drugs as medicines

Our Universe

 

You know, we get so bogged down by little things and by owning things and trying to control things… but what does it really matter at the end of our short lives on this planet? If you step back and look at the bigger picture you will realize that so much of what often consumes much of our precious energy is just so petty. In life, seek to be happy, seek flow, love, give, BE. Don’t worry about this and that. Open up your heart and mind. Let go of all that weighs you down and holds you back and then take hold of that which lifts you up and propels you forward.
 
Niko

Niko’s Life Salad Especial

 

Today’s lunch…

 

"Niko’s Life Salad Especial"

Filled with all the good stuff including organic leafy greens, assortment of olives from around the world, tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, red bell pepper, sun dried tomatoes, a clove of garlic and then doused with an ounce of Naked fruit juice……Yum yum good!

Niko

Tips for Healthy and Positive Living

 

Here’s a great list I got in an email of things to practice on a daily basis for healthy and positive living…

Health: 

  1. Drink plenty of water.
  2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
  3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  4. Live with the 3 E’s – Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
  5. Make time to pray.
  6. Play more games.
  7. Read more books than you did the year before.
  8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  9. Sleep for 7 hours.
  10. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

Personality: 

  1. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  2. Don’t have negative thoughts or be anxious about things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  3. Don’t overdo it. Keep your limits.
  4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  5. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
  6. Dream more while you are awake.
  7. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  8. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner about his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
  9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
  10. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
  11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  13. Smile and laugh more.
  14. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Society:

  1. Call your family often.
  2. Each day give something good to others.
  3. Forgive everyone for everything.
  4. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
  5. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  6. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  7. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

Life:

  1. Do the right thing!
  2. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  3. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  4. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  5. The best is yet to come.
  6. When you awake alive in the morning, thank God for it.
  7. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Leave your thoughts.

Niko

346 days from now

 

 
What if you knew that in exactly 346 days from now you were going to die, how would it affect you? What could you do differently about the way you life your life today and for the next 345 days to follow?

Share your thoughts here in my blog.

Niko

Perfect Health

 

Someone forwarded this to me, thought I would pass it along…
 
What Is Perfect Health?

Health isn’t merely the absence of disease or symptoms; it is a higher state of consciousness that allows well-being, creativity, and joy to flow into our experience. We are healthy when we’re able to fully digest everything we take in, extracting what is nourishing and eliminating whatever doesn’t serve us. This includes our food, our relationships, our jobs, and all our life experiences. Illness, in contrast, develops when there is a disruption ― a blockage in the flow of energy and information. Symptoms and sickness are the body’s signal that we need to restore balance, eliminate whatever is causing the blockages, and reestablish the healthy flow of intelligence.
 
One of most powerful ways we can influence our health is through our choices and interpretations . . . the food we choose, the relationships we engage in, the sensory input we expose ourselves to, and the daily patterns and rhythms of our life.

Timeless Healing Principles

By listening to our body and honoring its needs, we nurture our innate healing ability and move closer to experiencing a state of perfect health…

   1. Take time each day to quiet your mind and meditate.
   2. Each day eat a healthy diet that includes a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
   3. Engage in daily exercise that enhances flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular fitness.
   4. Follow a restful sleep routine.
   5. Let go of whatever isn’t serving you, including stored emotional pain.
   6. Cultivate loving relationships.
   7. Find your unique gifts and talents and use them to serve others.

As you nurture yourself and practice the tools of spiritual awakening, you will open your heart to ever expanding levels of fulfillment. Even when you are surrounded by chaos, face a health challenge, or find yourself on a financial “detour,” you will discover that you can transcend outworn assumptions and create a life filled with wellbeing, happiness, and love.
 
————————————————————————————————————————-
 
Leave your thoughts here in my blog.

Share this with others you feel it can benefit.
 
Niko

Safety Tips

 

I got these in an email, thought I’d pass them along…

Safety Tips To Protect You Against Predators
 
1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do.
 
2. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, do not hand it to him. Toss it away from you… Chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and / or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. Run in the other direction.
 
3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won’t see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.
 
4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.) Don’t do this. This can give a predator the perfect opportunity to get in on the passenger side of your car. As soon as you get into your car, leave. If someone is in the car, do not drive off. Instead, gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your air bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run.
 
5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:
 
Be aware: Look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
 
If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most predator attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
 
Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side… If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. Be wise. Be safe.
 
