drugs as medicines

Lost Memories

 

A friend forwarded this video to me today, it's titled "Lost Memories". Makes quite a statement. 

Let us never forget what is most important – it is not money or possessions or status or achievements or virtual friends or knowlege or inteligence. All of these things pass away. It is not even our own selves. It is our connection to others and most importantly our connection to God (or whatever you choose to call the creator/giver/sustainer of life). 

In my last moments of life, I will not be thinking about how many photos I took or how many fans I have on facebook or how much money I have… and my guess is that neither has or does anyone else, in that moment I feel we will all think about what REALLY matters – LOVE, LIFE, ETERNITY. And we will each have that moment, so it's best if we live a life of love NOW so that in that moment we will smile and have peace.

 

Drawings Of Niko

 

I got an email from an artist in Holland who fell in love with my music. She drew two pictures for me, one a portrait and the other a scene inspired by the music video to my song “The Exodus”.

No one has ever drawn me in a portrait before. It’s very interesting to see another artist’s interpretation of me and interpretation of The Exodus.

I am so deeply moved by the drawings that I would like to share them openly.

“…this is my way of supporting your beautiful initiative. It was just a quick sketch coming out while I was watching The Exodus…..it touched my heart very deeply….the music and the atmosphere felt like a deja vu….which I often feel by seeing the pyramids…and also the acropolis makes something move in me. Together with the beautiful music, I started drawing and I could almost feel the heartache and the passion you showed by performing this in the lands of your forefathers. So, I decided to just keep it very natural and only colored the sketch with pastels so I did not change to much of the first impression I got, it was done in about 2 hours I think but it was strange because I totally lost track of time and was just lost in the drawing….it was a nice experience…” – Crystal of Zeist, Holland

niko-by-jos-van-dijk

the-exodus-2b-by-jos-van-dijk--josvand@gmail

 

Niko

Maria Callas

 

If you don’t know Maria Callas, today I’d like to introduce you to her. A Greek opera singer.

Some moving videos of Maria…

www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJIZGthwWLc

www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvrHxQ3qjAE (excerpt from her last performance)

She’s one of the only opera singers I have ever heard that I actually believed. She got me! It’s very rare that an artist has made me cry, Maria did.  

She died in 1977, at the early age of 57. I feel she died of a broken heart. I would liked to have known her. In many ways, I relate with her.

She is featured in the “Crazy Ones” video, she blows the kiss www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSEtwdAMdw4

Leave your thoughts here in my blog, I look forward to reading them.

Niko

 

Left or Right?

 

Are you a left or right brained person? If you don’t already know, you are about to find out! : )

If you see the lady turning clockwise you are using your right brain. If you see it the other way, you are using left brain.

Some people do see both ways, but most people see it only one way.

See if you can make her go one way and then the other by shifting the brain’s current.

BOTH DIRECTIONS CAN BE SEEN

Experimentation has shown that the two different sides, or hemispheres, of the brain are responsible for different manners of thinking. The following table illustrates the differences between left-brain and right-brain thinking: 

         
Left Brain               Right Brain
 
 
 
Logical                         Random
 
Sequential                    Intuitive
 
Rational                       Holistic
 
Analytical                     Synthesizing
 
Objective                     Subjective
 
Looks at parts              Looks at wholes

Most individuals have a distinct preference for one of these styles of thinking. Some, however, are more whole-brained and equally adept at both modes. In general, schools tend to favor left-brain modes of thinking, while downplaying the right-brain ones. Left-brain scholastic subjects focus on logical thinking, analysis, and accuracy. Right-brained subjects, on the other hand, focus on aesthetics, feeling, and creativity.

Interesting stuff huh?

Leave a reply so I and others can read your thoughts!!

Niko

One word

 

I’m curious, if you summarize everything you believe into one word, what is it?

For me, it’s love.

Please share your thoughts here in my blog. I look forward to seeing what everyone has to say!

Niko

The Crazy Ones

 

Have you seen the Apple computer commercial, "The Crazy Ones"? Very moving. My favorite commercial of all time.

Are you one of the crazy ones?? Join us here…
www.thecrazyones.me

"Here’s to The Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." ~ words of the commercial

————————

They imagine. They believe. They see. They invent. They create. They explore. They inspire. Yes, they are crazy – how else could they stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?

They are so visionary that they are blind to impossibilities. They see so many solutions that they do not believe in limitations. They have “Yes” faces and “Can do” attitudes. History has shown us that the crazy ones believe so strongly in something not yet tangible that they are even willing to sacrifice their own life to see it come to pass.

