Friday, August 30, 2013


by N. Jane Allio

          The North West taught me how to be myself 
          again; it connected me to my childhood
                   To a simpler, cleaner life, void of excess.
            It brought me back to love from bitterness.
            The rain washed off my fears & doubts
            The sun taught me how to be thankful, what
                   true gratitude look, feels, smells, and tastes like
                   A husband taught me patience & unconditional
             And Dear Old Mother Nature, who showed me what living with
                   her is all about, bringing me back to 
                   my long forgotten roots deep within 
                   the cool damp earth. Of how to wish
                   and how to bend, the soul of my
                   steady pen

Photo credit: <a href="">thorinside</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Sunday, March 10, 2013

17th Floor View

By N. Jane Allio

Tiny little ant-people moving between
        looming geometrical concrete.
Where toy cars slowly puff in and out
        of bite-sized trees & lettuce greens

"The Styrge Gargoyle"
 by clafouti via stock.xchng
Nobody looks up.

But we look down.

Across the way the Gargoyles play,
seen only by the me's in the tops of these-

concrete places,
we have no faces,
only glass cases,
cages of tamed memes.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rageful Prayer

by N. Jane Allio

When will the delusion break?
When will peace overtake?
  When the sleeping wake?

Why can't the dawn bring forth peace?
Why does the love that will never cease -
    not over take the ill at ease?

When will "god" above come down to save the little dove?

If he is up there in his mighty hall
Why can he not hear their call?

When will the good that's been done yield the reap?
Can you not hear them weep?

You up in your palace there
Come down here?
You wouldn't dare.

Shame on you for leaving those who love your face
to let the dogs and demons race-
to see who will be the first to taste
all the blood that has spilled, a waste.

cambiodefractal / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Monday, September 17, 2012

Little Secret Moments of Glory

by N. Jane Allio

  The morning was brisker that day. Summer is already fading... it will be winter again soon, I thought starkly while stepping off the bus. Once on the street I glanced at my watch, 10:23, an hour and a half early… well, better than being late I supposed, now what to do with all this time?  I looked across Hastings St. and saw my salvation, three Waves employees standing on the corner, one in a to-go-cup suit, handing out free coffee vouchers. Yes! This is a good sign, today is going to be a good day, I mused crossing the street. Smiling as a voucher was placed into my hand by an eager employee who was obviously thoroughly enjoying the task of making a strangers’ day a little brighter with a hot bevy on the house.  
  While waiting for my little decaffeinated treat, I realized I was standing in the exact same coffee shop in which I drank my very first Vancouver, BC java. Thanking the barista kindly for ensuring its lack of caffeine and side of soy milk, I made my way to the milk and sugar station to sweeten my cup with a few pumps of liquid cane sugar – yes, dear U.S. readers, in Canada the native coffee houses thoughtfully provide liquid cane sugar and honey pumps for customer use, a kind gesture indeed for the iced coffee drinkers of the world, but I digress. 
  As I settled into a choice seat on the second level overlooking the first, I envisioned me a year ago sitting in the far right hand corner on a high stool facing the window, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, head phones in my ears, a soy pumpkin late in one hand and the other furiously writing Accounting 101 notes, eyes darting back and forth between a black spiral notebook and the screen on my little black net book plugged into the wall by a long black cord.  How far I have come, I reflected, almost two years ago I was a college student visiting my Canadian/American boyfriend, sitting in this very coffee shop completing college courses, unable to work, a stranger in a new land, on the tip of a great adventure. Contrasting the present, sitting in a blue and white polka-dot dress complete with a short sleeved khaki jacket - very 1950's - drinking my decaf, now a local of beautiful British Columbia, a degree holder, instead of learning accounting principles I pull stored knowledge from the vault and use it in real-world application, killing time before the second of three potential employment interviews, and to ice the cake with the sweetest and fluffiest of frosting's I am happy. The contentment washed over me while I paused basking in my own little secret moment of glory. This is me now and this is where I have been; how far I have come. The reason for sitting in this very place is quite different from why I sought this cafe out the first time, and I am so very happy.
"Sunset at Mitchell" by Crystal Wong
   Seasons change, and as I grow I have begun to measure time not by hours, days, weeks or months, but by seasons. Summer seasons are easy going, work is light and fun is heavy, spring season is full of beauty and new beginnings, fall with its’ rapid changes and gusting winds, and finally frigid testing winter. Just like the seemingly never-ending Canadian winter, stages in life can feel as if they will not pass, that there is no motion, no progress being made, that the cold will last forever.
  These seasons are however, ever moving, in constant motion, bringing life and energy to the earth. Those willing to accept the season they are in, finding the humor and joy in it, are the ones that live happy. Trying constantly to move into the next season before the current is compete looses some of the lessons that have yet to be learned or fun yet to be had. Patience, trust, determination, and dedication to passions and love, are the keys to floating through life in harmony with all the passing seasons. Being able to pause and recognize little secret moments of glory are essential. Being able to just breathe in a moment of contentment and recognition is similar to treating yourself to a spa day but for the soul... and everyone could use a little pampering every now and again.