6. Always take the elevator instead of the stairs. Stairwells are a common crime spot.
 
7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, always run. The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; and even then, it most likely will not be a vital organ. Run, preferably in a zig -zag pattern.
 
————————————————————————–
 
If you have some safety tips to share, leave them here in my blog.
 
Pass these tips on to others.
 
Niko

Anyway

 

Anyway

What Mother Teresa had to say…

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

————————————————————————————-

Share your thoughts here in my blog.  

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

The Ultimate Meal

 

I’ve been using The Ultimate Meal every day for 5 years. It is a super high quality meal replacement powder. Note: I do not work for the company. I have written this blog entry simply becasue I want others to know about this great product.

It’s 100% Vegan, Mostly Organic, and High Raw. I recommend reading through the entire website about it (Check out the FAQ, too).

Great for weight loss – The Ultimate Meal is great for helping people lose weight, it will help you stay "full" up to 6-hours after drinking it. Many people enjoy it for breakfast and lunch or breakfast and dinner. Some have it for all of their meals on some days.

Great pre / post workout shake – Great for before or after a heavy duty workout. It’s filled with carbs from the fruit, protein, and nutrients – lots of fuel for your muscles!

Convenient and travel worthy
– It’s fast and easy to make. I love that I can take this with me when I’m traveling. It’s important to make sure I’m still packing my body with nutrients when I’m not at home.

So, how does it taste? I’m totally down with it! It’s good.

I took some photos for you to see how I make mine on most days – 2/3 of a banana, 4 strawberries, a handful of blueberries, handful of assorted nuts, soy milk or almond milk, one scoop of The Ultimate Meal – then I blend it…


You can purchase it from Amazon at the best price you will find on the internet!

 

INGREDIENTS & BENEFITS IN 1 SCOOP (40 G)
(MINIMUM SUGGESTED DAILY USAGE – 80 GRAMS)

1 & 2 THE ULTIMATE QUINOA® & THE ULTIMATE MILLET®:
Pronounced "keenwa," these are THE ultimate superseed/grains on Earth. Ultimate Life developed them over two and five years (respectively) exclusively for THE ULTIMATE MEAL®. They are the first and only PROPERLY sprouted seed/grains to offer ALL of the following, using NO heat from beginning to end:
CERTIFIED ORGANIC: Grown and processed without pesticides or chemicals.
PROPERLY SPROUTED: Greatly improves the amino-acid profile and substantially increases enzymatic activity, thus the assimilation of nutrients.
COLD-PASTEURIZED (not irradiated): Prevents high bacteria counts.
FRESH FREEZE-DRIED: The ONLY DEFINITIVE method to retain enzymes.
COLD-MILLED: To retain enzymes and increase assimilation of nutrients.
THE ULTIMATE QUINOA® & MILLET® are superb sources of complete protein, lysine, complex carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, etc.

3 BROWN RICE PROTEIN 70% CONCENTRATE (Belgium):
One of the most potent sources of easily digestible complete protein. Very low in fat and allergenicity. Good source of tryptophan, methionine, magnesium, potassium, pantothenic acid, vitamins E and B complex.

4 YELLOW PEA PROTEIN 84% ISOLATE (GMO-FREE) (Canada):
This legume (superior alternative to soy protein) is the perfect partner to the rice protein for an improved amino acid profile. Contains all eight essential amino acids and is especially high in lysine.

5 CERTIFIED ORGANIC RAW FLAX SEED MEAL (Canada):
The ultimate, because the long cool days in
North Canada increase the level of essential Omega fatty acids and lignans (the most potent source on Earth – period!). It is cold-milled directly into light-proof vacuum-packed pouches to preserve freshness and prevent rancidity. Also a great source of gentle, natural fiber and protein.

6 CERTIFIED ORGANIC EARTHRISETM & SPIRULINA PACIFICATM: 2,000 mg
The original ultimate superfood. Very efficiently assimilated. The most potent source of complete protein, lysine, beta-carotene and chlorophyll on Earth. Rich in B complex (including human-active B-12), potassium, DNA, GLA (gamma linolenic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), phosphorus, copper, chromium and trace elements. (Earthrise from
USA; Pacifica from Hawaii)

7 DE-OILED LECITHIN (GMO-FREE) (USA): 1,500 mg
Guaranteed to contain 97% phospholipids. Our vegetarian lecithin is derived from soy, yet due to the absence of its fiber and protein, it rarely causes allergies. Rich in choline, inositol, phosphorus and linoleic acid.

