5 Books After Which Nothing Will Be The Same. Ever.

There are some books that we love. There are some books that are recommended to us or highly rated. There are some books that are classics, or that we think we should More »

Invisible. About the thread that has the power to change you.

What’s invisible for you, might not seem the same thing for somebody else. People come and go. Every person is here to teach us something, to point at something, to show the More »

Great album to relax to – ‘Shanti Guitar’ by Stevin McNamara

Not often can you find something soothing and interesting at the same time. This is clearly the case with the album called Shanti Guitar by Stevin McNamara. The heartfelt picking seems deeper More »

A Short Guide to Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is a practice of savouring every bite of your meal, in the same way you cherish every day if you live by the carpe diem maxim. In an era when there More »

EARTH(L)ING. How to tap into the Earth’s healing power

Have you ever had that feeling that when you go out into nature, the troubles that were on your mind before are not that stressful anymore, or sometimes they completely vanish? Even More »

How to have an effortless breakthrough by small, regular steps – a little, step-by step guide

Here is how small changes, repeated over a period of time, can lead to a breakthrough. Have you ever wanted to make a change but didn’t know where to start? Is there More »

 

You – a poem about intimacy and divinity

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 “You” (by me)

If I could speak all the languages,
I’d speak the truth
I would not be confined by spaces
or times
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If I could connect to the infinity
I would feel it in my bones
nothing would be scary
nothing would be too much

If I could connect to you
I would not feel bare or hardened
I would feel beautiful and free
I would feel the longing
no more

If I could taste the name of the wonder
and swim in the sea
of open possibilities
with no distractions or chores,
that would be you.

  

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“By the hand” – a picture I created digitally

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Here’s my new creation…

  

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Solar-powered – a poem by Anna Wawrzyniak

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We are powered by the sun
Yes, humans are solar-powered
And if you don’t believe
look at green grass we lie down on
the fruit that ripen for us
the holidays we take to recharge
the pets we walk in parks
and the strangers we meet when we’re in a good mood
Vitamin D doesn’t grow on trees
We are solar-powered
  

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Catching and falling – a poem by Anna Wawrzyniak (me)

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When something falls down, let it fall down. Let it fully collapse.
There will be no more victims.
Let it go.

When your train has gone,
don’t wait.
Choose the next station
or catch a bus.

When you’re not sure how this day will continue,
trust the sun the moon and the stars.
They will never disappoint you.

Another train to catch, another flower to blossom, another fear to go bust.
This is just me and you in this playground
that we’re visiting from birth
from time to time
But time doesn’t exist
Our dreams do.
Here is to being you.
  
“Catching and falling” created by me today using Fingerpaint app (Meritum). 

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Why do you see 11.11 on your watch? Twin numbers explained.

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Why almost every time when I look at my watch, do I see 11.11, 14.14 or 22.22? Twin numbers. Do normal times not exist anymore? Let me check again. Oh, it’s 03.03 now that I’m writing this. [I'm kind of a night owl, don't worry.] Very strange. Very strange.

It’s the eleventh of November today, 11.11, which is why I’ve decided to explore this occurrence further. Why do we see twin numbers?

As my friend, a philosopher and musician Alessandro Puddu says, these twin numbers serve as a portal; interdimensional doors, so to speak. It may be a portal to creativity, to your intuition, to the field of consciousness that you don’t normally feel when you focus only on the material stuff happening around you. It’s a reminder for you to stop and look inwardly to notice something important. According to Alessandro, you have this one minute to connect with yourself. That minute can as well be eternity. Time is a matter of perception anyway.

What people think it can also mean:

- these are “angel numbers” signifying awakening. There is more to it than just imagination or coincidence, as spiritual teachers point out.

- they can be explained by numerology.

- 16+ possible explanations can be found in this video:

- they can appear in moments of synchronicity. It may be worth looking at what exactly is happening in the moment you see these numbers.