What is that I ask? It’s rooted in the human spirit and it’s so deep that it’s beyond words. It’s like love. You cannot define it or contain it or quench it.

I identify with "the crazy ones", they are the ones that move me, the ones that leave an impression on me, they are my heroes. I aspire to be as them, crazy enough to believe that I can change the world.

Are you one of the crazy ones?? Join us here…
www.thecrazyones.me

Niko

P.S. Feel free to copy, forward or quote anything I have written.

People in the video, in order of appearance – Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Branson, John Lennon (with Yoko Ono), R. Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Ted Turner, Maria Callas, Mahatma Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Martha Graham, Jim Henson (with Kermit the Frog), Frank Lloyd Wright and Pablo Picasso.

Which of my songs do I enjoy most?

 

Someone wrote me today and asked, “Which of your songs do you enjoy most? Are there any that are more special because they have cost you more (emotionally) to compose them? Some that are more sentimental?

My reply:

Although I obviously feel connected to every song I’ve ever written, I am most drawn to my darker/melancholy material. Here’s a list of the songs that are deepest to me…

Shame
The Exodus
Angel Rising
The One
Put Away The Gun
The Special One

These songs can be downloaded for free here www.nikoonline.com/free-songs
For The Special One go here
www.nikoonline.com/the-special-one

Leave your thoughts about which of my songs you enjoy most. I always enjoy reading what others think and feel.

Niko

Patrick

 
Patrick Wayne Swayze
(August 18, 1952 – September 14, 2009)
 
 
Patrick Swayze
 

I always felt a connection with Patrick Swayze, perhaps part of it was that he was from Houston (very close to where I grew up). He died thsi week and I feel very sad. I won’t even begin to try to express all the thoughts and feelings I’m having. But I will say… May we enjoy each day for as special as it really is. May we live with no regrets. May we love, feel and give with all of our hearts. And may we be true to who we are and why we are here. Patrick, we will miss you, thank you for all that you gave to us, we will never forget you. Rest in peace.

I invite you to share your thoughts in honor of Patrick.

Niko

Joy TV Commercial

 

Check out the TV commercial I did for “The Joy of Sedation Dentistry”! I get tackled by a football player! It was a fun day! : )

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Did the football player really tackle you?

A. Yes. : ) 7 times actually because we did 7 takes.

Q. Did it hurt?

A. Yeap! : ) Had some bruises.

Q. Who is he?

A. Anthony Herron. He played NFL (Pro football in the USA) for the Detroit Lions.

Q. Is Joy your song?

A. Yes. 

Here are some fun photos from the set! 

Touch

 

I have been thinking about touch and how it is the most valuable of all the human senses which can be given or received. Why? Because it cannot be duplicated. Sights and sounds can be sent across the internet. Sights, sounds, smells and tastes can be sent through the mail. But touch can only be experienced face to face. An affectionate kiss, the warmth of a hand, the comfort of a loving hug – these cannot be duplicated. It is one of the most sacred things we will ever experience in our life and it is as precious of a commodity as time. Touch is a gift that we too often withhold and too often shun. I will look for it with more awareness and I will give it more freely.

Other thoughts on this subject…

We live in a world where touch has become more and more rare. We’re afraid of people, germs, dirt, etc. It’s a world we’ve created for ourselves. 

I was thinking, my grandfather and I have had hours and hours of talks (more in the last 10 years than before) but the amount of time we have touched is very limited…maybe 10 minutes worth of touching in the last 10 years if I total up all the hugs that occur when we meet up and all the moments when we get close for a photo. That’s absurd! It should not be like this! Even if it’s 30 minutes or if it’s one hour, one hour of touching across 10 years of time?? What lie did we buy into on that one?!?

What if when we are together with our families we held hands more? What if we kissed each other on the cheek more often and not just out of habit but actually with feeling and meaning? What if we held each other in a hug for 1 minute solid instead of the usual quick 3 seconds? I think the reason we don’t is because of pride – fear (what they will think of us) and judgment (what we think of them).


Me and my sister Angela

Today a friend told me “A few weeks ago I was at a friend’s house and we were working out. We were both sweaty and her daughter woke up and came in a saw me and ran up and gave me a huge hug. She did not even pay any attention to the sweat, she did what she felt in that moment. When and why do we lose that!?” We have become so afraid of what people think, it controls our actions. And we have all these cultural codes. All of this makes life more and more sterile and as a result we feel less and less alive, we slowly die inside, our once warm beating hearts become like dry cold stones. 


