Toilet Wisdom

In a toilet stall of the women’s washroom at the Kelowna Library, I read these words of wisdom:

Look at the sky: that is for you. Look at each person’s face as you pass them on the street: those faces are for you. And the street itself, and the ground under the street, and the ball of fire underneath the ground: all these things are for you. They are as much for you as they are for other people. Remember this when you wake up in the morning and think you have nothing.

Beneath this, someone else wrote:

“Sweet!”.

We can find inspiration everywhere!

Airport Story

The last time I visited Calgary, my friends (who lived in the far south) wanted to pick me up from the airport (in the north). It was a weekday morning and both of them worked. After a minor debate and delay, the husband was nominated to get me since he didn’t start his shift till midday.

I waited. And waited.

I enjoyed the wait, because I saw people come and go, and I made up stories in my mind about who they were, where they were going, or who they were greeting.

Most of all, I noticed a somewhat unkempt man who had made efforts to be presentable despite a seeming tendency to fray at the edges. He was carrying a small, modest bouquet of typical flowers, the kind that might have been purchased at Safeway.

I loved him.

I wanted to tell him how sweet and wonderful he was, to bring flowers for someone he was meeting at the airport.

But I didn’t.

His nervous eagerness shot out of his darting, seeking eyes, no doubt awaiting a fresh, new beloved. Perhaps it was an internet romance’s first face-to-face meeting. He was not young. He looked like he had already been trampled by a heartbreak or two. But his pacing was like a teenager who had never been kissed. He wasn’t quite sure how it was done, and he was long overdue for the experience.

As I waited… and waited… I saw this bouquet-bearing lover’s forehead start to glisten over with sweat. Repeatedly checking the arrivals updates, his cell phone with no messages, he walked distances down the airport halls and back again. The bouquet was getting increasingly limp, flower heads facing the floor, as his shoulders began to hunch over, sadness setting in.

About an hour after my arrival, I spotted my friend and rushed over to give him a hug. As we gabbed about the traffic and made our way out of the building, I took one more look back.

The man was still there, head drooped, flower stems slipping from his grasp as he stood there, waiting… waiting.

© March 3, 2014 | Annie Zalezsak

Art Therapy

“I empty myself onto paper.”

— Annie Zalezsak

I’ve been to a few group art therapy classes now. It always amazes me what comes out of it. Yesterday, after a discussion on meditation and just centring on what is “now”, I painted the picture above. I started out on the top left corner with strong, determined, forceful pastel colours. I filled in around it with bold paint. Then I swooped down with yellow pastel into a spiral.

There was time left to start another painting.

In this one, I felt like I wanted my hand to be very loose and light. My hand fluttered like a butterfly along the paper with brushes of varying sizes.

Once complete, a few class minutes remained, so I created this, too.

I love the colour red, but had been reluctantant to use it too much (because it reminded me of blood). But painting with red this time felt good, right, appropriate and empowering.

At the end of the session, we take turns describing the process. When it was my turn, I said that I was surprised that I created three pictures rather than just the usual one. The facilitator pointed out that sometimes several pictures put together will tell a story. I immediately saw that!

Art therapy is helping me with health challenges, and this series reveals to me what my healing process has been like.

In the first painting (or in the beginning), I was determined to heal in a very forceful and controlling way.

I noticed this looked like an upside-down snail. Ever since I was a kid, I loved snails. They represent independence (taking their hard shell homes with them). Yet they remind us that some things happen at their own (slow) pace.

In the second painting, there was a complete letting go: abandoning myself to the process and trusting the outcome. The result looked to me like confetti and streamers — a joyous celebration!

In the third painting, I accepted the blood red colour. There was a clearly defined, solid blue boundary around the central image, free-floating in a soft space, brightly emanating a strong statement of energy through outward yellow strokes. To me, this represented healing on a cellular level.

It made me very happy to see that my subconscious was showing me my transformation on this path to healing.

One option the facilitator has offered as a possible addition to this process, is to write a poem while looking into these images from an ‘I am’ perspective. This is a poem I chose to write today.

Side-swiped by a revelation
I pushed it into a gift box
tightly tying fancy knots
around its sharp corners.
Doing it my way.
Noticing, despite my bright colours,
I would again be turned upside-down.

I surrendered to the infinite.
Hopping, skipping, playing
(all that is required)
giving up to the light
every breath, every thought, every action
permitting happiness
floating in nothing.

Knowing
despite everything
all is well.

© November 14, 2013 | Annie Zalezsak

Love and Forgiveness

© Ice | Dreamstime.com

Is there a difference between love and forgiveness?