8 THE ULTIMATE BROCCOLI® (USA): 500 MG
The ultimate cruciferous vegetable created exactly as THE ULTIMATE QUINOA®. High in enzymes, beta-carotene, chlorophyll, sulphurophane, and sulfur indoles (including MSM), calcium and potasium.

9 VITAMIN ESTER C® (BUFFERED W/CAL. & MAG.) (USA): 500 mg
Human studies have shown that this anti-oxidant is far more potent, acts much faster and remains in the bloodstream far longer without acidity or stomach upset than any other form of vitamin C.

10 CALCIUM MALATE & CITRATE (22%) (USA): 250 mg
Calcium is the most predominant mineral in the human body. It helps prevent osteoporosis, heart disease and menopause problems. Calcium malate is produced exclusively for THE ULTIMATE LIFE®.

11 WILDCRAFTED FRESH FREEZE-DRIED HORSETAIL (USA): 400 mg
This herb, unrelated to horses (except in appearance), is 10 times more potent than the fresh plant. Harvested in the spring and produced exclusively for THE ULTIMATE LIFE® by Eclectic InstituteTM, it is the most potent consumable source of silica, which is a primary constituent in bones, hair, skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, hair, nails, and collagen.

12 NATURAL VITAMIN E SUCCINATE (NON-GMO) (Germany): 300 i.u.
At 1210 i.u./gm , this is one of the best anti-oxidants in its most potent form. Derived from soy, yet due to the absence of its fiber and protein, it rarely causes allergies. It has at least 36% higher biological activity than synthetic vitamin E.

13 CITRUS BIOFLAVONOID COMPLEX (50%) (USA): 200 mg
Derived from citrus fruits, these are highly water soluble natural anti-oxidants which increase the absorption of vitamin C and help keep collagen in healthy condition. Good source of rutin, hesperidin, etc.

14 MAGNESIUM CITRATE (15.5%) (USA): 115 mg
The other major mineral essential for strong, healthy bones and teeth. It also helps regulate the body’s energy levels, as well as maintain normal heart function and nerve transmission. The ideal catalyst for calcium.

15 WILDCRAFTED FRESH FREEZE-DRIED NETTLES (USA): 100 mg
This herb, also harvested in the spring by Eclectic InstituteTM, is 10 times more potent than the fresh plant and is one of the best sources of natural iron, silicon, chlorophyll and acetylcholine. Excellent catalyst for Horsetail.

16 OPTI-PURETM GINKGO BILOBA EXTRACT (Japan): 20 mg
This is the purest and most potent ginkgo extract with a minimum of 24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones (active ingredients). It is one of the finest anti-oxidants available.

17 OPTI-PURETM CO-ENZYME Q10 (Japan): 20 mg
Derived from raw cane or beet sugar, this pure and potent organic compound anti-oxidant is known to benefit the heart and the body’s cellular energy production WITHOUT being a stimulant.

18 OPTI-PURETM GRAPE SEED EXTRACT (Japan): 20 mg
This is one of our ultimate anti-oxidants, extracted with water and ethyl alcohol instead of solvents. Studies have shown that it is FAR more potent than vitamins C, E and beta-carotene.

19 OPTI-PURETM ALPHA LIPOIC ACID (95%) (Japan): 20 mg
This unique anti-oxidant has an essential role in cellular energy production and helps the body recycle and renew Co-Q10 and vitamins C and E.

20 OPTI-PURETM CAFFEINE-FREE GREEN TEA EXTRACT (Japan): 20 mg
This anti-oxidant is the most potent (1200:1) source of catechins at 95%, 50% of which are comprised of EGCg (Epi-Gallo-Catechin gallate) the most beneficial member in the catechin family.

21 OPTI-PURETM MILK THISTLE EXTRACT (80%) (China): 20 mg
A relative of the artichoke, this anti-oxidant herb extract, standardized at minimum 80% potency, helps significantly in detoxifying the liver.

22P STEVIOSIDE (China): 20 mg
This dietary supplement is extracted from the Stevia leaf (without aftertaste) which is completely safe for ALL sugar-related problems.

23 L-OPTIZINC® (USA): 5 mg
Also known as zinc monomethionine. Proven in human studies to be the most potent and bioavailable NATURAL anti-oxidant zinc on earth.

24 CHROMEMATE® (USA): 100 mcg
Also known as chromium polynicotinate (not picolinate), this anti-oxidant trace mineral is the most potent source of biologically active chromium. It helps with insulin production and protein synthesis.