Me and my brother Costa

The good news is that we have the power to change things in our life and if we are breathing then we have the gift of touch. I plan to use that gift more often than ever before.

Please share your thoughts here in my blog, I always enjoy reading them! Also, feel free to copy, forward or quote anything I have written.

Niko

What do you hate NOT doing?

 

We’ve all asked ourselves, “What do I really love?” or “What makes me happy?” But I was recently asked “What do you hate NOT doing?” I like that! It’s a great way to find out what you LOVE doing!  

What makes you feel dissatisfied, unhappy, irritated, annoyed or off-track if you are not doing it?

What do I hate NOT doing? These were some of my personal answers… 

I hate not working out / exercising.

To say I don’t have time to exercise is just stupid because the honest truth is that I don’t NOT have time to exercise. I say that because exercising is TOO important. If I lose my health then what good are so many other things? What good is a great job, a profitable company, a beautiful family – what good are these things to me if I am unhealthy and sick and if I die young simply because I did not take good care of myself. Exercise has so many benefits – energy, longevity, physical appearance, etc.

I hate not working on music.

When I get too busy with working and with “things” and do not work on music, it saddens my soul, it grieves my being. Conclusion? Don’t work on music and slowly become a miserable human being. Or, work on music and be a happy human being. Simple as that. Why is it so black and white for me? Because music is not just something I do, it’s who I am. That’s why. It is not a thing, it’s alive. For me, ignoring music is the equivalent of a man ignoring his wife that he loves with his blood. Why would a man ever do that? It can only be because he has believed a lie, he has somehow become terribly jaded. So, I have to protect myself from all the distractions/lies that take me away from my music that I love with my blood.

I hate not travelling.

When I don’t travel I feel like I’m missing out on one of the most important things in my life. Why? I feel the world in my being and have a need to be in the world. I’m not talking about taking a vacation. I’m talking about being in a place and really BEING THERE. Feeling the people, taking in the landscape, eating the food, listening to the music and  language, watching the way people drive and interact and think and speak and act. Soaking up the culture as a whole. I’m the kind of person who will visit one place and stay there for weeks and absorb everything I can. It’s a deep and intense experience for me. It always changes me. It’s broadens my perspective. It reveals mysteries to me. It inspires me – to write, to compose, to travel more, to open up my mind… to live, to love.

I hate not living closer to the people I love – family and friends.

The solution? I suppose it was mentioned in the previous paragraph, I need to travel more! : ) I need to go and see them all more often, meet up more often, create more memories with them, show them how much I love them, let them love me back.

I hate not living closer to water / being closer to water more often.

I live in mountainous area. And it’s beautiful but there is nothing to me like being near the ocean. It does something for me that I should not even try to explain. The solution? Well, I could move, sure, but I don’t feel that that is what I am suppose to do at this particular time in my life, so that means I need to…. you guessed it TRAVEL! : ) Boy, it seems that NOT travelling can  have a serious negative domino effect on my life. I better keep a very close on this or else I will one day find myself filled with regret. Nope, I’m not gonna let that happen, I bet you that!

I hate not writing. 

For this answer, I’m going to quote the man who asked me this question to start with, Derek Sivers, “There are so many things I’ve learned that I think would help other people. Things I wish someone had told me sooner. Things that have made my life better, brighter, or wiser. I want to tell everyone these things before I die, in a well-explained way so they’re not misunderstood, and easy to pass on to others. And more new ones are added every week. So I have to keep writing to get them all out. Any day I’m not writing, I’m falling further behind in this goal, which I makes me feel worse.”

The good news…

I’m working on changing all these things in my life. What good would it do me to think about them in such detail and write about them and then not have a plan in motion to change them? I have a plan and am carrying it out RIGHT NOW, not tomorrow, TODAY. Today is what I have, THIS moment.

Asking the double-negative seems to be a better indicator of what I really love doing, than asking it in the positive.

Now, I’m curious, tell me some of the things you hate not doing. Share your thoughts here in my blog, I always enjoy reading them!
 

Niko

P.S. Feel free to copy, forward or quote anything I have written. : )

Vice

 

ICE CREAM!!!!!!!!!!!! : )~

 

We all have a vice right? Well, mine is ice cream! : )~ I loooooove ice cream!

