Episode 4: Anna Peterson Macsalka is bringing mindfulness to our youth using her creative skills

Show Notes


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Favorite warmup

  • Anna has a Mantra that she uses when she has a bit of an edge. This helps her get in the right mental space. Helps take away the pressure.
  • “I am safe, I deserve to be here, I always arrive at the right place at the right time.”

About Anna

  • Early on in life Anna suffered from night terrors. She was afraid as a child of those moments and felt out of control due to this fear. Soon after this however, she learned mindfulness meditation and helped her visualize Anna’s special place that would bring her back to control. Her happy place is amazing.
  • When Anna was 17 she got in a large accident when she got into a horse riding accident. This threw her off her path a bit, but mindfulness and meditation returned to her life and regained her balance.
  • Anna started off in premed in college but found herself meeting her no husband and learned quickly from his doctor parents that this might not actually be what she was looking for. She then found herself a little lost, and was rethinking what her direction actually was. Eventually however, a memory from her past came to her mind and she decided to do what she believed would be the best job. So she became a Mary Poppins!
  • Although Anna pursues the arts, she still decided to get a degree in theatre, and a minor in business. Her dad helped her make that decision to have a “Back up plan”.

Key learnings

  • Women deserve to take up just as much space as men. Anna is an advocate for the importance of this, and through action shows how you can do it by leading her way in her career.
  • Anthony Meindl was one of the first classes that Anna took when she came to LA and it brought back to her mind the mindfulness aspect of her work. This encounter reinvigorated this through line in Anna’s life. Additionally Anna took classes at John Rosenfeld Studios (JRS) and she feels so connected to that class (That’s where Anna met Melody) and the community that is so supportive.
  • Lots of life events in Anna’s life shaped her journey with Zenimal. When Anna’s daughter was born, Anna decided to start Zenimal because she wanted to make sure that her children would not have to deal with the same challenges that she had as a child.
  • When it comes to finding the right people to surround you, Anna finds value in people that are transparent, vulnerable and caring. If she can be excited for people and they can be excited for her they are the right people to have around you. Honesty and authenticity are qualities that lead to a community where people want to be together with others.
  • It is important to continue to live your life, do things that are outside of your personal artistic endeavor. Not everyone is meant to have immediate success and you enjoy the creative journey so much more if you take in the other parts of your life. Doing these extra parts of your life will give so much more fulfillment and will give you the space and strength to try new things and go down untrodden paths that have huge potential!


  • “Being in the entertainment world, it is so blessed with the most remarkable special human beings I think.”
  • Anna’s favorite quote from her dad: “Surround yourself with people who want good things for you, and for who you want good things for”
  • “You will never fail, you will never fall right on your face.”
  • “If I hear good news for somebody… and my gut reaction is ‘yes omg that is awesome’ you will be my friend forever… your gut knows!”
  • “We need artistic people, the world revolves around it”
  • “Don’t forget you are a good kid.” - Anna’s Dad

Closing Questions

What is the hardest thing about pursuing the arts?

Judgement: It is self judgement and judgement from others. It is getting better, but Anna puts a ton of pressure on herself and it is important to try and eliminate that harmful Judgement. It is not like becoming a doctor or lawyer. There is no amount of education that dictates the exact success you will get in the arts. Steer clear of the judgement and know that you deserve to take on the passion you have inside. Don’t live in fear of the unknown.

Who have you learned the most from?

Anna’s dad.
He led such a beautiful and simple life. He impacted so many people in his life and it was incredible to see. Anna never really understood how impactful his life was on others. He led a balanced life. Anna is taking his teachings and builds it into Zenimal and is just growing the impact of herself and her dad for the betterment of humanity.

What Resource have you learned the most from?

Big Magic, By Elizabeth Gilbert
The War of Art
I don’t have to have everything figured out, I just need to eliminate excuses and maintain the spark of inspiration.

Do you have any role models? Any Quotes?

“Surround yourself with people who want good things for you, and for who you want good things for” - Dad
“You are a good kid” - Dad

Favorite piece of art or inspiration?

“Show yourself” - Frozen
Be you! and let yourself go. It feels amazing!
“Going to be a lovely day” Secret Life of Pets 2… New workout song for your playlist!

What keeps you up at night?

Being a mom and the wellness of your children are important. Anna will beat herself up if she isn’t always present with her children. She doesn’t want to miss moments by thinking of things outside of the present. Time moves faster when you are not present, so it is important to stay present to make sure the moments that matter most last the longest they can in your mind.

Do you have advice for a person that doesn’t pursue the arts full time, or is just starting out?

“Find what just pumps you up!”
Creative and Artistic endeavors need space and should be your sacred space. Be open to possibilities and don’t get stuck in a rut. You just need to keep searching for that space and you can find a way to discover this possibility for your future creativity.