Many years ago, I knew a girl whose family had shunned her sister. She would never say why. As a teenager, my parents had friends who cut their daughter out of their life. How could any parents do that to their child? I believed there was nothing in family that was beyond forgiveness.

And yet, well into adulthood, I learned that boundaries could get trampled, and a desire to protect myself from further hurt would make me also draw the line, in both family and friendship.

There must be truth to the expression “time heals all wounds”. Inevitably, we’d learn our lessons. Our love for each other would surmount our ego, and ultimately thrive to a new level of understanding, reconnecting us, on some level, until all was forgiven.

I believe that we all want to feel and be connected and reconnected, despite the wounds we perceive ourselves to have received. Whether we return on the basis of an agreement to honour each other’s right to disagree, or whether we legitimately now can actually see the alternate point of view, really doesn’t matter so much. What matters more is respecting each other’s right to be who we are: unique, distinct individuals; and knowing that another’s individuality is not about “me”.

We must learn to not take other people’s opinions personally, or make their actions be about us. Everyone has their own right to freedom: to act, do, say, be as they wish. If this offends me, then let that offense be a lesson to me, about myself, rather than a perceived direct attack on me. Let it teach me some deeply uncovered inner truth as I see it, and not some fault I can blame the other person for. Let me be grateful. Let me thank them. Let me love them for the gift they have unknowingly allowed to surface to me, from within me.

Forgiving another for any perceived unkindness is a gift of love to myself. It creates peace and harmony within, and builds bridges of connection with others. Love and forgiveness may be synonymous; or perhaps true loving kindness makes forgiveness redundant and unnecessary. Love is pure and goes beyond any need or requirement of forgiveness. Love is whole and complete in and of itself.

© October 7, 2013 | 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

Gary Quinn: The YES Frequency

The YES Frequency by Gary QuinnI’ve been a fan of Gary Quinn since his first book, “May the Angels be with You“. His CDs have been such a wonderful help to me. I was also fortunate to meet Gary at a workshop in North Wales several years ago. He’s very down-to-earth, personable and relatable as a speaker. So when his latest book, “The YES Frequency” was published, I was excited to find out his take on the power of “YES”.

I found myself smiling for extended periods as I read it. Gary dares to challenge you to face the “NO” demons in your head, and replace them resolvingly with “YES!” What I like about this book in particular, is its simple, no-nonsense advice. It doesn’t ask you to do any major personality overhauls or deep analytical digging into your past. Instead, it puts forward a premise that is pretty direct. It’s like a hit of espresso that wakes you up in one quick gulp. There is a matter-of-fact-ness to this book, and the whole idea of The YES Frequency. Unlike many self help books, this one doesn’t demand hard work and scrutiny to change your life. It offers subtle tweaks to cause major shifts. It makes change easy. I like easy.

Towards the end of the book, I thought, wouldn’t it be great if some of these “YES” affirmations were on CD? A few pages later, I see there already is one. You can listen to sample snippets here.

I asked Gary a few questions that stood out to me regarding his book.

Gary QuinnHow did you discover the power of the word “YES”?

I discovered the word “Yes” doing a seminar in Munich Germany. I walked into a seminar and felt the deep heavy energy of the participants. I immediately asked the Universe “what do I need to tell this people first? I was told to have then stand and repeat YES 200 times. That was the birth of the YES word. After they spoke it out loud they were all happy and had a renewed energy.

Do you have a daily YES Frequency practice?

YES. Everyday I say: Yes, today I accept great opportunities.
I say it at least 40 times a day.

Why is ‘transformation’ important to the YES Frequency?

Transformation is important to create the inner belief change by downloading the old negative thinking and upload the positive new belief system.

How does ‘trust’ affect the YES Frequency?

Trust is an important factor in giving yourself the permission to move forward in all areas of your life. As you extend that Trust, it becomes you in all areas of your life. You then open the door to change.

Thanks, Gary, for yet another wonderful book!

You can read my other reviews of Gary Quinn’s work on my website, Vibrant Word. Also, visit Gary’s website at garyquinn.tv and follow him on his Facebook page, The YES Frequency.

© October 26, 2013 | Annie Zalezsak

Email to One Million People

I go to a writing group first Monday of every month. We’re given arbitrary words, subjects or ideas to spark a spurt of writing. This month, we were asked to imagine we can submit into a kind of lottery, an email that will be randomly selected to be sent to one million people.

In the final phase of preparing my first book for publishing, I took this writing exercise very seriously. This is what I wrote.