One of my favorite flavors is “Peanut Butter 'n Chocolate” from a place called Baskin Robbins.

What’s your favorite ice cream?

Leave your comments here in my blog! I Look forward to reading them! : )

Niko
P.S. I also love Cherry, Strawberry, several flavors by Ben and Jerry! The list is long!

  

I’ve learned that

 

   Maya Angelou said this and I agree with her…

      

   I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today,

   life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

 

   I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he / 

   she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and

   tangled Christmas tree lights.

 

   I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents,

   you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.

 

   I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life.

 

   I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

 

   I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on

   both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back.

 

   I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart,

   I usually make the right decision.

 

   I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.

 

   I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.

   People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

 

   I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

 

   I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will

   forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them

   feel.

 

Birthday

 

It’s my birthday! August 21st!

I’m not one of those people who waits to see who will remember my birthday, nope, I’m the guy who shouts from the highest rooftop "It’s my birthday, it’s my birthday don’t forget me!"

If you wanna send me wishes, please write them here in my blog, I’ll be stopping by to read them! : )  

Niko

Focus on change

 

In light of the idea of having a plan (written of in the last blog entry I posted), I was thinking today…

I am going to write down everything that I don’t like about my life.

I am then going to make a list of all the things that are within my power to change.

I am then going to put them into one of five columns:
Today  |  3 months  |  6 months  |  12 months  |  Beyond

The goal is to take all the many things floating around in my soul and put them into a clear and concise document so that I can look at it all in one glance. Then I will put my plan into motion. I will begin making all the changes. And I will not stop until they are all done which of course means it will be a life long journey. But most of the things will probably fall into the Today to 12 months columns which means that by this time next year I will be quite a different man sitting in this chair. And the key is to keep it up, anytime I find something enter my life that I do not like, if it’s something I have the power to change then I will take immediate action to change it.

I would like to invite you to do the same. Sit down and make your list. Life is too short and too precious to live it with a bunch of unnecessary things weighing us down and holding us back. It’s up to us, we are our own best friend or our own worst enemy. So let’s not focus another second on negative feelings about the things in our life we don’t like, let’s focus on CHANGE starting RIGHT NOW.

This is about taking control. It’s about not letting circumstance dictate to us who and what we are going to be and do. It’s about defying that which defies us. It’s about being wise. It’s about being a person of action.

I will close this thought with something we have probably all read at some point, it’s simple but so true…
 
The Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Here is a template I have put together for filling in details about things you want to change in your life. You will need Microsoft Word or Word Pad (which comes with every computer that has Windows) to open this file.

RIGHT CLICK and choose Save Target As CHANGE.dot

What is life about?

 

For quite some time now I’ve been asking myself the question: What is life about? I know it’s a big question and can bring about some big answers, my big answer in one word is LOVE, my simple answer in a few words is happiness. It seems that in everything we do, in some way shape or form we are seeking after happiness.

Let me give you some examples of why I have chosen happiness: We want to be loved because it makes us happy. We give love because we know that it makes others happy. We want the right job/career because it makes us happy. We enjoy eating certain foods because they make us happy. We exercise and take care of ourselves because it makes us feel and look better which makes us happy. We listen to certain music because it makes us happy. We enjoy our pets because they make us happy! We give because it makes us happy to know that our gift has made someone else happy! We want to be with our friends and they want to be with us because it makes us all happy! The list goes on and on. It seems that all that we do is somehow in pursuit of happiness.

I would like to know what you think. Just click the “comment” button and share your thoughts. I look forward to this because I just know there’s gonna be some real interesting responses from all of you around the world!   ~ Niko

The Exodus (music video)

 

Viewing / Downloading Options

Click on the file name to download

THE EXODUS (High 102MBs) I HIGHLY SUGGEST THIS FILE FOR THE BEST VIEWING EXPERIENCE!
The Exodus (Med 42MBs)
The Exodus (Low 15MBs)
The Exodus song (free downloadable mp3)

THE EXODUS
A Story of Current Events

I recently returned from one of the most amazing journeys of my life! I was in Egypt and Greece. While in Cairo, I made an effort to go to the pyramids to film. It was an adventure getting there, riding a horse full speed across the desert while looking at 5,000 year old pyramids in the distance, I'll never forget that moment!

