Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher


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What would be different if you opened the eyes of your heart?

The Divine dwells within you, and desires that you heal.

Carolyne Myss and Peter Occhiogrosso

In the Ayruveda, it is said that the soul is already perfect. In our human imperfections, we don’t fully realize it. In our spiritual quest to ‘become’ the perfection of our human birthright, we work at healing old wounds, soothing the past, creating new pathways to a better tomorrow. In our quest to ‘be’ the perfect Divine creation we already are, regardless of our faith, we seek wisdom to heal ourselves, without realizing our essence isn’t broken, it’s just not visible to us. We don’t have the ‘eyes’ of our heart open to see the beauty that has been within us all along.

Many years ago, at a time when I felt like I desperately needed ‘fixing’, I heard a song for the first time and was moved to tears. “Open the Eyes of My Heart” is a Christian song by Mercy Me. But it wasn’t the type of song, or faith in the song that moved me. It was the idea that if I ‘opened the eyes of my heart’, I would experience healing, feel complete, know true Love.

I still feel the tears inside my heart whenever I hear that song today. It still moves me, touches me, reaches inside me and opens the eyes of my heart to the wonder and the joy and the beauty of my Divine essence. It still awakens me to the truth of my human condition: I am a child of the Universe, the Divine expression of amazing grace.

So much of my journey of life has been about reclamation. Reclamation of self. Of my Divine essence. Of my spiritual being and self-Love.

When I look back with an open heart at the many roads that have brought me to ‘here’ today, I see the pitfalls, the potholes and the gaping wounds. And I see the beauty of everything. Because everything has awoken me to the song within my heart; a song I still sing today, knowing, I don’t need to search for perfection, completelness, my spiritual essence. I already hold it all. Within me. And it already holds me. I am already whole. I am already healed. I am already embraced by the Divine.

When I get out of the way of my own thinking, I am at peace.

When I get out of the way of my doing, I am enough.

When I get out of the way of my being, I become all I am; the Divine expression of amazing grace.

The question is: Are you willing to open the eyes of your heart and see your amazing grace?


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When there’s nothing else to do. Surrender.

“Surrender”  Alcohol ink on Yupo Paper
11″ x 14″
Louise Gallagher 2019

It’s an interesting space, this place where I surrender my ‘knowing’ to embrace the all of what I do not know, about life.

My active mind wants me to believe that if I just acknowledge my not knowing, I’ll be able to figure out all the knowing I need.

My intuitive, essential self knows, there is nothing to know except this moment right now. Nothing to do but to give into the river of life in which I flow freely, in this moment right now, and be present, alive, here.

In surrender, there is no knowing. There just is. What is. Reality as I see it. Experience it. Know it. Without any insistence on the part of my mind that I can channel it, change it, create it, make it into anything other than what is.

In the big moments in our lives, many of us will come to that moment of surrender. That dark night of the soul where we know there is nothing else we can do. We can’t keep fighting. Crying. Hurting. Being here.

In that space, we surrender and accept, we do not have the answers. We do not know the way.

In that space, we accept there is a force outside ourselves, greater than ourselves, other than, that we submit to. We can’t see it. Perhaps don’t even believe in it. We just know, we surrender.

And in that surrender, a path opens up. We don’t know where it’s going. If it’s even ‘the right’ path. We just know, we need to take another step and trust the next one will appear.

Looking back, we stand in awe of that moment. Not because it appeared but rather, because in all our trying to get there, trying to make it happen, nothing happened. And then, in our surrender, it appeared.

Living our daily lives in that place of surrender can be difficult. We’ve got lists of things to do. Places to be.

Who’s got time for surrender when there’s just too much to get done and not enough hours in a day?

We can practice surrender in those small, every day moments.

We can meditate. Walk. Dance. Ride a bike. Do something that takes our minds off our ‘doing’ to fall gently into our being.

Yesterday, I chose to paint. I did have ‘a goal’. When a word chooses me for the year, I create a painting to remind me of the word.

