Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I'm over at A Year of Making a Difference!

I have been absent from this place for awhile.

Oh, I've been writing every day -- just not here.

And in case you're looking for me and wondering where I'm at....

I'm over at A Year of Making a Difference.

Every day.

Hope to see you there if  we haven't connected in awhile.

Blessings!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Life is an act of creation


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
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 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. 

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I am teaching at The Peace Academy on Thursday night next week. My 2 hour course is a guide to making peace with your inner muse -- based on my course -- Right Your Heart Out -- I'll be guiding participants in how to create with joy and freedom from your core creative self.

Do come and play if you're in town!  It will be fun!



Wednesday, July 4, 2012

In Liberty's Gaze (a 4th of July Repost)



You can protect your liberties in this world only by protecting the other man's freedom. You can be free only if I am free. Clarence Darrow
She didn't know her own strength. She'd never been tested. Never been put up against man's nature to tear things down.

No one knew what would happen when the winds of advertsity blew. When the gales howled. When the hurricanes ripped through the foundations of her belief. Give me your tired, your poor...

No one knew the measure of her strength under pressure of another's assertions he knew best, that his truth was the righteous belief of mankind's salvation. No one knew.

And, when the winds came, as they often do, they howled and careened around her body, pummeling her righteous stance, her insistance that she not be swayed. Her belief that she must hold fast. Be strong.


The winds screamed like a thousand banshees roaring through desert sands, a storm of idealogies cast upon the winds, swirling around her, rising up into a hailstorm of dissent, rising up with hatred and condemnation, fear and loathing. A typhoon of evolutionary calamity in the making of war that would never know peace until quietened in an oasis of calm at the sheer strength of her steadfast gaze through time. ...Give me... Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore...

The winds roared and she stood strong and true as she stands strong and true today. True to the foundation upon which she was built, a symbol of friendship, freedom and peace, this lady of liberty. This lady of the strength to hold fast the belief of nations and the dream of all mankind. Liberty for all. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me...

Hers is the strength of a dream woven into the fabric of their collective nationhood aspiring for equality, justice, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness for all mankind. A nation of people who stand true in their belief in the rightness of all men to worship from their own separate pew. The strength of a nation that stands true to the right of all men, women and children, where ever on earth they may stand to rise up and be heard, be seen and be free. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!




Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

The above is the inscription inside the base of the Statues of Liberty in New York harbour, Swan Ally Island in the Seine River in Paris and Paris' Luxembourg Gardens. The lines are found in a sonnet by Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus written in 1883.


The New Colossus


Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Emma Lazarus, 1883


I have reposted this in honour of our American neighbour's July 4th Independence Day celebrations.

Happy July 4th my friends!

PS -- having since written a piece on the African term, Ubuntu -- I can see the connection in all things -- We are all connected. Ubuntu from the Bantu language, represents the philosophy that -- "I am what I am because of who we all are."

May we all be free together. May we all know our magnificence together. May we all be together.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In Wine Country

I am relaxing in the 'sitting room' of the B&B where C.C. and I are staying in Sonoma County. Yesterday we drove along the coast from San Francisco, the top down on the mustang convertibe we rented for the next three days we'll be here in wine country.

Can you say 'supercalifragilisexpealidocious'?

The sun pouring down, the sea breezes wafting all around. Eagles soaring above. A view that just won't stop. We drove through forests, along winding roads and along cliffs bordering the Pacific. Sublime.

Today, we visited vineyards. Small, out-of-the-way places I've never heard of. Arista. Moshoin. Iron Horse.

At each, we were greeted by friendly and knowledgeable staff who poured and chatted and shared stories of the places. At Moishon we bought a Pinot Noir and a book on Dogs of the Vineyards. At Arista, a beautiful desert wine and at Iron Horse, a lovely bubbly that ticked my nose with delight. Also a at Iron Horse, the daughter of the owners poured bubbly into tall flutes, while sharing stories of growing up in this magical place.

Sigh.

I think I'm in heaven. Seriously. Heaven must be a vineyard somewhere and why not here?

When I was a little girl the story of Eden enthralled me. I imagined palm trees, ocean breezes, birdsong and flowering plants everywhere. I didn't know then the joys of wine, but if I had, I would have imagined vineyards sprawled out along valley bottoms, climbing up hillsides, green shoots shooting out into the sun.

Sort of like the Sonoma valley, in particular, the east side of the Russion River in Sonoma valley country.

Lush. Verdant. Towering redwoods. Olive groves and citrus. The world is a tapestry of rich, full and vibrant sights, sounds and smells here in the valley.

Just like the Eden of my imaginings long ago.

