Tag Archives: She Persisted

Who do you think you are?

#ShePersisted Series No 49
Mixed Media
11 x 14″
2019 Louise Gallagher

Yesterday, as I was cleaning out some files in preparation for my transition from the office to rejuvenation spaces, I found my Performance Review from February 2018.

When I had first joined the organization it was with the intent of staying for one year to help establish their communications and government relations strategy. One year would have been May 2018. When I did my Performance Review, the one year mark was approaching and the ED at the time had asked me to consider staying a bit longer in order to support him in achieving a couple of critical strategic directions. I was enjoying the work, the people and the challenges and agreed. In my Performance Review under “Goals”, I wrote that my goal was to create a succession plan that would allow me to transition from workplace to retirement by…. (wait for it)…. end of May 2019.

Ha!

I was prescient without even realizing it. I’m fulfilling on a goal I’d given a specific date to, and forgotten!

Don’t you love serendipity?

On May 31 I shall be transitioning out of my daytime job to step into the as of yet undefined spaces of retirement/rejuvenation. In March, when the Board announced the selection of the new Executive Director who is taking on the role on April 15, I met with her to discuss my transition. We agreed that six weeks would be ample time for me to transfer any needed knowledge and to assist her with a couple of specific tasks. At the time, I truly hadn’t remembered the goal from my Performance Review. At the time, we set the date as May 31.

I felt light-headed when I saw my note in my Performance Review. I felt calm and filled with a sense of satisfaction and peace.

Yesterday, after I’d spent an hour and a half meeting with the incoming ED, I left feeling uplifted, inspired, free. The agency will be in great hands.

As I move towards April 15 and then May 31, I am beginning the process of releasing my sense of ‘belonging’ to the organization. With each day, as I clear out old files and create a folder for the new ED of issues/ideas/projects in process that need her attention, I am also working on my release of needing/wanting to be engaged in everything.

It is an expansive place this releasing of my sense of belonging. And while I shall always feel a deep admiration and respect for the amazing people who work there and the incredible work they do and the vitalness of that work to our communities and the families served, I shall be pulling away from ‘the work’ itself to create space for my own work to evolve.

Last night, as I sat down at the work table in my studio and began to create, the #ShePersisted Series muse awoke and invited me to explore my creative essence through her voice.

As I splashed paint and moved through that grungy space of ‘Ugh. Nothing is looking right,” which is an inevitable part of my creative process, I was reminded of how when I first started at the agency almost two years ago, I knew little about its inner workings and needs and the imperatives of ending child and family homelessness.  There have been moments over the past two years when I wondered if I was ‘doing it right’, getting it?’.

Those wonderings are integral parts of every creative endeavour, of everything I do. They keep me open to change. Keep me listening for inner truth, other’s truths and connected to possibility in every truth. As I move beyond ‘the workforce’ to being a force of my creative change, I carry with me all I’ve learned, experienced, heard and seen. I carry with me the incredible passion of so many people to create better in the world for those whose voices have been stifled and those whose dreams have been lost beneath the struggles of poverty and homelessness.

I carry with me my own inate desire to create better in the world so that everyone, no matter their status, colour of skin, faith or riches can experience the wonder and awe of being who they are, exactly as they are right now.

No 49 in the #ShePersisted Series came into being last night. I’m excited to explore the more of what can happen when I let go of ‘9 to 5’and step into the uncharted spaces of rejuventation where I am wild and free. I am woman. I am me. . .

Namaste

Dance and Awaken

No. 26 – #ShePersisted Series

Dance and Awaken
©2018 Louise Gallagher

to forgive
dawn
breaking
hearts bleeding
upon the sunset
blistering heat
bruised
purple rose
the horizon
far off
far away
a dream
of happily ever-after
lost
never to rise
a new day
breaks in darkness
never to be
awoken

to accept
dawn’s awakening
the moon’s farewell
to darkness
sinking back
sinking
deep into the envelope
of night
a kiss sealed
on the lips
of secret’s laid bare
upon love’s pillow
softly
sinking
sinking back
into the night
of dreams
threadbare and worn
never to be
awoken

to dance
joy cascading
the light
of a new day
streaking across
the horizon
rooting out
the darkness
of secrets sealed
into the inky black depths
of memories caprice
long ago
forgotten
darkness flees
light breaks
breaking light
a new day
rising
dawn
awakens

to fly
free and awakened
daylight
breaking open
the dark
a giant cosmic egg
spilling out
daylight
freeing the night
surrender
surrender freely
to the dark
erasing
all fear
of rising

dance and
awaken

________________________________________________________

I felt challenged today. Challenged to pick up my ‘pen’ and write of awakening in images bursting from my mind. Long ago, I thought in poetry. Long ago, I wrote, never in rhyme, rhyme is too predictable, too constructed for me. I wrote in poetic prose. Images skittering onto the page, in a hurry to reach their destination, tripping over each other to form an idea, an image, a poignant light shimmering upon the page.

Obviously the muse and I are still entranced with the dance of creativity. My senses merging with her creative exhortations to let go, awaken, dance.

I am loving the dance.

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!

 

Honouring times of fallow

 

No 25. #ShePersisted
Winds of Change
Mixed Media on art paper

My friend Kerry Parsons recently gifted me a set of “Soulful Woman Guidance Cards.”