25 NATURAL SELENIUM (USA): 100 mcg
Also known as L-selenomethionine. This yeast-free, natural trace mineral is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants available.

NO GIMMICKS . . . JUST THE ULTIMATE INGREDIENTS

BASIC BREAKDOWN  

THE ULTIMATE MEAL®
… w/APPLE-BANANA
Serv. Size (1 scp) 40 g
……….. 16-20 oz
Calories ………. 170
……………. 350
Protein ………. 16 g
…………. 17.5 g
Carbohydrates …. 20 g
…………… 60 g
Fiber …………7.5 g
……………. 9 g
Fat …………… 4 g
……………. 5 g
Sodium ………. 95 mg
………….. 97 mg
Potassium …… 175 mg
…………. 780 mg
Calcium …….. 300 mg
…………. 320 mg
Magnesium …… 175 mg
…………..225 mg
Beta-carotene 5,000 IU
……….. 5,200 IU
Vitamin B12 …. 15 mcg
…………. 15 mcg
Folic Acid …. 125 mcg
………… 125 mcg
Iron …………. 4 mg
…………. 4.5 mg
Choline ………300 mg
…………. 300 mg
Omega 3 …….. 770 mg
…………. 770 mg
Omega 6 …….. 350 mg
…………. 350 mg

MORE INFORMATION ON CAN LABEL

CERTIFIED ORGANIC INGREDIENTS GROWN & PROCESSED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CALIFORNIA ORGANIC FOODS ACT OF 1

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

 

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.

Good Reminders!

 

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of Cleveland, Ohio

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:   

  1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

  2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

  3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

  4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

  5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

  6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

  7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

  8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

  9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

  10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

  11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

  12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

  13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

  14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

  15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

  16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

  17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

  18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

  19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

  20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

  21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

  22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

  23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

  24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

  25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

  26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’

  27. Always choose life.

  28. Forgive everyone of everything.

  29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

  30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

  31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

  32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

  33. Believe in miracles.

  34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

  35. Don’t audit life.. Show up and make the most of it now.

  36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

  37. Your children get only one childhood.

  38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

  39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

  40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

  41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

  42. The best is yet to come…

  43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

  44. Yield.

  45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”

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

3 Principles To Live By

 
   I would like to ask you for your advice.
 
   From your experience in life, share 3 principles you feel we should all live by.
 
   Post them here in my blog so that others can see them and learn from them too!
 
   Niko

 

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. : )

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.

 

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

Why I have no goals

 

I got a email from a guy named Roy H. Williams about “goals” vs. “plans”, I feel his words are very insightful and I wanted to share them with you! ~ Niko
 
Why I Have No Goals

 
“Goal,” in my experience, is a favorite word of people who talk and dream and dream and talk. And then they get together to “network” with other talkers. There’s always a lot of noise in these meetings but it’s unlikely that anything of consequence is going to happen. People who chatter about goals are rarely willing to die on that mountain.
 
I have no goals. But I do have plans.
 
A plan puts you in motion toward a destination. The destination you choose is irrelevant. It is (1.) motion, (2.) determination and (3.) commitment that separate destination-reaching explorers from goal-setting chipmunks.

Count the cost, explorer. “Am I willing to die on this mountain?”

A goal without a plan is wishful thinking.
A plan without action is self-delusion.
 
Here are three questions I’d like to ask:
 
1. What are you trying to make happen?
2. How will you measure success?
3. What’s the first thing you need to do to get started?

 

21 great principles to live by

 

Got this in my email box today, 21 great principles to live by! Niko

1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

2. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

3. Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

4. When you say, "I love you," mean it.

5. When you say, "I’m sorry," look the person in the eye.

6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

7. Believe in love at first sight.

8. Never laugh at anyone’s dreams. People who don’t have dreams don’t have much.

9. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it’s the only way to live life completely.

10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

11. Don’t judge people by their relatives.

12. Talk slowly but think quickly.

13. When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"

14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

15. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.

16. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

17. Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

18. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

19. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

20. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

21. Spend some time alone.

40 Ways To Stay Fit

 

I try to live a healthy lifestyle and encourage others to do the same. Here are 40 great fitness tips that were passed on to me that I’d like to share with you…

40 Ways To Stay Fit

WEIGHT TRAINING:

1)     Lift Weights: Adding muscle to your frame enables your body to speed up its metabolism. You will burn an additional 35-50 calories per day from every pound of new muscle you develop.