I sank into meditation and a vision of ‘surrender’ arose and while the final painting does not look like that vision, it feels like surrender to me.

When I create, I let go of ‘the outcome’ and fall into the grace of being present in the moment of creation. I play. I have fun. I experiment. I ‘don’t know’ as much as respond to how the paint flows, the colours blend, the canvas calls.

It is a beautiful, enlivening place. A space that reminds me, always, to surrender and…

Breathe.

In.

Out.

In.

Out.

As you go through your day, stop every so often, breathe and ask yourself,

What am I experiencing in this moment, right now?

What if, my experience is not ‘the thing’? What if ‘the thing’ is to let everything be as it is, just as it is?

What if, I sit and breathe and let what is be my experience in this moment?

Now, feel it. Be it. Breathe into it. Right now.

Namaste.

 

 

 


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Being a mother is a journey of faith: The ultimate un-guide to surrender.

Happy Birthday Alexis!

Happy Birthday Alexis!

On May 21st, I made a commitment to myself to explore the unknown of all I think I know about surrender, hope, faith, mystery, loss, God, and the power of love. 

Today, I begin the journey into ‘mystery’.

But first, a few final thoughts on faith.

Twenty-nine years ago, on this date, I became a mother for the first time.

I hadn’t planned on being a mother. My then husband and I didn’t really think children fit into our lifestyle and, given I’d had two previous ectopic pregnancies, the doctors didn’t really think it would happen anyway.

Alexis had other ideas.

When evidence of her presence within me was made known, the doctors thought it was another ectopic. They operated only to inform me, I wasn’t pregnant. I had an ovarian cyst.

I was adamant.

I am pregnant.

I insisted they do another pregnancy test. My body didn’t lie. I was pregnant.

Given I’d had major abdominal surgery and my history, the risk of miscarriage was high.

“You need to stay in bed for the first three months,” my doctor told me. He had been away when the drama of the ‘non-pregnancy’ surgery took place and was livid it had happened at all. He was not about to let anything happen to this child.

Neither was I. I willingly went to bed for three months and chose to make it an exploration of the mystery and awe of motherhood, holding firmly to the life growing within my body.

There was one thing that carried me through those months of uncertainty. I hadn’t realized it before until I spent the past few days musing on ‘faith’. To carry my child to full term, I had to have faith. In my doctor. The medical system. They mystery of life and the capacity of my body to nurture and nourish this tiny embryo growing and evolving within me, and the desire of my unborn child to come into the world.

Faith carried us through.

Alexis turns 29 today. It has been faith that has brought us through the ebbs and flows of life in all its mystical and magical intricacies.

Faith that Love truly is the answer.

Faith that Love is all we need to hold onto, to support us, to surround us.

Love is the all of everything we’ve imagined possible. Everything we’ve desired. Everything we’ve known.

Since becoming a mother 29 years ago today, (longer if I count the pregnancy!), I have learned a great deal about surrender, hope, faith, mystery, loss, God, and the power of love. 

My daughters have been my greatest teachers.

Being a mother has been my greatest journey.

For it is in being a mother I have had to learn to surrender, to keep hope alive, to have faith in life itself and to delve fearlessly into its mysteries. Being a mother has taught me and challenged me to surrender to loss, make room for the Divine and to give into the power of love.

There is so much in this world I do not know. So much about life and living and loving fearlessly I have yet to explore.

Before I became a mother, I thought I knew it all. I thought I had life figured out and that once I did become a mother, it would be a pretty clearcut, straight forward journey of raising them and setting them on their path with the prerequisite education, tools and hope chest filled with all they needed to live adult lives in an adult world.

Being a mother has taught me how little I knew then about Love, and how much I don’t need to know about anything else now because, in Love’s light, everything else pales.

My eldest daughter turns 29 today. For 29 years she has taught me the true meaning of surrender, hope, faith, mystery, loss, God, and above all, the power of love.

I am grateful. I am blessed.

Thank you Alexis for being my teacher, my guide, my gift upon this journey.

Much love and Happy Birthday!