Monday, August 13, 2012

When the Train Stands Still

by N. Jane Allio

While it is important to always be in the moment, it is also, quite as important, not to forget about the future.
  These past few summer months have come with much welcomed company, my mother, family friends, and relatives of sorts have graced us we their presences and I must say my husband and I have played quite the host and hostess.
 However, beneath this sunny exterior there was me, brooding, anxious, full of what ifs. I’ve been so consumed with my inability to leave the country of my new residence that I became gloomy, lazy and stressed over a situation that is completely out of my control.
 During these pleasantries my mind had been pre-occupied with me, and about this very moment of time that seems to be dragging on and on and on. “When would it ever end??” I thought to myself repeatedly. I kept thinking about the different ways I ended up where I am today. I began to doubt if I had chosen the right path. Perhaps this was not my destiny, I had chosen wrong.
 I let myself carry this thread until it had woven itself into a blanket I wrapped myself and napped in ever so cozily.
Photo contribution by Crystal Wong
 I lost sight of what these moments in life create, a beautiful flowing river of life that carries us forward into our future.
  Sometimes, when the cold North winds blow, it is best to remember that this is just a season, and seasons do change.
 The question now, is what to do in the time in between?
I chose action. What I choose to do now will shape my future forever, so being ever present to make the best decisions possible with the time I have is key. Taking steps today that will guide me to a better tomorrow is the way I choose to walk.
That means taking a look in the mirror and asking some tough questions and then, maybe the hardest part, answering those questions honestly.
If we aren’t honest with ourselves, who will be?
There is no invisible conductor driving the train on its’ tracks, we are the conductors, “we are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams (excerpt from Ode by Arthur O'Shaughnessy).” We are the ones who shape our life the way it will be. There is no time to waste for today is passing away and birthing tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tulips and Sunshine and Openness

by N. Jane Allio

I was walking out of my apartment last week on a particularly sunny day. The first day, in fact, that it was warm enough to go out with just a light sweater. Eagerly padding along the walkway I took note of the beautiful red, yellow, purple, and pink tulips that were in full bloom just soaking up the sunlight. Their bright petals bending over backward so far they looked as if they might fall straight off the stem. 
"Burst of Color" by Crystal Wong
What beauty!
I looked at those little flowers and smiled to myself, thinking, they must love the sunshine as I do.
The next day it rained... again. On my less then peppy steps out the door and down the walkway I noticed the tulips again, this time, instead of opening wide for the warm rays of the sun to kiss their petals they nestled together tight as if their petals had not yet seen the sun. 
I was taken aback by this phenomenon. I had learned that nature naturally leaned toward the sun. I did not realize they were so affected by it.
Then it hit me.
I too was like the tulip flower.

