Triggered Clarity

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Someone said something at me. Not to me, not directly; but it was obvious it was intended for my ears.

It made me angry. It made me mistrust her. It even made me think I hate her and never want her in my presence again. A virtual stranger says a few words I take personally as a judgement of me, and it sets me into a complete tizzy. Which makes me call her names in my journal, and changes a big decision on a direction I was heading, turning me 180 degrees around.

At first, it seems like I’m giving away my power to this person.

I work through the emotions. They are all over the place.

But the more I write them down, I pare away at the truth.

I realize that this is happening, because a choice I made to go down a certain road, no longer feels like it’s in my best interest.

In my mind, it seemed like a good idea, and for months I’ve been planning for this. But right here and now, it feels all wrong, and this woman showed up to scream it in my face. Indirectly, so I’d take issue, and uncover the real, less magnificent (but ultimately more important) choice for the next step in my life.

Sometimes, clarity is triggered in an unpleasant way. The important thing is listening and being willing to change plans according to what feels right and empowering.

Triggered Clarity © January 1, 2018 | Annie Zalezsak


Love Our Mother Earth


Our Mother Earth cradles us,
upholds life,
provides our every need.
Her boundless love
contains us,
sustains us,
despite our growing greed.

Like rebellious children
her boundaries we test;
yet by her unconditional love
and providence, we are blessed.

Please stop poking and prodding her.
Give back her dignity.
Surrender to HER rights.
Let her rest.
Let her heal.
Let her BE.

Love Our Mother Earth © November 26, 2016 | Annie Zalezsak
(Inspired by the Pray for Standing Rock worldwide synchronized events, specifically the meditation held at the Pandosy Peace Centre in Kelowna.)

Going Minimalist

Having relocated many times over the years, I tend toward a minimalist philosophy. With each move, I determine what possessions I value most, and let go of the rest.

I have rare moments of “whatever happened to that…?” but I don’t yearn to repossess anything I gave away. Life is so much easier with less.

When I stay in one place awhile, I accumulate again. (I come from a long line of pack rats!) I get to a point when clearing the excess feels necessary for my sense of peace.

Here’s how I assess what stays…

1. I LOVE it! It’s ‘me’. It resonates with my soul and the person I want to be in this world.

2. It brings me JOY! I want everything I own to make me happy. No point in keeping things that don’t.

3. It’s MEANINGFUL. Association with a happy memory is good. A gift I don’t like or use, and keep out of guilt, evokes discomfort. Not good.

3. I USE it. It’s practical and makes my life easier.

Here’s how I determine what goes…

1. It’s served its PURPOSE with me. If the reason I got it has long since passed or my situation has changed, it can move on to live a new, fulfilling life with someone else.

2. I won’t MISS it. If I haven’t thought about the item for the last few months, I don’t need to continue paying for the space to store it.

2016.05.10 Stuff for Fort McMurray (4) WP3. Someone else NEEDS it. There are people in dire need of stuff that is sitting here doing nothing in my life.

For me, the Fort McMurray wildfire motivated me to haul out brand new (still tagged) clothes I bought on sale over the years (but didn’t quite fit into, yet!). Six bins full.

The things we redundantly hoard can make a world of difference to someone else.

Going minimalist is not about living without stuff. It’s about consciously choosing to surround ourselves with the best of what we love. And that is what make us feel rich.

Going Minimalist © May 11, 2016 | Annie Zalezsak

Buds Abound

Photo by Annie Zalezsak

Spring has arrived in Kelowna.
The ski rink disappeared
(I swear it was just there a minute ago).
Moo-Lix is now ice-cream-scooping.
Ogopogo is smiling brightly.
Mallard pairs eye me suspiciously,
guarding their planned parenthood.
It’s 10 degrees celsius
so people are wearing shorts.
I’m warm and unzip my coat,
but by the lake
I do it up again;
don my hat and gloves.
The wind still chills.
Tourist families dot the downtown.
Terriers still in tartan,
Marmaduke plods on a lazy leash,
black Lab dives after beach pebbles rippling the lake.
Buds abound
bringing promises of a new life
right in front of my home.
Inside, a little spider shuffles along my living room wall.
Ah, yes, it’s spring in Kelowna!
Spring has most certainly arrived.
I open my windows wide.
Hang on a minute while I fetch the spider outside.
“You’ll find it much nicer out on my balcony,” I tell him.
“Have a great day!” I say, as he scoots out of sight.

Buds Abound © March 9, 2014 | Annie Zalezsak

Window to Autumn

Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

The tree outside my window is shadow dancing on my blinds.
It rattles its orange-yellow leaves in one final shedding for the season.
Its roots bathe in a sea of autumn colour.
The wind assists its transformational process.
As I witness, I, too, am changed.