It is no accident the card I pulled today is called Time of Fallow — Creative manifestation occurs more easily when I have nurtured myself and honoured my time of fallow.

Nature understands the meaning of honouring its time of fallow. Spring fields produce healthier bounty when they have had a time of fallow.

I have been considering this blank page for a while this morning. Wondering what do I feel calling within, yearning to come out.

And the muse quietly rests, calling me to honour my creative urgings through a time of fallow.

I have been so consumed by the creation of the #ShePersisted series, I feel my creative energies calling out for a rest, a respite, a reprieve.

Life is ebb and flow. We breathe in. We breathe out. We step forward. We step back. We repeat.

On another level, my immersion into the #ShePersisted series is an honouring of my time of fallow.

It has given me space to gently and effortlessly explore my desire to stand up and step up to be heard. To clarify my voice, my gift, my offerings to the world.

It has given me beautiful guidance on what I want to do to create a world of difference.

If I change my glasses, shift my lens, I can see this time of creating the #ShePersisted series as my journey into my soul where I delve into exploration of our human condition through wonder and awe for all we do collectively to create war and peace, discord and harmony, walls and bridges, abuse and comfort, deception and truth, hatred and love.

As the images and words for this series have flowed, and continue to flow (I’ve still got a list of over 10 quotes that have popped into my head at random times), I have been enthralled by the experience of giving into the creative process, fearfully and fearlessly, haltingly and effortlessly.

It is the yin/yang of creativity.

To be afraid of a blank page. To dive hopefully into the open space calling itself into being.

And in that realization, I am overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude. Joy. Knowing.

There are no blank pages. Just beautiful wide open spaces calling out to me to breathe into my creative essence and with every exhale, blow away my fear of being the change I want to see in the world.

Namaste.

 

To view the whole #ShePersisted series, please visit my website.

 

 

Speak softly. Step gently. | 52 Acts of Grace | Week 47

 

One of my mother’s favourite sayings when I was small was “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

She held her own counsel, seldom vying from the path of kindness towards others.

Yesterday, my sister and I met with my mother and a transition worker to talk about next steps.

Since her fall and subsequent operation in December, she has not recovered well. She started out strong, defying the doctor’s predictions for her recovery.

And then, she had a set-back. Something pulled in her left hip/leg where she’d had the surgery to repair the break, and now, the pain is constant and she can barely move that leg.

The trauma of losing her mobility, of having to move from her current residence which is a light assisted living situation to a more intensive long-term care model, is heart-breaking.

And still my mother persists.

She continues to speak softly. She  still has only sweet words to share with everyone.

We could all use a page from my mother’s playbook.

Speak softly. Step gently.

Namaste.

Leaning into fear. #ShePersisted

 

Hmmmm..... this works... Kinda.... Maybe not
Hmmmm….. this works…
Kinda….
Maybe not

Last night, I completed the 20th piece in my #ShePersisted series.

When I started this project, I imagined completing 12 images and that would be that.

The ideas, the compelling need to keep digging into the notion of ‘persisting’ continues to drive me.

As I worked last night, I got to a stage where I thought I was done.

It looked okay. I hesitated to add to it because I was afraid that if I painted into the face, I risked ruining it.

I persisted.

I decided to give into the possibilities that come with leaning into the edge of creativity, fearlessly.

Final painting Louise Gallagher Mixed media on canvas paper 11" x 14"
Final painting
Louise Gallagher
Mixed media on canvas paper
11″ x 14″

More great lessons from in front of the easel.

There are no mistakes in art-making.

Fear is just a tool I use to keep me from stretching myself.

Settling for ‘what is’, holds me back from exploring ‘what if’. And, it’s in the what if’s that I discover what I’m really capable of creating!

It has taken just over 3 weeks to create this series as it currently exists. I have no idea if I’ll create more. I do know that to not heed the call of the muse to explore this idea will limit my expression of my own persistence.

So, I persist.

Thank you Elisabeth Warren for the inspiration.

 

To view the entire series, please click HERE

Express Yourself | 52 Acts of Grace | Week 45

acts-of-grace-week-45-express-yourself-copy

 

I am amazed to see that I am already at Week 45 with this series!

Thank you for those who follow along and encourage me.  It can be easy with a project like this to lose ground, give up, stop before it’s completed.

I am grateful that I have chosen not to. that I have chosen instead to persevere. Persist.

Writing, creating art, doing the things I am committed to doing to create ‘better’ in this world are all expressions of my true self. They are out-pourings of my divine nature looking to be seen, heard, known.

We all share this urge. We all possess a divine impulse to be seen and heard and known from the heart out.

It can be easy in this materially driven western culture to reverse the flow. To believe that my ‘worth’ is expressed in what I put around me and on me.

Don’t be fooled by expressions of material wealth.

That is all they are — an outward manifestation of how much is in your bank account. Not how much you carry and know within your heart.

Be happy for your material wealth.

Be generous with your inner beauty.

Express yourself so all the world can see, and know, what is possible when we live from the heart out.

Namaste.

 

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If you follow me on FB or Twitter or Instagram, you will have seen my series of art pieces with words:  #ShePersisted

I am posting each piece as it’s created on my website — HERE.  I’d love to have you join me in this exploration of what is possible when times are tough, when people want to shut us down — and Nevertheless… persist.