When my friends and I arrived at the location, my thoughts were simply to film myself singing through a few of my songs. My goal was to get 30 seconds of good footage that would be used for a promotion. So for an hour, I filmed. The Great Pyramids were in the background and every now and then camels and horses would walk by, it was perfect! Totally unplanned, totally unrehearsed. No special lights or gear, no film crew, just a simple hand held camera and lots of passion! Every now and then people would stop at the top of the hill to look at a madman in the desert who was singing his songs with no music being played (I had in-ear headphones pumping the music to me so I could synchronize my mouth and motions to each song).

When I got back to my hotel room and looked at the footage I was in awe! I suddenly began to realize that without thinking about it I had actually just filmed the music video for The Exodus! I was flying to Greece the next day so I decided I would go to the Acropolis in Athens and film there too. Both Egypt and Greece are important to the true story that inspired the birth of The Exodus.

I completed the video edit yesterday and amazingly the headlines in the news were about “the exodus” that is literally taking place in Egypt right now! I don't take this lightly. And also on the same day, the Greek Prime Minister made the first official visit to Turkey in 50 years! All of these things are important to me. You see, my Greek family fled for their lives from Turkey in the early 1900’s because of war, they left behind homes, businesses, everything. So for Greece to be seeking “…permanent improvement in relations…” with Turkey means much to me and to countless others! Then during WWII, my family once again fled for their lives, this time it was into the deserts of Egypt where they lived as refugees for several years. The timing of the completion of The Exodus and all these current events just amazes me.

For years I have known that God has been preparing me to go to nations to deliver a message of hope and love to their people and leaders, to sing a song that they can feel and connect with. I went to Egypt for no other reason than because I felt it in my heart to go, and after the decision was made and the ticket was booked that is when things began to unfold and happen. First, an invitation to sing on a national radio show, then in a moment of inspiration a few hours before I was leaving Cairo I shot the footage that has now became the music video of The Exodus! The same was true in Greece, after decided to go, it was then that I was invited for an interview on a national radio show and then as a result of the show I ended up doing my first live performance in Athens and also had the opprotunity to film footage at the Acropolis! Imagine having several dreams all come to pass in 48 hours. It was magical, I felt like time stood still. I feel very guided and that my trip had a purpose that cannot be put into words.

The Exodus is about pain, loss and persecution but it is also about resolution and a wish to live. The Exodus is the story of current events. This video is RIGHT ON TIME. There's nothing "slick" about this music video, it's raw and passionate. There are no words in The Exodus, only expressions and cries of deep feelings and emotions. Someone said to me today, "If a picture paints a thousand words then The Exodus paints a thousand languages." The Exodus is a story of HUMANITY and it speaks in an unknown tongue understood by all. ~ Niko

My team and I feel very strongly about this video. If it moves you, please help us spread the word about it by sharing this page with your friends and family. Help us take it around the world, we can't do it with out you! Thanks!!!

  

PODCAST

Below is the high resolution "Podcast" version (42 MBs) – you have three options…

1. SUBSCRIBE TO MY PODCAST on iTunes! and receive it that way. To learn about podcasts, click here!

2. Download it (right click on "Download" then choose "Save Target As" or Save Link as")

3. View it here (click the big play button, let it buffer, then click the play button at the bottom left corner of the player)
 

 

My fight against domestic violence

 

Someone wrote me yesterday and said…

"Hey Niko, let’s do something about domestic violence/abuse. Anything, please."

I decided to share my response in my blog…

I already am. My method is perhaps not the most obvious or the most conventional and it’s certainly not the most easy for it involves being true to yourself and to do that one has to deal with truth. For most people, dealing with truth is the last thing they want to do for it is just too painful. My method is to help people find courage within themselves and hope and faith and love (for themselves and for others). My method is to help people see themselves with an image of value instead of an image of no value.  Go to my blog and read “Pursue Your Dream”, it is an excellent example of my fight against domestic violence and many other lies that we as people are living. Listen to “It’s A New Day”, “The Exodus”, “Love”, “Aliesha Shine”, “The Special One”, “My Son” all of these songs are my fight against domestic violence.

But people have to want it, I mean really want it, I mean REALLY want it! What is “it”? TRUTH. At all costs. And most people are not willing to do this. For that person, I can do nothing. Everyone has a free will and everyone has the right and capacity to walk in truth. For the person who wants it, I am here to provoke them and encourage them and inspire them with songs, with words, and best of all with example and action! Just yesterday a woman from Greece wrote to tell me she has started being true to herself and has now started a new life (away from a man that was hurting her).