Email to One Million People from Annie Zalezsak

The book, We Are One Blood is now available on Amazon. Annette Erickson, the writing group’s facilitator, has written the first review.

© August 17, 2013 | Annie Zalezsak

Getting Back on Track With Better Food Choices

Since my last post, my food choices included more calzone, pulled pork poutine, Miss Vickie’s potato chips and Reeses peanut butter chocolate bars. Today, the tide turned for the better. This is what I bought at the grocery store.

For lunch, I made a mushroom omelette (3 mushrooms, 2 organic eggs, organic cheddar cheese, turmeric, black pepper, and organic mango salsa on top).

For dinner, I made salad with romaine lettuce, caesar dressing and added sausages that I cooked on my George Foreman grill.

Now, I know these choices aren’t perfect. It’s not so much the choices, but my attitude that has shifted back on the right track. Today, I didn’t obsess over what I should or shouldn’t eat. I didn’t dwell for hours on what take out food I wanted. I wasn’t compelled by anything in particular. I simply thought, I’m hungry. I’ll make an omelette. I’ll get some lettuce and salad dressing. I’ll use up those sausages in the fridge.

Food became simple again. There were no psychological motives or power struggles amidst the food choices.

Last night I made an important decision about a life direction. This morning I woke up feeling empowered. I felt stronger. I knew what was right for me. There are still a lot of fears and unknowns about this direction, but at least I know I have made a conscious choice and I have control over that choice. Before that, I was looking to others to direct me. I now realize that I had been listening to their advice more than my own heart and gut.

I have learned that following my intuition about the big things can make the little things, like food choices, much simpler. Aspects of our lives are inter-weaved and impact each other, even though we hardly realize it.

Big lesson for me.

© July 29, 2013 | Annie Zalezsak

Control, Empowerment and Food

© Copyright 2013 Annie Zalezsak

It’s been a rebellious week. I noticed I had a child-like defiance when it came to my food choices. I remembered what a fussy eater I was as a kid. I lived on bread and butter, chocolate milk, jello and salad. My nutritionist told me kids are picky eaters when they feel powerless in their environment. All they can control is their eating.

When I was a kid and my mom sent me to the store for milk or bread, I would ask her for a dime to buy candy. Really, I was asking: “Am I a good girl? Do you love me?”

When I grew up, left home and went to work, having my own money meant I could eat out, something my poor family rarely did. It felt empowering to be able to buy my fast food lunches.

Photo credit: Johanna Goodyear | Dreamstime.com

Currently experiencing life challenges, I’ve been reverting to former eating behaviours. The nutritionist assigned me a task. For the next four days, I have to think of ways other than food to feel empowered and in control.

After the appointment, I sat at the beach. I spent nearly four hours contemplating what to eat and what a particular choice might make me feel. I’ve been craving meat for days, but had it so engrained for the last 6 months only to eat organic. It was too hard to go out of my way to the stores that sell it. More defiance. I needed nearby easy food.

In the end, I decided on a slice of pizza. Yet when I neared the pizza place, I had doubts. I walked back and forth, then decided ‘no’ because I don’t like how wheat makes me feel. Very hungry now, what was I going to do? I wound up in the supermarket.

Still perplexed, I kept being drawn to the meat. No organic. On my way down to the tinned fish aisle, I noticed my formerly favourite sausage brand was on sale.

Okay, not the best choice, but better than potato chips. And it’s protein. They tasted wonderful. I enjoyed them thoroughly. They felt good in my tummy. It’s what I needed.

I’m starting to understand that being too strict with a perfect diet can throw you into the opposite direction. You gotta give in every now and again to something that isn’t perfect. It’s all relative. I have to ease up on some of the ordinary foods, or I’ll wind up like a child having a tantrum and wanting to eat candy all the time.

Balance.

© July 18, 2013 | Annie Zalezsak

Back on the Veggies

Yesterday, I got beef chow mein take-out. I realized I’m attracted to fast food when I want my life to be easy. Having someone else do the cooking (like my mother did) makes me feel cared for and loved.

The food, however, is usually a disappointment.

I felt awfully bloated afterward. During the night, I felt congested. I decided that’s it. There was a reason why I didn’t eat wheat for six months. After just a few days of splurging on a few wheat-containing items, I decided it wasn’t worth it. I went back on the veggies. Today’s grocery bag included a bag of salad, a bag of organic broccoli and cauliflower florets, and 2 bottles of spring water.

Lunch was two organic eggs fried (at a low heat) in organic extra virgin olive oil (cold-pressed).

I’m starting to get back on track.