What does it all mean? I have no way to check whether any of such claims is valid. Sorry for not giving you a definite answer. How are we supposed to know? I let you answer on your own.

Please share your observations below. And have a lovely November 11th, no matter what you think.

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photo credit: 11:11 11/11 via photopin (license)

featured photo credit: 11:11 via photopin (license)

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What if we lived forever? Would we still create?

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Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever.
- Mahatma Gandhi

We are moved by lost time. We are moved by birthdays, funerals and by transition steps like weddings, which start something new and end something forever: things will never be the same as before. We are moved by new people coming into this world: by “mini-me”-s, because we know we’re going to die one day and hopefully they will remain. Creativity comes from emotions that shake us up. Would we still create if we were to live forever?

Carpe diem can only be practiced when you know your time is limited… You want to use all the resources that you have before it’s too late… experience all the things you dream of… bucket lists and stuff… Otherwise you get bored with life. You take things for granted. Everyday life becomes uninteresting.

If you were to live forever, would you create? Or, would you just consume instead, and swim in the luxury of infinity? Only because we’re mortals, we want to save every moment, leave something, express our feelings of longing… of missing something… of lost time… We want to take pictures and preserve memories in a form of postcards and letters because one day everything will be gone. And these things may remain. Not any of the events that triggered them. Not even us.

Is art a way to show us what we miss? The nature, the softness, the essence that sometimes is hidden in our everyday life? Is it a way to understand our world, see the invisible, think the unthinkable and… leave it for others? Is it a way to cross the mundane, to find ourselves in a new space?

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
- Pablo Picasso

Art asks more questions than it answers. And maybe it should. It’s easy to go through life overwhelmed by urgent things to do all the time. This is a kind of anaesthetic we are used to living on – busyness. It makes us run when we really could stop for a second and listen. That’s where art gets created. In the mental space of this second of listening. To the world. Inside and outside.

So, coming back to our question, what would happen if we lived forever? Would we ever stop and contemplate the temporary nature of our existence? Would we ever take risks? Or would we succumb to the overflowing time for everything we want to do and just… live? Live and procrastinate? Because when time is unlimited, procrastination also can be… What do you think?

photo credit: july2014 411 via photopin (license)

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Sadness matters. How to embrace your tears.

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Sadness. The “blue creature” that’s inside your head and makes you notice gloomy things. Something that makes you emotional, nostalgic and down. Shoulder-length hair, round glasses, a sweater… here we go. That’s Sadness character in the Pixar’s movie “Inside Out”, speaking (and crying) with the voice of Phyllis Smith. I love how fairy tales can simplify and depict complex concepts in a way that is amusing, fun to watch and has a grain (or two) of truth.

Sometimes we think sadness is not welcome. It takes our power away and makes us feel miserable… It can take away our pleasures and cause us to be lonely… It can make us cry instead of enjoying our day. But should we really distrust sadness, hide it and treat it as a guest who comes uninvited and stays for too long? Do we really (as numerous self-help books suggest) need to strive for joy and think positively most of the time? I am not so sure.

Sadness can mess up many things, right? We are bombarded with pictures of happy people everywhere. Celebrities with perfect smiles (and lives, seemingly); success stories to hold onto (when we’ve just seen end results of someone’s achievements); pictures on Facebook that show only the best moments of someone’s life; self-help sections in book stores that lead you to believe that you must feel upbeat all the time to achieve fulfilment of personal and professional goals; job offers that accentuate traits such as being outgoing and bubbly… because you need to emanate happiness in order to attract customers to a brand, right? Well, that sounds a bit unreal to me.

We all experience all kinds of emotions. Sometimes at the same time. It may be easy to think that to keep up with all our obligations, commitments and activities, we need loads of positive energy all the time. However, life is not as sweet as a movie. Why struggle to be happy all the time?

Sadness has many benefits. Our tears are cleansing both our emotions and our eyes.