2)     Limit Rest Periods: Limit rest periods to 59 seconds to add a calorie-burning element to your weight training. This has been shown to increase calorie burn by 50%.

3)     Mix It Up: Try to make incremental increases to your weights, try new exercises, shorten rest periods, switch from barbells to dumbbells… anything to keep your body guessing. After just a few weeks, your muscles will have adapted to your exercises and will crave something new.

4)     Train Heavy: Pushing your muscles beyond what they’re currently trained to overcome forces them to adapt and regenerate themselves so they’re ready for the next workout. This will also help rev your metabolism.

5)     Rest and Recovery: The real gains occur during rest. Try to get eight hours of sleep each night to allow your muscles to recover, which ups your calorie-burning potential.

6)     Don’t Over Train: Allow a few days before working the same muscle groups again. This will prevent overtraining which can cause your muscles to be dissolved.

7)     Add Weights For Your Abs: Use weights that allow you to get 15 reps per set, and allow only 30 seconds between sets. You should also slow the pace down to 3 seconds per rep.

8)      Keep A Training Log: Record your workouts, sets and reps each session, then refer to the data to assess your progress and set new goals.

9)     Supersets: To help amp up your calorie burn between sets- and accomplish more in less time- incorporate supersets or drop sets to your workout.  (Superset: When one exercise immediately follows another without any rest in between)                                                                                                                                              

10)   Compound Movements: Build your workout around multi-joint movements like presses, rows and squats to recruit the most muscle fiber and burn the most calories. Isolation movements, or single joint exercises, such as bicep curls, leg extensions, and triceps extensions, should be supplemental to the multi-joint movements.

 Note: Free Weights VS Machines: Free weights force your body to recruit more total muscle because they call on stabilizing muscles to balance the weight, a superior advantage to the predetermined range of motion that machines have to offer.

 

CARDIO:

11)   Run For The Gold: Incorporate 3 to 4 sessions of cardio per week for 20 to 30 minutes each.

12)   Run Hungry: Perform cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Your body will burn fat as the first energy source because your glycogen stores are depleted.

13)   Start Strong-End Slow: Do your high-intensity cardio early in your workout and taper off to a slow finish to burn significantly more fat. After a 3 minute warm-up, immediately kick it into high gear for 15 to 20 minutes before slowing down for the last 10 minutes.

14)   Interval training: The best way to improve your aerobic fitness and burn fat is to alternate very intense periods of cardio with low-intensity sessions. Run at 80%-85% max heart rate for 1 to 2 minutes then slow it down to 50% – 60% MHR for 1 to 2 minutes and then back up again. Keep this cycle going for the entire session.

15)   No Smoking Please: Smoking deprives cells of the oxygen they need to maximize metabolism, keeps muscles from repairing themselves after exercise and makes cardio a lot tougher.

16)   Cardio Second: For the highest caloric burn possible, do your cardio after your workout. Since lifting depletes glycogen stores, your body will use fat as its first fuel source during cardio.

17)   Warm-Up With Cardio: Perform 5-10 minutes of cardio before you begin your weight training sessions. This helps to get your muscles warmed up for your workout without depleting your glycogen stores.

18)   Change it up: Whether you’re lifting weights or doing cardio, the key is to keep your body from adapting to what you’re doing. Regularly changing your cardio mode is the best way to keep your body responding.

 
NUTRITION:

19)   Eat More Frequently: Eating 5-6 small meals a day causes your metabolism to work constantly. Eating larger meals, however, slows your metabolism and forces leftover calories to be stored as fat.

20)   Cut Carbs: Keep your carbs low when trying to lose weight. Good, clean, fiber rich carbs include oats, sweet potato, brown rice, and whole grain bread.

21)   Eat Green: Spinach, romaine and broccoli is the best form of carbohydrates you can eat. Eat a salad before your meals to increase your fiber and consume less calories overall. Stay away from high-fat cream dressings.

22)   Protein Is King: Since muscle-building is the fastest way to lose fat, make sure your protein consumption is enough to keep up with your weight training. Get 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day.

23)   Cut Out Liquid Candy: Eliminate sodas and drink water instead. If you drink one soda per day, you’re adding 1750 calories per week to your diet.

24)   Not So-Happy Hour: Alcohol consumption can blunt testosterone levels, hindering muscle repair and growth and blunting sexual drive. Also, alcohol contains empty calories and the simplest form of sugar available in any drink.

