Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sharing Love: I am grateful.

I have a grateful heart this morning. A grateful heart and peaceful soul. A spirit that feels light. Light as air. Light as my being who I am.

Yesterday was a day of wonder. It began early with an 8am speak on behalf of the United Way of Calgary. And I was grateful to have an opportunity to explore what it means to be human, regardless of our condition. Homeless. Housed. Addict. Sober. It didn't matter as the audience and I shared stories of the people who live at the shelter and carry the label that holds them down, homeless. In our sharing, in our connecting to explore how United we can make a difference, possibility for change opened up and we saw hope, and promise, all around.

The United Way campaign slogan this year is "Change Starts Here".

And it does. Right here. Right now. Within me rippling out into the world -- and in that change, I have a choice. To create Discord. To create Harmony. To Hate. or, To Love.

Which do I choose?

Yesterday, as I shared my story at TEDxCalgary, I had many choices to make. I could arrive on time, as requested at 10:30 or be late. I hadn't planned on being there by 10:30. I had planned on being there closer to 11:30.

I chose to be on time.

Doing it to my agenda would have undermined the hard work of the organizers in creating this amazing event. It would have been disrespectful. Being late would have created angst in the organizers at a time when they did not need any additional angst. It would have said -- I don't care about you. I have my own agenda.

Being late would have created Discord. I chose Harmony and felt better within me.

As I listened to the other speakers before me, I had the choice of paying attention, or sitting within myself, stewing and fretting about my own speak.

I chose to listen. I chose to breathe into what they shared, and as I listened to share with them my attention, my appreciation and my gratitude for the wisdom they offered so generously. And I was blessed with their words, their spirits, their passion.

Being in the moment creates greater harmony in my life than keeping myself separate, selfishly focusing on my needs, my wants, my gotta haves.

I like Harmony. It fits.

Throughout the day people kept asking, 'Are you nervous?'

And I suppose I was. OK, so I know I was. There is something about the name "TED", the knowing this event was connected to this huge movement of people sharing their excellence.

I didn't like the pressure in that knowing, in that thinking that this talk was more than just... this talk. This moment to share my hope, my strength, my gratitude with people who were there to share in this moment, right now.

When I focus on 'the concept' of what this day could mean because it is about something bigger, out there, beyond the confines of the beautiful Calgary Folk Festival, Festival Hall, where we were gathered, I lose the essence of being right there, in the moment, sharing where I'm at, in Love.

And so, I chose to let go of my 'nerviness' fluttering in my stomach like a butterfly flitting amidst a garden of opportunity, undecided as to which flower to settle into. I chose to settle into me and simply be, present. Grateful for the moment to listen and share, to touch and be touched by people's hearts, to open up to the wonder and beauty that is our shared condition of being human.

And in the choice to be present, harmony was restored.

I shared my story yesterday at TEDxCalgary -- I shared my Lessons in Love: How volunteering saved my life.

And when I stepped off the stage I knew I had done my best. I had shared from my heart to touch others and I was touched by their attention, their openness and their willingness to be present. And I was grateful.

Sure, I forgot components. Even forgot my closing which was the story of how we are all magnificent.

But... sometimes, the things we forget are the things we do not need to say. As I spoke I imagined my Love embracing everyone. I imagined they could see their magnificence reflected back through my eyes seeing the beauty of their hearts opening up like beautiful flowers for Love to settle into.

And as I held out my Love, we connected and we smiled, heart to heart.

It was a good day yesterday. Amazing speakers. Wonderful stories. Beautiful people joining together to share in what it is that makes this world, this amazing, complex, messed up, mixed up, upside down planet called Earth such an incredible space to be -- PEOPLE.

One of the presenters, the incredible Dan Meades from Vibrant Communities Calgary said [and this is my paraphrasing of what I heard] -- other than mother nature, we are the people who have created everything built on earth. If we don't like what we've built, it's up to us to change it.

We are the people doing the deeds we don't like. We are the one's creating discord. Creating war and hatred and violence and abuse. We are the ones doing all the things we do to tear down, pull apart, rip up the beauty of this world and turn it into something we never imagined would be the outcome of our deeds. it isn't him doing it, or her, or them, not us. It is us. We the people. Making choices everyday to create what we do not want in this world.

We can make different choices.

Change Starts Here.

We can choose Harmony.

We can choose Peace.

We can choose Love.

Let's do it!

Right now.



Anonymous said...


congrats .. I am sure you did well!

I tried to make it but my morning meetings ran late

I look forward to finding out when the recording of your bit is available - I'd like to see it


p.s. ...would you be interested in doing your speech again as a guest at my Toastmasters club?

Louise Gallagher said...

Oh wow Mark -- I would be honoured!

thanks -- my daughter Liseanne came to hear me, which was lovely :)

Maureen said...

So glad your talk went so well!

I tried tuning into LiveStream several times but it was balky and seemed to work only intermittently. I'll look for the recording of the talk. (Perhaps Mark could record it for YouTube.)

Have a wonderful weekend.

Claudia said...

i love that you chose to listen to them and didn't focus on yourself..that's by the way how i think you live life generally - and it's a good thing..

Anonymous said...

Tried tuning in but could not get to TedxCalgary live.....TedxNY was only available. Love to hear your talk, I'm sure it went swimmingly well.
With love,

Fi said...

I have no doubt that you were extraordinary. Even forgetting some parts is what made it perfect because you were doing what people here advised that you do - you were speaking from the heart, in the moment and just being you (not simply reciting remembered words).

Thank you - I too am glad that you blog

S. Etole said...

Hoping there will be a video we can listen to at some point.

Ruth said...

So glad it went well, Louise! I agree that what we forget probably didn't need to be said, but it's still hard when you feel it was important. No doubt people felt your beauty, peace, love and harmony. Sometimes that is what stays with me after a talk more than the words themselves, and what resonates.

CZBZ said...

I would love to hear your 'talk' Louise if and when it becomes available. Please let me know.'s been such a joy knowing you and seeing how you've chosen to change your life and other people's lives for the better!