© October 28, 2013 | Annie Zalezsak

Evidence of a Sordid Past

This is what I used to eat, till I learned that most of this is not real food
(or it’s genetically modified).

Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

I started eating better in January 2013. These things were still in my cupboards until today. I kept them because I thought maybe someone visiting might want them. But how can I now, eating so much better, give this garbage to anyone I care about?

So it’s going in the dumpster. Anything unopened I will give to the food bank because, well, anything edible is better than starving, I suppose. It’s funny how whenever I go to a ‘normal’ supermarket now, there are aisles and aisles of products I no longer consider to be food.

This is what I bought on my grocery shopping trip today. There are still plenty of treats. But they are organic. Real food ingredients.

Photo credit: Annie Zalezsak

I feel a lot better for it!

Transition from Merthyr Vale to Kelowna

Even though I’ll be back in Merthyr at some point, the pre-goodbye goodbyes were important. First, there was the announcement dinner with Canadian Jacquie’s family about 2 weeks before departure. Then on Friday the 9th of March 2012, there was “The Last Supper” with my former employers, Peter and Paul.

Zoe was there, too. Good laugh, great company!

On Saturday, Darren, Toby dog and I went for a lovely walk in Trelewis park, where we happened to see some Canada geese.

On Sunday, Viv came over to the house for a couple of hours to chat and help sort out some stuff.

She took a family photo of Darren, me, and Toby the dog.

Train to Gatwick

On Tuesday the 13th of March 2012, Darren drove me to Cardiff Central train station for the 12:25pm train to Gatwick Airport, via Reading. I arrived at Gatwick around 3:50pm and went straight to the Hilton Hotel, where I met my Loughton friend, Jacqui. We talked into the wee hours, as per usual, about anything and everything… after a filling dinner and a couple of drinks at an airport restaurant, of course! We reminisced about our trips to Portugal, and how life has changed for us in the last year.

We got up at 5:30am on Wednesday the 14th of March and Jacqui saw me off at the airport gate. It was sad, but at the same time, a healthy and happy look toward a new chapter in life.

Flying to Calgary

I usually fly with Canadian Affair, and I’m pleased they’ve gone back to using Air Transat as an airline. Much better than Thomas Cook. The service is excellent, and you don’t have to pay for soft drinks! I watched movies most of the way, but kept an eye out for the views. It was mostly cloudy over the UK and the Atlantic, but when we got over Greenland, wow oh wow!

Just so beautiful!

Leaving the coast of Greenland, it looked like glaciers on the water.

I was surprised to see snow over Alberta. Somehow, I thought it would be as mild as it had been in the United Kingdom.

When we made the descent into Calgary airport I was relieved to see that there was no snow there.

I took the airport shuttle to the Travelodge hotel near Sunridge Blvd for a few hours rest. My room had a view in the direction of downtown Calgary with the rocky mountains as a backdrop.

At 5pm, I met up with Genny and Jeannette for drinks and dinner at Tony Roma’s in Calgary’s northeast. (Genny had a pina colada, I had a blue martini.)

Jeannette had a red wine.

The following day, Thursday the 15th of March 2012, I headed out on the 10:30am flight with Westjet to the rocky mountain interior.

Despite the clouds, I could see some of the dramatic interior rocky mountain landscape as we flew over the Okanagan Valley.

I was still a bit dubious about whether we’ll still be having snow.

We made the descent into Kelowna Airport.

And landed safely in Kelowna.

I got an airport shuttle straight to the new apartment downtown. The apartment is very spacious. Apparently it’s 1200 square feet. It has a second washroom as an ensuite to the master bedroom, which I didn’t even know about!

It has a mountain view in the distance. (Everywhere you look in Kelowna, there is a mountain view!)

There’s a family of mallards that hang out just down the street. They make me smile! I also saw a car with a British Columbia license plate and a Cymru Wales dragon flag bumper sticker on it!

Exploring Downtown

A few short blocks down Bernard Avenue is the lake. I took this picture today, Sunday the 25th of March. It was only 5 degrees celsius, but there were people out walking in their flip flops and sandals, and others sitting outside cafes drinking their coffees. Typically Canadian!

It looks like visitors can take a short cruise on the lake.

There are some historical information boards on Kelowna.

I encountered the infamous Ogopogo (aka Nessie to the Scots).

Walking back on Bernard Street, I popped into a few of the boutiques that were open for a lazy Sunday afternoon trade.

Starting my second week at work tomorrow!