Forcing yourself to stay constantly “upbeat and positive” in your job can lead to frustration or even a breakdown, because it is an unattainable ideal. Everyone has bad days at some point, so why not feel them instead of trying to hide them? People actually connect with you when you are having a bad day. Sometimes even more than when you are emanating with happiness… Practiced. People like to show compassion to other human beings.

Feeling down always tells us something. Like pain. Physical pain is an indication that something is not going right in our organism. If you kill the pain, you kill the symptoms. The causes of it might still be there. Same with sadness. If we try to hide it under a fake smile, under “I’m alright” or under tons of work/entertainment, it will not automatically disappear. Well, it may, for a short time. But it may still be there when you check next time. There is a Zen practice of “looking deeply” that helps recognise the exact emotions we are feeling and what they point at. It is a really useful practice.

Sadness can sometimes bring fear, but running away from it doesn’t help. Fear is an elaborated fantasy of what may go wrong. Only embracing your sadness and trying to understand it can help shine light on what is really going on inside. This can bring marvellous results. Otherwise this unexplored emotional terrain might be scary.

Fantasy abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters: united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of their marvels. (Goya)

 

Goya – The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (picture from Wikipedia)

Featured image photo credit: Sadness via photopin (license)

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“Sometimes”. About the dream we keep holding on to, in spite of the rain.

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Sometimes clarity just doesn’t come. It’s obscured by clouds, by dreams, by fantasies. Obscured by magical thinking of “that something” which will wake us up from a dream and make us feel special… Whereas all we want is to make peace with ourselves and feel “our own creative spark” that we didn’t feel before. Sometimes that’s all.

Sometimes life brings you flowers. And sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s not the reason to not wake up every day happy. It’s not the reason to stay down. A flower is waiting for you right where you are. If you just manage to discover it.

Sometimes even compassion is not enough. You can get angry by not understanding something and nothing will help. Getting angry is healthy if you channel it the right way. It can cleanse your fears.

Where am I going with all this? To the point of nowhere. To stir you up a little bit, to make you find out where your own “sometimes” lies, that you’ve forgotten about, that you aspire to… Where is your magic “tomorrow” where everything’s gonna be alright and the spell will last? There is no such place. Yet we do this all the time. We create the whole worlds of illusions to dive into, like a swimming pool on a fairy island. You can have one too. But it’s good to know that you’re in a tale, a cartoon. And when this episode ends, you will remain right where you were, in the greyish shape of your reality. Grey is beautiful though. It’s a neutral state that allows you to notice all other colours; it’s a perfect background to all emotions. It’s the world that will last.

I guess you know now what your fantasy world is, but please be assured that the world of “normality” is so much more gratifying in the end. Fantasies are amazing but they are exactly as they are – fantasies. If only we could notice them sooner.

That’s where Zen comes in. It helps us recognize the “mind chatter” from the presence of our being that is available to us all the time no matter what storms are raging or what creations we are led to believe. It’s sustainable. It’s connected to your breath. It takes you on a journey that is real. Mind can trick you and bring you to a lot of unusual places. But at the end of the day the place is one – Here and Now.

I might end up with a flashy conclusion or a catchy phrase, but no. I’ll end up with a space. A space for your thoughts. Here you can write your own “sometimes”. If you dare to listen to your fantasy. It can tell you the truth of what you’re missing.

 

MY FANTASY: ________________________

 

Good luck,

Anna

 

 

photo credit: Mystischer Koloss via photopin (license)

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‘Particles and waves’ – my poem…

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Particles and waves
by Anna Wawrzyniak

I once dreamed of a space
where all our senses would be uncovered
where we would see particles instead of colours
particles and waves

I once dreamed that we could
transcend our size and pervade into the molecules
to see them face to face
and notice what it feels like
not like through a microscope
particles and waves

I once dreamed that we could go
so far away
that we could see not only our planet
but most of the Universe
from a distance
particles and waves

Then I woke up
took a few steps
went round the corner
looked around
and here I am in this place
called the Earth
particles and waves

photo credit: Sherry Photography Creative Commons via photopin (license)

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5 Books After Which Nothing Will Be The Same. Ever.

