Tag Archives: finding balance

The Poetry of a river

FullSizeRender (25)
Art Journal Entry February 17, 2015 ©2015 Louise Gallagher

The poetry of a river
is heard
in the depths
of its joy
flowing freely
into the sea
of life.

The poetry of life
is found
in the river
of joy
flowing endlessly
into the heart
of Love.

I can’t remember where or when I read or heard the line, the poetry of a river,  but I remember thinking, I must remember that, it’s beautiful.

Last night, when I entered the studio to spend some contemplative time, the line appeared and the word/art flowed.

I am grateful for the quiet. For the time to simply be present in front of a blank canvas or journal page.

In the presence of its invitation to let creativity flow, my mind empties and I become full of wonder and awe at how easy it is to find my balance when I let go of holding onto the thought, ‘I must find my balance’.

I am neither out of or in balance. I simply am where ever I am, living whatever label I give myself for where I am.

In letting go of needing to find my balance, I find my path through the questions that are percolating on the edge of my consciousness.

I am in a phase of extreme busy at work right now.

I am planning a large event for 400 people for March 3rd, which entails not only planning for the event, but also editing, publishing, printing a large report along with a website and video. It is work I love but the timeframe to get it all done is very tight given that the date for the event was set at the end of January.

It’s meant some busy days, and as is apparent by the time at which I’m writing, sleepless nights.

Spending time in the studio is essential for me to keep balanced and present. Spending time in the studio is something ‘the critter’ would like me to avoid.

“Just veg out Louise,” he hisses into my left ear when I change out of my work-a-day clothes into my paint splattered comfies. “Go on. Sit in front of the TV and turn your mind off. You don’t need to create.”

Of course, there’s the voice of ‘uber conscientiousness’ trying to cut in too. “Louise. You have not yet read that report on Collective Impact. What is your problem?”

Ever notice how critters and other nefarious voices have a definite style and place? Mine sits on my left shoulder, jumping up and down in its attempts to get me to pay attention, flinging its arms and flapping its tail as it whispers un-sweet ditherings into my ear.

He likes to ensure he’s hard to ignore!

Fortunately, I know what’s good for me even in the face of his insistence he knows better.

Fact is, when immersed in busy, I need to give myself the gift of time to create in order to let go of the pressure building on my list of ‘to do’s’ if I am to avoid the panic that sets in when thinking about all I have yet to get done.

What’s your path to balance? Where do you go to give yourself space to be present?

What is real and present in this moment? Am I?

There is a superstition that things come in threes. Christianity and other faiths are replete with references to the power of three as is mathematics and geometry. When, as the saying goes, “a shoe drops”, we wait for two more catastrophes to balance the bad, and put an end to its current cycle. As humans, we seek patterns and perceive orderliness, in Triaphilia (and no! Wikipedia does not have a definition for it! yet, but I found it used, HERE, and liked the sound of it.)

Last week, three things conspired to draw my attention to how and where I put my energies in every aspect of my life.

The first was a comment made by my friend Ian Munro on his blog, Leading Essentially. Ian was writing about getting centered at work and how challenging it can be to find and maintain balance in the midst of the “high pace of high stakes, high-rise business”. In his post, 3 Ways to Get Centered At Work , Ian provides doable suggestions on what everyone can do to “find and keep our centered, grounded self”.

On Saturday, I met with my beautiful soul-mentor, Kerry Parsons and five other women to share a meal, conversation and heart-inspired exploration on how to create, activate and evolve community.

As we stood in the circle just before bidding our adieus, one of the women commented that she wrote a daily blog for years, and then, one day, she quit. It was a year ago and she hasn’t missed it.

I heard her comment and let it sink into my being.

It is still sinking. In. Deep.

To write here every morning is a choice. An active decision to sit down and create, activate and evolve community through the exploration of what it means for me to be centered in my life in ways that inspires everyone who comes to share in this space to be centered in theirs. Through our shared centered presence, my vision is we ripple out to create greater balance in the world around us. Through our daily acts of grace, we inspire a world of love, peace, harmony and joy, together.

And the third thing has been my back’s misalignment. It has definitely caught my attention and given rise to my wondering on what brings me into balance, and where do I allow it to be present, or not.

I don’t have a clear answer. I am allowing the question to be my point of departure, allowing myself to live in its mystery without seeking the answer.

It is an uncomfortable place for me. To not search for and find a clear answer, to not define my path and place with words.

What I have is the knowing that to allow myself the grace of living within the question makes space for wonder, awe, mystery and majesty to emerge.

And so, I am committing to not commit to write here every day. I am committing to allowing myself to listen to my body, mind and spirit (see! there’s that 3 again) to guide me into awareness of what is real and necessary and evolving for and of my journey.

I don’t know the outcome. Perhaps there is none other than the freedom to move with grace and ease through each day without pressuring myself into appearing here for no reason other than I think I should because I always do. Which, may free me up to appear in a true and present form.

And that’s the exciting part. I don’t have an answer and am not searching for one. I am staying present in the journey of discovery of what is real and present in this moment, and letting what emerges, be what is.

As we are a community, I wanted to give you some insight into my thinking about being present and invite you to share where you find yourself in being truly present, or not, in your life. Where do you find yourself doing for the sake of doing, versus allowing your presence to emerge organically from the inside out of that place where you are living the questions and letting go of needing answers?

Namaste.

 

Pay Attention. Act with Intention. Live with Conviction.

I have been struggling with my lower back. Struggling to sit, to walk, to feel comfortable without its aching reminder, I am out of balance.

It is getting better, but sitting is still the thing that makes it cringe.