Days when the sun is shining high in the sky it is easy to be open, to give and receive love easily without restraint. Other days when the clouds roll in, nothing is going well, and the world is seemingly against me, in defense I clam up. Just like the tulips.
While I may not be able to change the weather outside, I am able to change my perspective.
It is all too easy to clam up and huddle my petals around me, tightly safe in my closed off space. But how can I live life fully if I am scared to peak my head out and see the world around me? I can’t.

If I want to be the bloomed tulip every day, I need to carry the sunshine with me, always. 

I can do that through spending time alone with myself and asking some simple questions:
How am I feeling at the moment?
Am I at peace? If not, what is bothering me and why?
Is this something I can change or is it out of my control? Is this something I need to hold onto or should I let it go?
If I am in a peaceful state, am I emitting this peace and love to others through my actions and words? Or am I hording the light that shines brightly within me?

Through answering these questions and taking appropriate action, I am able to turn on my own light and carry it with me throughout my day, not only making my inner world brighter, but perhaps brightening up somebody else's day too.
I know I am not the only person affected by me, just as the sun affects different life forms in the world, so we affect others. When my light is dimmed by emotions, feelings, and thoughts that have gone unchecked I am at risk of missing out on a wonderful experience.

Checking in with my internal world on a regular basis allows the light within me to steadily burn like a lighthouse in the midst of a dark storm, not like a naked candle which is easily puffed out by a draft. 
It does take time, effort, and patience but as I am continually learning, just because it rained today, doesn't mean it has to continue to dampen my mood, or that today can't be a beautiful day. It only means it is raining – and a little rain is good. It nourishes and cleanses our bodies and souls.
The choice is up to me, just as it is up to you. 
Will you choose to light up your world or will you remain in darkness?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Connecting With the Inner-Child

by N. Jane Allio

The first day of sun in a week was a welcome surprise. I woke up Friday morning to find, not snow, but gorgeous rays of sunlight dancing through my mesh curtains kissing my face. What a glorious day, I thought to myself, and determined to not let it go by without fully basking in its majesty.

 So, I called up a couple of friends, one of which has an extremely energetic two-year-old that loves to play, and ventured outside. On our walk we absolutely had to stop by the neighborhood park for rounds of climbing big winding structures, teeter-tottering, sliding, and of course taking a spill or two in the bark.

Photo contribution by Crystal Wong
Running, climbing, feeling my muscles burn hanging up-side-down, blood rushing to my face, the sheer thrill of hanging there without a care in the world, flying freely as I flew down the slide and straight off the tail into the dirt. Listening to shrieking laughter fill the atmosphere accompanied by a multitude of smiles. This is how memories are made during sunny days of childhood play. 

All to often our daily life fills with stress, work, worries, bills, errands, chores, and other "gown-up" obligations that the kid within us begins to get lost under a pile of dishes, paperwork, and un-matched socks. Forgetting to take the time, like that dear little two-year-old, to pause, smell the daisies, and say, "Mmmmmmm." 

When we don't allow ourselves the time to stop and do something childish every now and again we begin to become callus to our surroundings, eventually we go through our days like a work horse, blinders on as not to get distracted from the road. 

Each moment is unique unto itself allowing ourselves to go through each day with child-like wide eyed wonderment does not negate the wisdom that has been gained, but rather allows it to be applied in new and different areas. Not to mention, humbling pride along the way.

At least this is what my experience has been.

After I embraced this childishness within myself, it manifested in a beautifully productive way, instead of coming out during a frustration ending in embarrassment. Ignoring the little voice with-in saying to take the long way home, or just take a break for a minute and go for a walk, suppresses needs that yearn to be filled. Taking the time to blow of a little steam by being aware, honoring, and embracing these necessities opens the hatch of the internal pressure cooker, allowing relaxation and happiness to fill the newly empty space. 

So if you feel stressed, bogged down by work, or just plain muggy, try skipping down a wooded path, sitting in a garden, climbing a tree, or whatever you feel compelled to do, I am almost certain your frown will turn up-side-down.