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There are some books that we love. There are some books that are recommended to us or highly rated. There are some books that are classics, or that we think we should read. But there are also some books, after reading which, nothing will ever look the same. Ever. Again. Here are some of them (this choice is entirely subjective and doesn’t pretend to be any ultimate to-read list; however, these are some books with high impact, that you might like too…).

Here goes the list:

1) The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This. Is. Amazing. I don’t even know where to start. Sometimes silence is so much better than analysis… So I’ll just give some quotes:

- “People have forgotten this truth,” the fox said. “But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.”

- “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

- “People where you live,” the little prince said, “grow five thousand roses in one garden… yet they don’t find what they’re looking for…

Any more words are unnecessary. Try for yourself.

2) The Way of Non-Attachment: The Practice of Insight Meditation by Dhiravamsa

This is a guide to a very useful technique of loosening the grip on what you think needs to happen, and understanding yourself. After practicing for some time, “Clarity gradually comes, suffering is gradually understood, and freedom begins to appear.” (a quote from the book).

This can help tremendously, whatever you’re going through. Especially if you’re going through some hard times. It is easy to get lost in your thoughts, and feed your pain, but there is a simple way out, based on your breathing and looking deeply into your feelings. All the answers are already in you and you may see what happens when you try to uncover them… Firstly, you may find that clinging to something, whatever it is, has harmful effects and can suck. We can only be free if we let go. Then you can take the next steps. It can be very healing and it can bring you deep peace.

3) The Art of Communicating by Thich Nhat Hanh

A lot can be said about mindfulness. This book says a lot more. The way we communicate with our loved ones (and not-so-loved ones) has a huge impact on our relationships and on our state of mind. If we cultivate inner peace and choose words wisely, we can transform even the hardest argument into something constructive. Things that have seemed difficult start to be achievable, as Thay (that’s the Vietnamese word for ‘Teacher’) explains to us the ways in which we can approach conflict and difficult emotions, to create peace and harmony. It is a really useful read for couples, families, individuals, friends, and anyone else who wishes to transform their relationships, and also better understand their own emotions and reactions. Some of the steps are quite simple. They can be practiced by anyone.

Communication is key. And this book is a key to communication.

4) The Secret Life of Salvador Dali by Salvador Dali

An autobiography of the famous surrealist, embracing his late thirties. That’s the craziest book I’ve ever read! It was very hard to hide it under the table during my uni classes, and the fact that I couldn’t stop laughing while reading some passages probably gave it all away… The lecturer must have been very patient with me. This book is HILARIOUS. It also gives you an insight into a mind of an exceptional man, who is extremely creative, and extremely forgetful sometimes. He once opened his door dressed quickly in a bath-robe tied with a cable, at the end of which, accidentally, was a lamp. The kind of stuff you do every day, right?

Apart from peculiar anecdotes and a lot of unpredictability, you will find a lot of creative inspiration here. And a massive amount of food for thought.

5) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

If your mind has ever been wandering somewhere far, far away, exploring ideas that you cannot stop thinking about, and you also like travelling (even if just with your mind), this book is for you. A journey through several American states, on motorbikes, over many days, can bring A LOT of self-reflection. Nature plus space plus time, and a companion that unwillingly forces you to reflect on things, is a very philosophical combination. And that’s one side of this book. It cannot be defined in a couple of sentences, it has to be read. Written in the 1970s, it has become a classic. It was quite disturbing at some points. I won’t tell you which ones. It was also very fascinating, engaging and had a high impact. Not something easily forgotten. Oh, and it was non-fiction.

You may choose one of these books this weekend. Or you might remain in your sweet indifference to them, as if this article never happened (which is OK too). If you read some of them, tell me what you think. Whatever you choose to do… Have a great weekend!

 

photo credit: In Awe via photopin (license)

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