Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


Does fear stop you from creating?

Work in Progress. No. 44
#ShePersisted Series

Over at Live and Learn yesterday, David Kanigan shares an expert from a Robert Ito article in the NY Times about funny-man Ray Romano.

“It’s just doubt, that’s the biggest thing.”

Doubt, uncertainty, insecurity can keep me from doing things I love.

Like painting.

I have begun working on No. 44 of my #ShePersisted series.

No. 44.

It’s taken me awhile to get to No. 44. With every piece I complete, I worry the next one won’t appear. Or won’t be any good. Or won’t ring true.

I worry I can’t paint. I’m not creative enough. I don’t have any talent.

And in my worry, I hesitate. I avoid. I ‘take a break’, convincing myself it’s what I need, even though I know, that’s the lie.

Deep within me, to the farthest reaches of every cell in my body, I feel the compelling and vital desire to express myself creatively, to dig into my creative essence and let it flow free.

And still I hesitate. Stall. Pause.

Until finally, the pressure grows so great I know there is only one way to release it.

I put brush to paint to canvas if only to prove my fears right. And in the act of proving them right I push through. My fear. My insecurity. My doubt.

I don’t know what else to do.

I know the fears and doubts are there.

I just can’t let them win. I just can’t let them own me, or worse yet, deprive me of doing something I find so satisfying, so joyful, so life-giving.

Creating. Painting. Writing.

For me, these are life-giving passions that dance an uncomfortable jig in the darkness and lightness of their ever present need to be expressed.

Giving into the darkness, I feel bereft. Empty. Defeated.

Yet, to give into the lightness, I must struggle through the dark. I must dance with my fears and turn them to the light so that I can set myself free to create, even in my fears, even in my doubts and insecurities.

The world is filled with creative soul’s clamouring to be free. Now, more than ever, as world events seemingly spiral over the edge of reason, we must all let go of our reasons to not create, to not bring our soulful essence into being. We must release ourselves from the darkness and begin to create in the light of knowing, the kind of world we need, the world we deserve to live in is filled with beauty, wonder and awe and above all, peace.




The Way of the Monk. The Path of the Artist

The path through the trees

The path through the trees

I walked at the river yesterday. It is only the second time I have walked there since Ellie, the Wonder Pooch, passed away. I walked along the escarpment, sat at the spot where we used to sit on the edge of the cliff overlooking the river. I travelled down into the river valley, a trip made much easier without Ellie urging me to go faster, faster. I walked along the path that skirts the edge of the river, deep into the forest, back along the river. And then, I sat in the warm autumn sun at the edge of the water and breathed in. Deeply.

I have started a twelve week online course The Way of the Monk. The Path of the Artist at Abbey of the Arts. The course offers an invitation to explore the two powerful archetypes of the monk and artist. As the course outline explains, “Our “inner monk” is the part of ourselves that seeks the ground of all being and a mystical connection to the divine source, longing for what is most essential in life and cultivates this through a commitment to spiritual practice. The “inner artist” is the part of ourselves that engages the world through our senses, and is passionate about beauty, seeking to give it outward form and expression through a variety of media (including visual art, poetry, movement, song, gardening, cooking, relationships, etc.). Both the monk and artist are edge-dwellers, ones who commit to living in fertile border-spaces and who call the wider community beyond the status quo to alternative ways of being.”

I am standing in the liminal space where the path of the monk meets the artist. It is unknown territory for me, hallowed ground where I honour what is present and release what is not needed at this time.

I don’t know what walking into the mystery of this course will offer. I do know it will serve me well.

The invitation in yesterday’s course email was to slip into the meditation, open to the invitation of a word or phrase shimmering at the edge of my awareness.

The word that came to me was ‘roots’.  The phrase that rose up to embrace me was,  “her roots are as deep as the mountains grow high”. I live along the plains at the foot of the Rockies, north of the 49th parallel.  I have always wondered what it means to have roots — believing that roots are physical, that we must be of one place to know them.This past weekend, celebrating my mother’s 92nd birthday, it struck me that while my roots are not deep in Canadian soil, relatively speaking, they are deep in the spiritual essence of family.

As I sat in the silence, the thought arose that roots are metaphorical. They are not what grounds me. It is family. Life. Love that holds me steady.

In the meditation, I found myself breathing into my heart space — the invitation to release all that was not needed at this time gave me space to be present with all that is needed at this time — and that was Love and the knowing that my presence here on earth is not, as I recently read in an article by Peter Rengel, to transcend my humanness, but to revere myself exactly as I am right now.

And in that space, my heart embrace the truth at the root of all I am — Love.

It is all I need in this moment right now to know, I am safe. I am free. I am One with the essence of life flowing all around me.

I have roots and my roots are grounded deeply in the nourishing soils of Love.