Unlike my childhood imaginings, this particular Eden is also filled with people, my beloved and the wayfarers along the way we've met and shared a story here, a tasting there. Like Len and his wife, Gegina (and I'm not sure I've got that right -- she is originally from Sweden, or was that Denmark?) and their friend Moat. A delightful couple sharing their trip up from LA with Len's best friend, and former police partner, Moat. The laughter and repartee between all three was engaging. Both C.C. and I were enchanted by their warmth, their humour and their generosity of spirit.

We met them at the Arista Winery. A small, 5,000 case a year winery specializing in Pinot's. We laughed and joked and agreed to meet up at Iron Horse.

C.C. and I got lost. When the map showed a right, I said left -- I am directionally challenged, I cannot deny it. Even turning the map upside down does not always make sense of East, West. North. South.

Twenty minutes later, after insisting that we must be going in the right direction, there are hills with vineyards and Iron Horse is on top of a hill I told him, we decided we'd best turn around.

Sure enough, we were headed in the opposite direction.

Laughing, (okay so I was laughing and C.C. was more being patient than anything else -- but then, he's accustomed to getting lost with me as navigator) we made our way back, and up and over hills to arrive at Iron Horse.

Len and Moat and Gegina were waiting for us. "We figured you must have been lost!" they said when we drove up. "If it wasn't for GPS, we'd never have found the place either."

We laughed. Even with GPS Louise can get us lost, C.C. mentioned and then told them about my artistic navigation skills.

We're found now, I insisted and we walked up to the tasting table and began 'the task' of sipping on bubbly from the Iron Horse vineyards.

Divine.

Standing on a hilltop overlooking the Russian River and the 320 acres of grapes ripening, rolling hills, eagles soaring, palm trees standing sentinel, we spent a delightful hour with, as Gegina said, "Our new best friends" and agreed to meet again, some other time, some other place.

It is the way of the wine country.

Strangers meet. Share a glass of nectar, a tall tale or two and form fast friendship -- maybe we will, or not, meet up again. In the moment, beneath the sun and heat of the day, the pleasure of eachother's company is intensified by shared experience..

Contact info exchanged, we parted ways. C.C. and I to Guernville, the trio back to Santa Rosa where they are staying.

And between us, a delightful encounter that has the promise of becoming a deeper friendship like a new wine settling into old.

I hope we do stay in touch. I hope we do connect again. The realness of their presence, the laughter and the depth of their conversation left me wanting to know more.

You're a real social animal," C.C. laughed when we parted with our new friends.

"I am," I agreed. "And most of all, I just really like people. And they were nice people to like in this place that feels like heaven on earth!"

Monday, June 25, 2012

Breathless I fall (a poem from wine country)

BREATHLESS I FALL

In this place,

ocean breezes carry me

senseless

thoughts unravelling streaming out like clouds floating by without regard to time or space into fantasy

where sun and sand and sea meet on the playing field of dreams

running naked into untold stories of men with hooded eyes who

sit and sip fingerprinted glasses full of absinthe

voices rich with tall tales woven into visions of walruses and sailing ships pushing out

my breath catches on your lips red rimmed with the wine we tasted together laughing at a bar

sighing I fall

into the fragrance of this soft summer night

captive in the pages of a story yet untold beckoning

I unravel the chords of life killing me softly

upon the sultry notes of a jazz piano spinning me

senseless into the night

satiated I let go of needing to know for whom the bell tolls

and find myself running breathless into the arms of my beloved waiting to catch me

senseless I fall into the night.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

In this sacred space

We met, six peace-makers in a room, plotting, scheming, designing peace. It is all in aid of Summer of Peace Calgary 2012 which kicks-off Friday night at Drumming Up Peace!

I won't be there. C.C. and I will be in San Francisco for a long-needed and joyfully anticipated break. And that's good. For in the hands of my fellow peace-makers, Drumming Up Peace! will unfold and we will launch a grassroots movement to create a million acts of peace.

As we plotted, the muse awoke and created a song of peace. And as we stood in our closing circle, I knew -- peace is everywhere. Like love, it is limitless. It is just we humans who forget how to connect to that which brings us peace... Love.



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mary Oliver. I am breathing ( a poem)



Mary Oliver:  I am breathing

Breathing just a little
life flows
without thought
of each moment passing
away
draining into the next
every drop of anticipation
sucked dry
of life's rich bounty
unfolding
in the unexpected joy
of being alive.

Breathing together
of all things
I find myself
awakened
revelling in every drop
of anticipation
dripping wet in the ripe, rich fruit
of life
flowing
effortlessly
into the unexpected joy
of being alive.



©2012 Louise Gallagher