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Day 5: Surrender — the ultimate un-guide. All is what it is.

surrender banner 1 copy

I am sitting in some sort of bleacher amidst a crowd of people. Someone, I think it’s my Grade 2 teacher, tells everyone to split into sides.

But first, we have to go clean up the staff room. There was a party and it’s a mess. Empty trays of cake. Beer bottles. Paper plates and cutlery all over. It’s the beer bottles that get me. We don’t allow alcohol on the premises. Why would there be beer bottles everywhere?

And then, as can only happen in a dream, I’m back at the bleachers sitting on the furthest left hand side of the group on the right. They’re the introverts. I want to be with them.

“But you like people,” someone says to me.

I do! I love people.

I love my alone time too. Being with people too much makes me grouchy, I tell them. I need to find time for me.

Again, as only can happen in a dream, one person is singled out. We are invited to decorate them with reams of ribbons and cloth the organizer gives us.

We begin. She looks rather pretty, I think, but one of our team keeps telling me I can’t put the ribbons around her head. But they look good there, I protest, but to no avail.

Stop it, they say.

The woman we’re wrapping in ribbon keeps moving to the edge of the ledge we’re standing on. She turns to face us. With her back to the void behind her, she steps away from us and closer to the edge.

Stop it, I call out. Stop it. Get away from the edge.

She laughs and steps closer and closer.

I can’t watch. I turn away from where she stands at the edge and close my eyes.

And I awaken.

Surrender. 

The delicate balance of holding on/letting go and trusting in the all that is as what it is.

Surrender.  The liminal space between the known and unknown. Seen and invisible. Heard and silent. Felt and perceived.

Lean out far enough from what I know and I encounter all I do not know, all that is unknown yet perceived, felt, wished for, dreamed of.

I do not fear the unknown. I fear stepping off the edge. I fear that moment of letting go, releasing where I am and trusting gravity, the universe, myself to hold me safe.

Like flying, it is not being in the air I fear. It is that moment of lifting off, of trusting the shiny silver bullet of metal encasing me to hold me safe as we let go of the earth and take off.

I do not fear the unknown. I fear gravity will let me down.

I breathe.

There is nothing to fear. There is nothing to turn away from.

There is only this moment, right now, where I am safe, exactly the way I am, when I let go of my belief, I am at risk of falling.

There is only this moment, right now, where I am complete, exactly the way I am, when I let go of my belief, I am not whole.

There is only this moment, right now, where I am love, loved and loving, exactly the way I am, when I let go of my belief, I am not worthy.

Surrender.

There is nothing to fear when I let go and surrender to the beauty, majesty and mystery of who I am in a world of wonder and awe.

There is nothing to fear when I surrender my resistance to trusting the Universe to turn up for me. The Universe cannot turn away. It cannot not turn up. It is and in its being it cannot be anything other than what it is. I can choose to see it as a fearful, distrustful and dark place, or I can choose to journey with my eyes and arms and heart wide open to embrace this world of beauty, majesty and mystery shimmering all around me.

Surrender.

All is possible when I leap fearlessly into my resistance of letting go and give in to Love.

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Day 4: the ultimate un-guide to surrender. Resistance is futile.

surrender banner 1 copy

I yelled at C.C. last night. He had gone to pick up his son from the airport and I had gone to bed. My neck was hurting. Bad.

Later, when he climbed into bed beside me I was moaning and groaning about the pain. Every movement was agony. The slightest touch painful.

“Do you want ice?” he asked.

“I don’t know!” I yelled and started to cry. It hurt so much.

He got me ice.

Smart man.

Not only did he hear my unspoken need to have him take care of me, he got me the one thing that actually did work on relieving the pain.

This morning, I went in search of Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life. I couldn’t find it in the bookcase so I searched online for “What does Louise Hay say it mean when your neck hurts?”

Google, as always, delivered.

sargam-neck-pain
Source:  Sargam Mishra: Inner Alchemy

How divinely sublime.

As I struggle and search for understanding of what I don’t know about surrender, the universe (aka google) delivers up “Change is the only Constant”.

