Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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Lessons from in front of the easel.

They said climb too high, you will fall. She fell, again and again, and learned how to fly.

They said climb too high, you will fall.
She fell, again and again, and learned how to fly.

I painted and glazed and used my Gelli pad (a rubbery pad used for print making — I love it!) and splashed some more paint and really, really was into the moment, just diving into the creative process, letting the muse have her way when… who should appear? That nasty little voice in my head, (you know that critter guy who likes to interfere with joyful pursuits just to make sure you’re not getting too full of savouring and loving life)… Yeah him… well he piped in and said, “You think you know what you’re doing. You don’t. You’re going to mess it up. You’re just kidding yourself. You haven’t got a clue about what you’re doing…”

That was to have been the theme for the 13th painting in my #ShePersisted series. “They said she didn’t know what she was doing. She turned their world upside down.”

Which is why, the woman who is falling in the painting was actually turning a cartwheel originally.

And then, the birds appeared.

And then, I remembered a couple of ideas two friends shared with me on FB for a quote for one of the paintings, and suddenly, cartwheels turned to a woman falling and learning to fly. (Thank you Sheila K. and Sandra R)

And that is how the creative process works.

Two ideas became one, emerging out of another.

It is what is continuing to compel me to create this series. I am not in control. I am not the ‘creator’. I am simply the conduit for the muse to express herself through me.

And it can be tiring. Or so I tell myself until I recognize that thought as the critter’s subtle attempt to get me to stop. “You really don’t know what you’re doing,” he hisses. “Stop it.”

No. I won’t.

I will not give into the critter, even when he is stomping his feet and telling me to stop painting. Stop creating. Like he tried last night.

And that is the lesson I found waiting for me in front of the easel last night.

The critter is just a voice in my head. He is not real. He is a creation of my reptilian mind, rising up out of the ages. Carrying generations of familial messages, trauma, hurts and pains.

Sure, in a not so nice way, he’s trying to keep me safe. He’s trying to protect me.

He forgets. I am no longer foraging for grains, living in a cave, peering into a fire that I keep burning all night to ward off animals and evil spirits.

I have evolved. I am here, right now, a powerful woman capable of expressing myself fearlessly. I have my own voice. My own opinions. My own thoughts. And, I am powerful beyond my own imaginings!

Once upon a time, the critter and I were one. He was important to my survival.

I survived the dark ages. It’s time for both of us to come into the light.

 

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The series #ShePersisted can be viewed on my website, HERE.

 


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What happens when you fear making a mistake?

 

making-mistakes-is-better-than-faking-perfections-mistake-quote

On the Wednesday morning of every Choices session, the core team meets for breakfast before the session begins. The conversation centres around what to expect in the next five days, with Mary Davis, the facilitator, sharing any information she needs us to know before the coaching team and trainees enter the room.

Last session, she shared a fear she has and asked if anyone else would be willing to share theirs.

“Sure,” I replied.

I had a big one. This was the first training session where I was 100% responsible for all the work that gets done at the back table in the room. And there’s lots. I’d been helping out over the past few months but had never gone it alone. RM was always there to teach me and to catch any mistakes. This time, I was alone.

“I’m terrified I won’t do the backtable work as perfectly as RM,” I shared with the group. And I laughed. “I know it’s irrational but while my conscious mind knows that I will do my best and everyone will have my back, somewhere within me is the belief, I can’t do it as perfectly as RM. I know the fear is unreal, but it feels real to me.”

Joe Davis, Mary’s husband and co-facilitator reassured me they’d have my back. And of course, now that they knew my fear he and a couple of the other coaches would make sure to tease me about it throughout the week.

And they did. Tease me. Lots.

And every time they did, I got to laugh at myself and feel my fear diminish as I saw the path to letting go of my fear was to focus my light on doing my best. My best is good enough and when I believe everyone around me wants me to do my best, my fear fades in the light of trust.

It can be easy for me to get caught in the trap of thinking ‘it’s up to me and only me to get it right’. And if I get something wrong, it’s easy for me to believe, I will be banished, shamed, voted off the island or any other calamity that might happen when I mess up and don’t do it perfectly — or at least right.

My fear isn’t about making mistakes. It’s about trusting others to support me and give me room to grow through my mistakes. It’s about trusting others to turn up in kindness, fairness, love.

In being given the gift of being teased whenever I did make a mis-step, I was given the gift of seeing my fears as what they are — thoughts in my mind that really aren’t based in reality. They’re just based in my critter mind’s need to keep me safe from trusting in others — because the critter believes people aren’t trustworthy. They’ll only let you down. He doesn’t believe they will turn up and be true.

When I give into the critter, I give up on people. And giving up on people, not believing in their worth, value, truth, creates a world of fear in and around me.

And that is not the more of what I want in my life.

Truth is, no one else was expecting me not to make mistakes. They were willing to give me the grace of not doing it perfectly. It was me who wasn’t.

In the end, any mistakes I did make were easily fixed. The training happened. Everyone got to Sunday evening with the paperwork, directions, and tools necessary to complete the training.

And I got to the end laughing at myself and feeling like I really did have a place on the island. I really did belong.