Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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The Enlightened thinking of Andrew Solomon

This is not at all the post I intended when I sat down to write this morning. It can keep.

As I went in search of a link for a quote I wanted to share in my original post, I stumbled upon writer, Andrew Solomon’s, TEDMED 2013 talk:  Love, No Matter What.

Given that Love is Always the Answer is one of my beliefs, I could not resist clicking on the title of his talk.

Andrew begins his talk with these words,

“Even in purely non-religious terms, homosexuality represents a misuse of the sexual faculty. It is a pathetic little second-rate substitute for reality — a pitiable flight from life. As such, it deserves no compassion, it deserves no treatment as minority martyrdom, and it deserves not to be deemed anything but a pernicious sickness.” That’s from Time magazine in 1966.

Later, he quotes an article in The Atlantic Monthly, voice of liberal America — written by an important bioethicist who, in 1968, on the subject of Down syndrome children, said to millions of Americans,

“There is no reason to feel guilty about putting a Down syndrome child away, whether it is put away in the sense of hidden in a sanitarium or in a more responsible, lethal sense. It is sad, yes — dreadful. But it carries no guilt. True guilt arises only from an offense against a person, and a Down’s is not a person.”

I read Andrew’s first book, The Noonday Devil: An atlas of depression, a year after it was released in 2001. I was in the dark, dark, days of a relationship going very, very wrong. I knew I was in a depression. I didn’t know how to ‘get out of it’ and was searching for answers outside myself.  The answer to my depression was not ‘out there’. It was within me all along. It came from accepting I was not in a relationship of love gone wrong. I was in an abusive situation. It came from accepting I was abused. I did things I wasn’t proud, and I was still worthy of love. It came from acceptance of me, just the way I was, in all my warts, with all my Beauty and the Beast complexities. In acceptance, Love had room to flow. In Love, all things were possible, including loving myself even when I didn’t think I deserved it.

After devouring every word of his 20 minute TEDMED talk, I intend on reading his latest book, Far From The Tree.

Don’t tell anyone…. I’m hoping for rain this weekend so I can curl up and read!

Give yourself the gift of 20 minutes of enlightenment this morning with Andrew Solomon.


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Let us be Love in this world of wonder

I danced Friday night. I danced and sang and laughed and heard stories and shared an evening with strangers and it was perfect.

It was 9pm when C.C. and I decided to walk over to a local pub to grab a bite to eat. He hadn’t yet explored the neighbourhood so it seemed like a good opportunity to check out what was going on. What was going on was karaoke night and a whole bunch of people having fun.

We were sitting by ourselves when a man from the next table came over to chat. “Why don’t you come and join us?” he asked when he found out I was from Calgary and C.C. was new to the neighbourhood. Which is how we came to be embraced by a group of 8 friends celebrating Warren and Linda’s wedding two weeks ago.

Warren, the groom, was the man who invited us over. “You gotta come hear my band,” he told us at one point. “We’re called, “Two and a half Metis” and he began to laugh uproariously. “I’m the Metis guy. Get it?” He was still laughing when he got up from the table to take the mic to sing a song. Gerard, the host of the party to honour Warren and Linda took the mic before Warren could begin to sing. “Ladies and gentleman,” he called out to the room. “I want you to give a big warm welcome to the one, the only, the amazing Warren from Las Vegas.”  And the room burst into applause, hooting and hollering as Warren began to sing.

Ever gullible, I asked Warren when he sat down if he really was from Las Vegas. He laughed and slapped the table. “Hell no. I’m from Batoche.”

“Oh,” I replied. Having long forgotten what little I knew of Louis Riel and the Northwest Rebellion, I asked for clarification, “Is that near Las Vegas?”

This time his laughter split my eardrums. “Hell no. It’s right here in Saskatchewan. I’m a native boy.”  He had to turn and poke his new wife’s arm on that one. “Get it? Native boy. Metis…”

And so the evening went.

People sang. Some on key. Some not so clear. People danced. So did I.

And then, I decided to sing. I don’t sing in public so for me, this was a great stretch — it may have had something to do with that second glass of wine too… I was nervous at first. Nervous and self-conscious until I decided to not make it about me, but rather, about having fun. And that’s when I found my note. That’s when the music moved through me and I just let it flow without trying to be on key or anywhere other than in the music. I belted out House of the Rising Sun and knew, The Animals would have been proud. Even if I messed it up, I loved every note of it. Loved every moment of singing my heart out.

Mark Twain once said that we should all,

Sing like no one’s listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching, and live like its heaven on earth.

I sang like no one was listening on Friday night. I danced like nobody was watching.

And in the singing and dancing and loving and living I found myself touched by grace. I found myself connected into a circle of joy that carried C.C. and me home as walked in the quiet of the night back towards our little home on the prairies. I stood beneath the full moon where once Neil Armstrong set foot and declared it to ‘be a giant step for mankind’  and blinked my eyes at the moon shining brightly.

It is the same moon that shines above every man, woman and child walking this planet. It is the same moon that casts its light into the darkness, calling us to move into the light of knowing, we are all one world, one planet, one people. There is no us and them. We are all connected and when we celebrate that which makes us great, when we share in laughter, song and dance, we make a difference.

Just for today, let’s all surrender and fall in Love with knowing, it’s all about us, together, doing whatever we can to be Love in this world of wonder.