Seriously?

No wonder my neck hurts. I just got walloped with understanding.

Resistance is futile. Acceptance necessary.

As I read the article by Sargam Misra, pranic healer, I felt knowing invade my being.

Sargam writes:  Neck – refusing to see other sides of the question, stubbornness, inflexibility.

What? Me stubborn?

Then again, what is the question?

Good question.

As I sank into the meditation she shares at the end of her post, the question came floating in as softly and easily as a cloud drifting across a summer’s day. “Are you willing to let go?”

Let go? I wondered. Of what?

It all.

What all?

Your resistance.

But I’m not in resistance. I just don’t understand.

What if there’s nothing to understand?

How can there not be? There’s so much to know. And if I don’t know it all, everyone will think I’m stupid.

How will you know when you know it all?

That one stumped me. I am reminded of a piece of feedback, Thelma Box, founder of Choices Seminars gave me once in a process we were doing on the JoHari Window. “I experience you as a woman who will never find an answer good enough for her.” That one stumped me too.

Problem is (which is just another way to say ‘the gift I received in her feedback’), she was dead on.

Sometimes, no matter the question, I think there’s got to be a better, deeper, more complete, all-knowing answer and keep searching for a better one and better one and better one.

Like this morning. After reading Sargam Mishra’s article on Neck Pain and its spiritual causes, I listened to the meditation she shared at the bottom of her post and in the mantra’s melodic affirmation found my neck pain easing, the stiffness relaxing.

Does it matter if I know what I am resisting as much as letting go of my resistance?

Does it matter if I can’t label all the responsibilities I tell myself I’m carrying that are causing my neck to spasm as much as I let go of my belief I am carrying a truckload of responsibilities that I tell myself are weighing me down?

Does it matter if I can’t name the fear beneath my sense of carrying the world on my shoulders as much as I let go of my belief I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders?

Release. Let go. Surrender.

My mind wants to tell me it’s too woo hoo wacky to write about this stuff, to even suggest I think it might have helped

My heart and soul know. Believe it or not, my body responds to loving care. My spirit responds to intention.

My intention this morning was to dive beneath the physical manifestation of pain in my neck to sink into what I didn’t know about the pain in my neck.

I know the pain is real. Perhaps its cause is not quite so real. Perhaps its source is a belief I’m holding onto that does not serve me well.

In Sargam’s mantra I find relief. And that’s all I need to know. To trust. To allow.

“I release, I relax and let go. I am safe in life.”

Universal Mantra for Healing : Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hum 


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Surrender — the ultimate un-guide. Part 3. Mindgames and others fields of folly

surrender banner 1 copy

My ego sees the world in black and white.

It craves concreteness. Labels. Meaning.

It feels strongest firmly planted in right versus wrong. Yes versus no. It holds absoluteness close and clings to what it knows fearing what it doesn’t know will hurt me and thus it, or at least damage the status quo it exalts in.

My ego thinks it is all I am.

Surrendering my ego leaves me breathless. It leaves me feeling exposed. Vulnerable. At risk.

Or so my mind tells me.

You cannot let go of me it says. I am all you are. All you want. All you need to be safe navigating this big, scary, unpredictable and chaotic world.

My mind likes to scare me. It likes to use words that make me believe I know everything I need to know to get through this life unscathed, or at least with minimal damage to my ego self. And everything else is irrelevant so why search for soulful meaning when ego is all I need?

But what does my mind know? It knows only the past and bases its response to today on its evaluation and assessment of my history. It filters its assessments through risk/reward ratios that are measured by how safe, or unsafe, it felt in every past experience and its measurement of the likelihood of ‘that’, whatever that is, happening again.

My mind cannot tell the future, even though it likes to tell me it can. All it can do is make up stories about the future based on what it experienced in my past.

Which, when I stop and think about it, is kind of funny. The past only exists in my mind. So where does the future live?

My mind is a trickster.