I am not the one who discovered the principle and power of being true to yourself, I am just someone on this planet on October 17th, 2007 11:45AM CST who is loudly speaking of it, shouting it from the top of the tallest mountain! A mountain called the Internet where you can communicate with a global audience from your bedroom. I am a Warrior of the New Millennium. I embrace my calling and I embrace technology – I have put the two together and the outcome has been thousands of messages pouring in from countries around the world with people saying that their lives have been touched and even changed.  I have no horn to toot, except to say that a tree is known by its fruit.

The ultimate answer is not in starting an organization with a catchy acronym like S.T.A.N.D. or S.T.O.P., the ultimate answer is a change in the heart and that is where I put my time and energy, into helping men and women dig deep deep deep down within themselves to find an answer that is there and has been there all along.

I could give 28 steps to overcoming violence or alcoholism or (you fill in the blank) or I can just summarize 100 pages of rules and regulations into one sentence, “Extinguish every lie from your life and search for the truth and in that you will be set free.” I know, such a thing can take months and even years, and to that I say, “What are you waiting for? RIGHT NOW is the perfect moment to begin!” Those who want it bad enough, WILL find it. Those who only complain and give excuses about their situation, will not find freedom (no matter how many steps you give them).

I leave you with this final thought, “Lies are not eternal, only the truth is eternal.”

Niko

Pursue Your Dream (Part I)

 

 

The writings I share with you are born out of my personal journey and experiences. My hope is that you will somehow find encouragement in what I share, that it will inspire you to… Pursue Your Dream! ~ Niko

Pursue Your Dream

I encourage you to pursue your dream. Each of us has a free will and the capacity and power to follow after our dream. Most don’t because it usually comes at such a high cost. For some, it has even cost them their lives. But what is life if one does not pursue their God given dream? That unquenchable thing that burns deep within you? I would rather die in pursuit of my passion than to exist in this life doing something that makes me feel miserable and incomplete.

My Personal Journey
Pursuing my dream has required me to remain single thus far. It has required me to make choices about material possessions vs. investing in my dream. It has required just about every single waking minute of the past 11 years of my life and literally hundreds of sleepless nights. It has brought me to my knees weeping on many occasions, crying out to God for strength, courage, patience and wisdom. It has required me to venture into the unknown. To move to places I had never been, starting fresh and new. It has required faith to move mountains, hope to believe for the impossible, humility of a child, a willingness to be teachable to change many things about my perspective and my life – from my diet and social life to my spirituality. It has required me to learn many new skills, some of which have taken years to master and some of which will take many more. It has required me to hold on even when people around me thought I was wrong and even crazy. It has often times required me to disregard my present circumstances and to keep on believing even in the face of absolute contradiction.

Destiny
Pursing your dream is to pursue your passion which is to pursue your destiny! To achieve your destiny is to fulfill your purpose for being here. To fulfill your purpose is to honor God and God’s hope for your life. To honor God with your life each day is the noblest thing you can do, it is the highest form of worship and reverence you can give.

Motivated by Love
One’s dream should always be motivated by love. Anything less, is tainted with selfishness and is not pure. There are no exceptions. To pursue a dream that is rooted in selfishness is not a “true” dream, and the end result will not bring contentment and fulfillment in your life. It will leave you wanting, with a feeling of emptiness. A true dream is a dream that God has placed inside of you, such a dream is always pure and perfect. It is directly linked to the way you are wired, the way you tick, the way your mind works, your personality type, it is linked to the time of the year you were born and even the day, the minute and the second! It is linked to the unique set of gifts that are in you.

And we all have this – we all have a dream inside, we all have a unique set of gifts, we all have a purpose and a destiny. We all have the capacity to walk in love and to live a daily life of thought and action that is based in love. We all can pursue our dream. The only person who can stop you is you. You are your worst enemy. But the good news is that you are also your best friend! You possess the power to be one or the other, you decide in each moment.

Each Day
We are confronted with lies, fear, control and manipulation on a daily basis. That is why each day we must renew our hearts and minds of the truth – that we have a free will and that we can pursue our dream, that we are gifted and unique, and that we can walk in love and fulfill our destiny. It does not happen on its own though. It requires letting go – of pride, selfish desires, judgment, prejudice… It requires forgiving those who have done us wrong, a willingness to give, a willingness to be accountable for our actions, a willingness to seek the heart of God.