So I have been honouring its call to be quiet, to relax, to lay low and let it heal — with the help of my chiro and massage therapist of course!

It was a great reminder.

Recent developments at work left me with a greater than normal workload.

They also gave me an opportunity to step into a greater role, should I choose.

And therein lay my dilemma.

My ego danced its little mincing waltz, singing gleefully as it spun out of control, “Oh goodie! Oh goodie!  Recognition and fame. A chance for everyone to know my name.”

My voice of reason, my heart song knew, as it always does, the truth. “Been there. Done that. This is not what I want in my life. It is not what gives me joy and makes my heart sing.”

And still, for all the voice of reason’s sound reasons, my ego mind laughed at it and attempted, as it always does, to drown out what my heart knows. In fact, I could almost hear it stomping its little crittery feet in its demands to hold reign over my thinking. “You listen to me girlie O. You think your heart knows best. You’re wrong! Listen to me. I won’t lead you astray. My beat is greater than any ole’ heart calling you to be free! Listen to me… or else!”

It was the ‘or else’ that almost got me.

I know the ‘or else’ well. It’s how I’ve talked myself into, and out of, the places I don’t want to be and the places I need to be!

If you don’t do this or that….. you might….. regret, fall, be mistaken, be fooled or be mislead into believing….. this or that was real, or unreal, or untrue…

Ah yes, the ‘or else’ is kinda deadly.

But this time, I was prepared.

I acknowledged the ego’s calling me to take on the mantle of the bigger title with the bigger profile with the bigger everything and I lovingly embraced it as what it is — a grand seduction of my child’s need to be seen, known, heard and listened to, or else…

And in my acknowledgement, I was able to reassure it that it is still important to me, still a part of me, it’s just not the whole of me.

And in the whole of me, there is a need to continue to breathe into the work I am doing without taking on more and more responsibility. Without being ‘in charge’ of the world.

I am okay doing what I do, the way I do it.

It provides me room for balance, for a sense of purpose in my ‘out there in the world’ work as well as room to explore my purpose of being elsewhere in the world work.

I almost don’t remember the month of October. It was so busy and so crazy with doing, doing, doing. And in the crazy, I got lost in the seduction of my own importance and fell out of balance. Out of sorts. Out of touch with my heart calling me to be at One with all that is emerging in my world when I let go of listening to my ego demands for attention, and give into my hearts calling me to Pay attention. Act with intention. Live with conviction.

And now, my body is telling me I’ve spent long enough sitting. Time to go lay down and stretch and give myself healing time.

 

There is no separation between mind and body.

If I Knew Then... Art Journal Cover Mixed Media
If I Knew Then…
Art Journal Cover
Mixed Media

river  flowing forward
dawn breaks 
darkness falls back

I am on my mat. Body bent in child’s pose, forehead touching mat, posterior reaching for heels, arms outstretched above my head. Torso pressing down towards the earth.

I am a supplicant bowing before the altar. I am a priestess offering up her prayers. I am hot and sweaty and I am crying.

They are unexpected these tears. Not particularly welcome either. Who cries in a yoga class?

My eldest daughter tells me it’s not unusual. Yoga touches the core. At the core, emotions flow and when released, can express themselves through tears.

Yeah? Well I don’t cry in public.

Good thing my forehead is pressed to the mat.  Good thing I’m sweating so profusely. No one will be able to see my tears.

I replay the teacher’s words through my mind once again.

“The body needs the mind to be engaged. They need each other for strength, courage, balance…. Where the mind goes, the body follows.”

Even as I type the words, I can feel the emotional tug of recognition, remembrance, awakening.

My body and my mind. I have treated them as separate. Independent. They have continually battled for voice. To be heard. To be recognized. To be known — as independent. The mind fighting for control, the body fighting to lead the way, to take charge, to be in charge.

Connect. Make peace. Body bows to mind. Mind makes way for body.

I imagine a bridge. Water flowing beneath. My mind wants to take the bridge, the route of safety. My body wants to swim. To immerse itself in the raging waters and go with the flow.

From above, the water looks dangerous. “Do not go in,” my know-it-all mind cautions. “You do not know what lies within. The current is too strong. You might drown.” And then it adds for good measure, “Someone built that bridge to make it easier. Why not take the path of least resistance?”

“I will never know what lies within if I do not venture,” my dare-it-all body responds, desperately trying to break free of mind’s control. “Anyone can cross a bridge. But to swim across, to tempt the fates, to venture into the depths, to discover what’s really there, ahhh, that takes courage. Fortitude. A spirit of adventure. A willingness to risk.”

“The bridge is there for a reason,” mind parries back. “The object is to reach the other side. It doesn’t matter how you get there, what matters is you get there.”

“I disagree,” yells body. “You always decide where we’re going but I am the one who carries us there. I am the one who decides how we take the journey.”

And they duke it out on the safe side of the river, the distant shore forgotten in their fight for freedom from one another.

And the water keeps flowing and I keep holding back from stepping away from the shore where I am comfortable in what I know to be true. Whether I step onto the bridge, or enter the waters, it isn’t about how I take the journey, it is that I take it with mind and body engaged, each one supporting, loving, carrying and caring for the other.

To live means to risk. It requires stepping into the unknown. Pushing against boundaries, forging new trails.

Many years ago, Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”

And I remember what I have forgotten in my flight and fight to get to the other side.

On the journey, no matter where I am going, there is only one thing that carries me across, through and over. There is only one thing I need to carry to wade into the waters or step onto the safety of the bridge.

Love.

In Love, I am safe no matter where I go or how I travel.

In Love, body and mind travel united.

In Love, all things are possible.

I bent my head to the mat. Tears flowed and I found myself once again, flowing in Love.