It does not want to surrender. It does not want to even give up a toehold to the possibility of ‘different’. It’s much more comfortable holding onto ‘the same’. In believing what was then, is what is now. That way, it doesn’t have to change its mind about anything.

My mind doesn’t like changing itself. It only wants to hold on. To control. To what it knows and tells itself (thus me) is true. It likes to create the illusion of safety through its capacity to rationalize, label and measure my life in terms of what it dictates is right, wrong, true, false, possible, impossible, fact, fiction and all kinds of jazzy stuff it feeds me to make me feel what it knows, or so it thinks, is the best for me to do, think, feel, be, become, have, go… without upsetting the applecart that is!

My mind thinks it knows it all.

It likes clarity and calls it insight so I will believe I really am in control of me, myself and I and how I am in this world. It also kind of enjoys the contradictions of my being too. It wants me to keep searching for the answers to ‘Who am I?’ because in my quest for answers, it doesn’t have to give up anything of itself. It only has to keep me searching.

Pretty sweet gig.

Keep me guessing and I’ll keep searching forever which keeps the mindgames going and going and going…

I surrender.

At least, until my next thought about what it means to surrender, or not…

Yup. Definitely some sweet mindgames keeping me running in circles in fields of folly.

When my ego thinks I just might surrender and quit playing its game, it can get downright dirty!

And so, I begin again.

I surrender.

 

 

 


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Day 1: the ultimate un-guide to Surrender

surrender copy

Yesterday I made a commitment to myself to explore the question, “What is the more I seek?

To begin my quest, I wrote a list of words (surrender, hope, faith, mystery, loss, God, and the power of love) which I felt were all inclusive of my seeker’s journey and declared that I would dive deeper into clarity by exploring each word without expectation of an outcome.

Staying unattached to my need for an outcome is a challenge for me. I like to know what’s going on. I like to be in control, or at least give myself the illusion of being in control.

Realization 1:  The journey begins with surrendering my need for an outcome.

“Surrender”. It is a big word for me. A tough one.

I let go of my labelling of the word and begin.

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surrender banner 1 copy

I enter meditation with a question. “What does it mean to surrender?”

My goal is to allow myself to fall effortlessly into the silence and allow answers to find their way to the surface.

It isn’t working. I find myself fighting, resisting, defending against the word.

I want to push it away. I want to cry out, “No! No! No! Look at those synonyms! You do not want to succumb, to yield, to give in. Don’t do it.”

My mind, ever-willing co-conspirator in over-thinking, resists the quiet space and leaps eagerly into the fray of my thoughts run amuck in my resistance to stillness.

It begins with criticism.

Why didn’t you start this quest on a Monday? Really? Who begins a spiritual journey on a Friday?

I ignore it.

It is unrelenting.

Surrendering is not good. Surrendering is a sign of weakness.

Weakness?

How can that be?

Is it true? Am I weak when I surrender?

A thought swoops in like a hawk diving for a mouse. “What are you surrendering to?”

Is it ‘to’ something or is it all about the act of surrendering with no outcome in sight, I wonder.

I breathe. I scurry after the last thought, searching in its entrails for the stillness of mind that comes when I surrender my thoughts to the nothingness of being present.

Resistance rises up. Again. 

Seriously? Can he not just stay quiet just this once?

I notice how I like to separate my thinking from my desire to be still.

My resistance to my resistance crumbles. I give up and submit to its call.

There’s something here, it says. There’s a piece of information that is important for you to see. Don’t stop thinking. Let the thoughts roll in.

I do not want a cloudy mind.

I want the stillness of reflection.

I find neither in my resistance to letting go of having to know the answer.

Surrender.

How can I surrender when my mind wants desperately to be in control?

Good question.

Live it.

Breathe into it.

Be it.

Surrender your desire to know and be present to your breath moving in and out.

Let go of your resistance. Stop defending against that which you fear and be present, right now. Allow yourself to…

Surrender.

I think I’d rather run away.

Is that another form of surrendering?

Or is that just a way of avoiding?

Good question.

And I begin again.

Live it.

Breathe into it.

Be it.