Giving
Your dream will always be linked to giving in some shape or form for giving is what life is all about. It is not money that makes the world go round, my friend, it is giving! Who paid for the sun to shine today? And for the oxygen in the air? These are gifts. Take giving out of the equation of life and everything would cease to exist. A mother gives to her newborn or else it could not survive, a father gives to his son by preparing him for manhood so that he will not become a fool and a thief, a friend gives to a friend to lift them up and bless them, a stranger gives to a beggar out of compassion because in their heart they know it could just as well be them on the cold street with no home or food. God gives us seasons and the laws of nature so that food will grow and so that everything can survive and flourish.

And take a moment to look at the intricate details of your hand, the way it works, your fingers and all the joints that move to grab and hold things and how it is all linked to your brain so that you can control it, a masterfully designed gift from God! Who among us paid money for our eyes and ears? Something we cannot even put a price tag on was GIVEN to us while we were in our mother’s womb! Before we could ever even think to work to earn them!  A gift! In this manner, our true dream will always be linked to giving.

That does not mean your dream will not bring you wealth, in many cases one’s dream will in fact bring great wealth but you should always remember that great wealth is not for you to hoard up, it is given to you so that you can give to others, so that they can in turn give to others. The film “Pay It Forward” presented such a great principle to live by, I love that film. If you haven’t seen it, watch it, it presents this whole concept of giving in the most compelling and heart touching way.

Be True To Yourself!
This is one of the core foundational principles I encourage people to live by. If you cannot be true to yourself then you will live a lie. If you live a lie then you will NEVER be happy or satisfied in life. Ask yourself, “Who am I?” If you don’t have an answer, then begin the journey of seeking and searching it out. One way to find out who you are is to first find out who you are not! Get out a piece of paper and make two columns, start narrowing it down. If it takes you a month or a year or 10, the day you find the answer will be one of the most liberating moments of your life! You will most likely discover that you are not who everyone else said you were. Everyone has their opinion and idea but what everyone else thinks means nothing! It’s YOUR life and only YOU really know the answer!

If Einstein would have listened to his teachers, he might have never discovered his genius. If the Wright Brothers would have listened to their critics, they would have never flown! If I would have taken over the family business like a good little boy then I would be managing restaurants right now instead of composing music that is being enjoyed and celebrated around the world! So, turn down the noise, get rid of all the distractions and unnecessary obligations in your life (that can be bad relationships, bad habits, etc.), find a quiet place all alone and look deep within yourself. Get face to face with the divine and it is there you will find the answer. (This writing is split into two blog entries, scroll down to read the rest of it!)

(continued in Part II below)

Thank you for all the Birthday Wishes!!! :)

 

Thank you so much for all the warm birthday wishes!!! I got emails, ecards, photos and guest book entries from so many countries around the world!!! I think I got more wishes this year than in all the past years combined! I want all of you to know I took time to read each and every one of them!

It was a great day! I feel something fresh in the air! Change! It just so happens that on the 20th, we completed our rehearsal hall, between that and all the love I felt from so many, I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday! Here are a couple of photos from the day…

As you can see, I am wearing a Rocco Deluca T-shirt. I got it last weekend at his concert here in Nashville. If you do not know him and his music, you are missing out on something REAL! He is one of the most passionate musical artists I have ever seen play live. He left me speechless. I have not been that impressed by anyone’s performance since years. I encourage you to support him. You can visit his site at www.roccodeluca.com or at www.myspace.com/roccodeluca

Aloha from Maui!

 

Aloha!

I’m writing to you this morning from the magical Hawaiian island of Maui! It was while living here that I discovered and unlocked so many amazing things – about myself, spirituality, people, friendships, music, nature…and sushi! I ate my first sushi here and have been hooked ever since! *smiling*

I came to Maui this week to rejuvenate my being and to overcome some challenges within myself. I found answers to some very important questions. I’d like to share some thoughts with you that may speak to you and encourage you…

Never lose your joy!

In all that you do – with family, friends, work, hobbies, etc., never lose your joy! If you lose your joy, then you’ll lose so much purpose and meaning in life. You’ll start to become unhappy, depressed and unpleasant to be around. Children laugh an average of 300 times a day, adults laugh an average of only 17. When and why do we become so inhibited along the journey of life?! In one of my songs, “My Son”, the verse goes, “Agility of a child, when didst thou flee? Hold me, fold me, unfold me! Jump in my soul and out of my bones! Innocence lost at such a foolish cost, may I once again feel you in my heart!” Seek to become childlike again! Have joy and laughter in your life, they are like medicine! I’ll post a separate blog entry after this one of an interesting article I recently read about the importance and benefits of laughter.

