Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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The #ShePersisted Series

When I began the #ShePersisted series I thought that I would create 12 images and quotes for the series, and that would be that.

Ideas continue to flow. The muse persists.

I am grateful.

The muse and I have a love/hate relationship. She loves me 100% of the time, I am not so loyal. In fact, I like to tell myself, I don’t need her. Or, in my willful disregard of her presence, I like to believe she has deserted me.

It is my victim’s voice. That monkey mind chattering place where I tell myself all sorts of things to justify why/how/what isn’t happening in my life, isn’t my fault/responsibility/accountability.

I cannot control 100% of what appears on my path. I can choose to be 100% accountable for what I choose to do with what appears.

This morning, the muse awakened me with her insistence I pay heed.

I decided to get 100% accountable and take her lead.

The thoughts that awoke me were about my youngest daughter’s ballet point shoes that still hang from the corner of the armoire in my art storage room downstairs.

They are pink. Scuffed. Well worn.

I remember the first time she danced ‘en pointe’. She was so excited, in spite of the pain.

She continued to persist, to push herself to dance ‘en pointe’ because it was so beautiful, so seemingly effortless when done well.

It was never effortless. And it always hurt.

In her teens, her feet were a mess.

I am grateful today for her wisdom to stop doing it.

I didn’t want to interfere. I didn’t want to take a stand against doing something she obviously loved, even though it caused her pain.

Life’s like that. We do things, in spite of the pain, telling ourselves we have no choice. To be a ballerina, you must dance ‘en pointe’.

To be a woman, you must wear clothes, shoes, outfits that squeeze, reveal, bunch, crunch and push up places that don’t need pushing up and scrunching in. Not to please ourselves, but rather, because we believe it is important to please others.

I like my daughters point shoes hanging in my art storage room.

They are a good reminder to stop doing things to please others, even though it hurts me.

Namaste.

May your day be filled with ease of heart, mind, and body. May you have the wisdom to stop doing things to please others if doing them hurts you.

_______

The #ShePersisted series can be viewed on my website.


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Dance like no one is watching.

Once there was a little girl who loved to dance. She leapt and spun and twirled about and no matter where she went, people stopped to watch and admire and say how cute she was.

As she grew older she kept on dancing and people kept on watching and admiring.

Until one day, when she was much older, someone in the crowd who was watching yelled out, “You oughta be ashamed of yourself. You’re acting like an old fool.”

The comment from an unidentified stranger surprised her. She stopped, mid leap, lost her footing, stumbled and fell to the ground.

As she lay on the ground rubbing her ankle, the crowd starting mumbling. “Fool! What an exhibitionist,” they muttered amongst themselves. “Can’t she see she’s too old to be dancing?”

“These are serious times,” they whispered as they moved away. “We’ve got no time for such foolishness.”

The girl, who was a much older woman now, lay on the ground, nursing her bruised ankle. She was surprised by the crowd’s response to her fall.

As she struggled to get up, a little girl came to her side, held out her hand and helped her stand up. “Are you hurt?” she asked.

The woman laughed. “No. I just have to catch my breath so I can start dancing again.”

“Doesn’t it bother you what they said?” the little girl asked. “They sounded so mean.”

The woman chuckled as she checked out her body to make sure nothing was broken. “Tell you the truth, I hadn’t noticed anyone was watching me dance.”

Just then, someone threw a rotten tomato at the woman and screamed, “Stupid old woman! Go home!”

The woman ducked quickly and shielded the little girl with her body. The tomato landed far enough away, she didn’t even feel its splatter.

“That was so mean,” the little girl squealed.

The woman knelt down in front of the little girl, gripped her hands in hers and looked into her eyes. “Sometimes, we fear what we don’t know or understand,” the woman told the little girl. “All those people are scared because they don’t remember the pure joy of dancing. Some of them probably never even knew it. So, they’re afraid.”

“But they shouldn’t throw rotten tomatoes!” the little girl insisted.

“That’s true,” the woman agreed. “But when we don’t know better, we can’t do better. Most of those people don’t know that taking life so seriously is making life harder to live.”

“If I dance, will my life be better?” the little girl asked.

“Only you know what’s true for you,” the woman told her. “The secret is, to live your truth and let everyone around you lives theirs in harmony and joy. I know that dancing won’t fix all the woes of the world, but it sure helps me get through each day loving my life and the world around me.”

“Will you keep on dancing if no one’s watching?” the little girl asked her.

The woman threw back her head, laughed out loud and took a little leap of joy. “Of course! Dancing is what I love to do!”

“Oh goodie!” said the little girl clapping her hands in delight. “I want to dance too! Will you teach me?”

And the woman rose up and taught the little girl to dance and together they spun about and twirled and leapt for the pure joy of dancing like no one was watching.

#ShePersisted

______________

I am always so enthralled and fascinated with the creative process. When I went to bed last night, I had completed the painting, but did not know what the quote would be — or the story. I had started the evening with a vision for a different quote. The muse had another story in store for me! And that’s what is so fascinating about giving into the flow of creative expression – I never know what will appear. How fascinating!

 


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What happens when you cross the line?

Crossing the Line
#28 #ShePersisted
11″ x 14″ Acrylic on acrylic paper
©2017 Louise Gallagher

When I was a child my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll be the pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.  Pablo Picasso

Each painting in the #ShePersisted series, has a story to it. Sometimes, I know the story before I begin to create. Sometimes, the story appears in the creation of each piece. In Crossing the Line, I remembered a piece I’d written several years ago on my old blog, Recover Your Joy.  And I smile — I always knew my answer. It was inside of me waiting for me to create it into existence.

When I was a child, my sister and I spent hours re-enacting scenes from our favourite movies. Gone with the Wind. The Parent Trap. We knew all the characters, all the parts and we each had our favourites.

It didn’t matter that our stage was a stretch of lawn or that Tara was a sheet draped over a tree or that we each had to play three or four different parts, differentiating the characters only through our voices as we didn’t have time to change wardrobe —  we didn’t really have any wardrobe to change into anyway. This was a low budget reproduction — very creative, just not very accurate.

But none of that mattered. What mattered most was that we spent the time together. Laughing. Sharing. Creating.

When I was a child, I liked to draw. To sing and dance and to play piano. I liked to write and make up stories. To play dolls and the now politically incorrect, “Cowboys and Indians”.

It didn’t matter to me what the game or activity. What mattered most was that I was being creative. Expressing myself through arts of all nature.

And then, I grew up.

I still liked to write. To create. To make something out of nothing.

But the tone was different. There was something lacking in my creation.

I kept thinking it needed ‘A Purpose.

To create for creation’s sake just didn’t seem to be viable, make sense, have meaning. If I was painting, there needed to be a reason. If I was writing, there needed to be an audience. And, if I was dancing, there needed to be ‘the right steps’.

I’ve grown beyond those ‘grown-up’ days of believing I need ‘A Purpose’ to my art. I’ve grown beyond thinking there are right steps, wrong moves, perfect brushstrokes or perfectly turned phrases.

I’ve grown into being me. Creatively. Expressively. Passionately.

Today, I know that at my core I am a creative being. That life is an act of creation.

Today, I express myself in ways that fulfill on my belief, and need, to create beauty in the world around me.

Today, I let go of the right steps and move with grace and ease into being each step I take to create beauty in the world around me.

There’s freedom in each movement. Freedom in being my creative self.

And, there’s joy in knowing every breath I take is an act of creation. Every step I take is an expression of the beauty I want to create in the world.

When I was a child, I believed colouring inside the lines would keep me safe. Now I know, when I lean over the edge of what I believe I know and explore the all of what I cannot see, I am free.