and enjoy the journey, knowing, peace of mind rests in a servant’s attitude.

 

 


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The immeasurable moments of making a difference

I received an email yesterday from a co-worker at the shelter where I worked for almost six years. They wrote to tell me how much I had touched their life, what a difference I made for them, and how I taught them many things they appreciate and incorporate into their life today.

I am grateful.

In this individual’s note is the essence of what it means to make a difference for me.

It is not about what I do. Not about title or wealth or education or status or who I know or the perfect outfit for the perfect occasion. It is about the imprint I make upon people —  The gentleness of my touch, the kindness of my words, the softness of my step upon the delicate fabric of their hearts.

In receiving their email yesterday it struck me that out of all the things I did at the shelter, from raising community awareness, building relationships, creating an art program, opening an art and music studio, writing/publishing a book, recording Stand by Me with clients, creating a concert, a documentary, plays, the writing, the commercials, the teaching, the creating opportunities for community engagement, while all of those things are important, what matters most are the ‘intangibles’. Those immeasurable moments that touch my soul,open my heart, awaken my mind. It is in those quiet moments where hope stirs, spirits lift and I am connected, heart-to-heart in service, that I am most alive and grateful.

For it isn’t in the concrete things I do or did that make the difference. It is in the hearts I touch. The hearts that touch mine that I find myself steeped in gratitude.

As a friend said when I told him I was leaving the shelter, “What you did will flow back into the miasma of the universe. Things will change. What can never change is how we touch people. How we made them feel. How we connected to their hearts.”

I am grateful. In my co-workers email I am reminded that making a difference isn’t all about what I ‘do’, it’s about how I am, how my being shows up in the hearts and minds of those I encounter on my journey. It is about being the difference I want to see in the world and making my difference through being the best me I am when I let go of my ego’s call for more and give into my soul’s desire for quality in all my relationships, for beauty in all my doing, for humility and Love in all my being me in this world.


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A Servant’s Frame of Reference

Being at home created the opportunity to make a difference. C.C., my partner, is ill. A nasty cough that will not subside, I played nurse to his patient. Bringing him tea, going to the drugstore to buy Eucalyptus oil so that he could breathe in a warm, healing mist. Making him chicken soup.

Now, I would normally do these kinds of things but yesterday, the difference was, I consciously did them with a loving heart. I consciously filled my being with harmony as I responded to his need for care.

Often, when taking care of someone else, my mind is busy with thoughts of what the interruption is costing me — time, energy, the book I was reading, the task I was doing… With a loving heart, thoughts of the ‘cost’ vanished as awareness rose to the forefront of my thinking, filling my doing with awareness of what the other person needed to be comfortable, to feel loved, not what my doing would do for them and me. In that gift of being of service without worrying about ‘the cost’, I became intimately aware of the sacredness of the moment as my heart became imbued with  the awe of living from a servant’s frame of reference to being of service to my fellow human beings.

It also meant I was conscious of the gift of having my friend Dave stay with us for the weekend. He is moving back to Winnipeg today and needed a few days, after cleaning out his apartment, to rest and ground himself before driving east. This weekend gave C.C. and me a chance to spend time with him before he left. To simply be in the moment of enjoying his conversation, company, wit and insight as we shared a few days on the path together.

Opportunities to make a difference are always present. It is my presence that is not always aware of their presence. Filled with the importance of my personal busy-ness, I often miss out on the gift of living with a servant’s frame of reference. Without a frame of mind that says —  Living on purpose means being of service to others — I lose opportunities to replenish my spirit and enlighten my heart and soul.

This weekend, as I practiced being conscious of the moment and the gifts within each moment as I acted upon the call to be of service, I found myself reveling in the joy opening up within my heart like a lotus flower opening to the sun’s warming rays. In that opening, I am filled with the grace of gratitude knowing that, in service, I am breathing life into my presence here on earth.

Namaste.