Don’t sweat the small stuff!

Life is filled with important things that truly need your attention, so don’t sweat the small stuff. You only have so much time and energy in each day, be wise and productive in how you spend it. Don’t waste your time with insignificant and meaningless things. For me, it’s something as simple as checking my email too many times each day. It’s being too much of a perfectionist about things that are not really that important. It’s worrying about things I have no control over. It’s trying to please everyone when in fact sometimes you’ve just got to do what you know you’ve got to do! It’s fearing being misunderstood and misjudged. It’s caring about what others think in situations where what others think doesn’t matter at all! It’s being upset about a mistake when in fact I should just smile at my mistake and learn from it. It’s have a check bounce. It’s having someone hack into my myspace account and send out advertisements for porn with my name signed at the bottom. It’s accidentally getting a scratch on a new guitar or a dent in my car, it doesn’t really matter because every material thing on this planet is eventually going to turn to dust anyway! It’s having a delayed flight or being stuck in traffic and being late for a meeting. It is what it is and it’s out of my control so I might as well relax and just BE! I should just enjoy the moment, turn on some music and chill or strategize a business plan or…I should do anything while sitting in that traffic except be upset and frustrated about it. There are plenty of other things in life for us to sweat about, so, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Let go.

Realize and accept that some things are out of your control. Just let go. Do your best, your absolute best, be prudent and then let go. Carrie Underwood released a song titled, “Jesus Take The Wheel”, it was a hit because people identified with the idea that sometimes you just have to let go and trust a higher power. Some people say trust God, some say Allah, other’s say The Universe, whatever your faith may be, we should all practice letting go. Let go of micro-managing things that do not need to be micro-managed. Let go of worrying about things which worry will do nothing to resolve. While growing up, my pastor told me many times that 99.9 percent of the things we worry about never happen, all these years later I can say that he is right! Let go of trying to figure everything out, there are parts of life that as a flower they just have to unfold on their own and in their own time. Let go of all the “dead weight” in your life. A hot air balloon cannot rise into the sky until the dead weight is removed, if you’re gonna rise then let go of all the bad relationships, all the bad habits, fear, anger, anxiety, etc., this is all dead weight in your life. Let go of an image of no value, know that you are beautiful and special and unique. Let go of all the lies you have been told – about yourself, about others (especially others with a different skin color or different culture), about the career path you are “supposed” to be on, about God. For example, I once saw God in quite a small box, I had to let go of some old mindsets to realize and experience a God so limitless and beautiful that words cannot begin to tell.

I would like to say that I have not mastered these things, quite to the contrary. Writing them out and sharing them with you will help me achieve them. I will read what I have written many time over the next few weeks and I will let these words provoke me – to grow, to mature, to be childlike, to be patient, to walk in love and freedom and peace. ~ Niko

 

Cast The Vision

 

Our vision is to spread a message of hope and love to the world through the art of music. It is why we were born and it is what drives us each and every day to give all.

Our hope is that as we cast our vision to others, they will rise up and join with us to help take our music and its message across every continent. We are not concerned about one’s skin color, religious faith or political views. We are minstrels, messengers, warriors of light.

Each person who reads this has the power to help and to be part of the vision. How? Take a few minutes to listen to our songs, if they touch you, share them with others. “Play it forward”. It’s that simple. Email the mp3’s to your friends, burn a CD and give it to someone you think will appreciate it, share our web address NikoOnline.com with as many people as possible, that’s how it happens. One tells another who tells another…and the next thing you know it will spread across each continent. We do not seek fame or glory or power or riches, we seek purpose and destiny, we seek to make a positive difference in this world.

People everywhere are showing us that it is possible for our music to spread at an exponential rate simply through word of mouth. Radio and TV are no longer in control, no longer dictating what is hip and relevant, what will and will not be heard. Rules are not just being bent, they are being broken! A new genre is emerging and it’s called “UNCLASSIFIABLE”. A new breed of artists are rising up, questioning things, pioneering a fresh and new path! Artists like myself no longer have to bow down to the rules and regulations of the “industry”. Each of us make our own rules, they are called Truth, they are called Heart and Soul, they are called Inspiration, they are called Passion and Honesty, they are called Being True To One’s Self! It’s the New Millennium and its time for the Warriors of the New Millennium to rise up and BE!