25)   Slow Down: Fast eating and body fat go hand in hand because you tend to overeat. It takes up to 20 minutes for your brain to receive the signals that you’ve eaten enough.

26)   Dinning Out: When ordering at a restaurant, ask to have your meats grilled without oil or grease.  Order steamed vegetables with no butter. Request the doggy-bag to arrive with your meal so you can eat one serving size and take home the rest for tomorrow.

27)   Drink Water: You should try to consume at least one gallon per day to avoid becoming dehydrated. Well hydrated individuals burn more calories and become sick less often.

28)   Burn More Calories: The goal in any fat lose program is to burn more calories than you consume. Aim to reduce calorie consumption by about 250 calories per day. This will help you lose 1 to 2 pounds per week

29)   Avoid Simple Sugars: Sugar in your diet can wreak havoc on your metabolism by spiking your insulin response and promoting the accumulation of body fat.

30)   Timing Is Everything: When you eat is just as important as what you eat. Consume two-thirds of your daily calories before dinner to avoid overeating late at night.

31)   Eat More Fiber: Fiber, both soluble  and insoluble, is essential to health and helps decrease body fat. Consume large amounts of fibrous vegetables, such as broccoli, and spinach to attain your daily intake and promote satiety.

32)   Prepare In Advance: It’s very difficult to find healthy foods at work or in restaurants. Before leaving the house, pack healthy foods for the day with plenty of bottled water. Make sure you bring enough for emergencies i.e. an extended meeting, a traffic jam, delayed flight, etc.

33)   No Yolk: Eating plenty of egg whites for breakfast was found to reduce hunger and food cravings for up to 24 hours after consuming.

34)   Salt Free: Excess sodium    consumption can make you look bloated and soft and can cause you to burn less fat. To help you look leaner and strip sodium from your diet, drink more water, cut back on processed foods and enjoy to true flavor of foods.

35)   Go Nuts: Eating a hand full of almonds each day helps test subjects lose 62% more weight, 56% more fat and 50% more from their waist-line after 24 weeks compared to those who followed the same diet without almonds.

36)   Drink Coffee: Drinking Coffee before doing cardio will help you burn fat. Subjects who consumed two cups of coffee (300 mg) two hours before exercising on a stationary bike for 30 minutes were able to burn more total calories and used a much greater percentage of body fat for fuel.

 
MOTIVATION:

37)   Discipline Yourself: If you’re tiered of how you look, then understand you’re the only one who can change it. Create a plan and stick to it, budgeting time for the gym, food preparation, and rest for the week.

38)   Set A Goal: Giving yourself a reason to get in shape is a great way to stay on track with your goals

39)   Cheat Meal: Allow yourself one cheat meal every 7 days. Small indulgences make dieting more tolerable, keeping you on track longer.

40)   Stay the Course: Consistency is key to losing fat. The first week may be tough, but by the third, you should be a creature of habit.

 

 

A woman by the name of Ammie wrote in response to this blog entry, “Don’t forget to breath! Slow down and go deeper into your soul! The most beautiful people is calm and warm person!” Thought I would share that with all of you. : ) ~ 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)

Pursue Your Dream (Part II)

 

 

 

(continued from Part I)

My Glass Is Running Over
All my life I have heard the quote, “Do you see the glass half empty or half full?” On the night of August the 20th, 2007, I realized for the first time that I will never again see the glass as half full but rather I will see the glass as running over! In all that I am and in all that I do from now on, I will always see the glass as running over! I will live and see life with a perspective of blessing and abundance. My glass is full and all that runs over from it is for any and everyone who will receive it. For example, the songs I share with the public are but a handful of the songs I compose and sing out while alone in my time of personal communion with God. The Sun The Moon The Stars is what is spilling out of my glass, Illusion, The Exodus, Aliesha Shine, Together Forever Whenever, Kali Spera, these are all spilling out. I encourage you to see life this way, see your glass as running over. Say what you see and you will see what you have said. See the glass running over and it shall be. Jesus taught, Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened.

Be Patient
It may be a while before you can see your dream manifest in the physical realm. Perhaps there are some things you need to learn first, some areas in which you need to grow and mature, some obligations you need to take care of. One does not fulfill their dream of becoming a doctor until they complete medical school and go through years of training. One does not perform in an arena until they have practiced thousands of hours while alone and performed in smaller venues. What I am saying is that all of these things you may feel are holding you back from your dream are actually part of it! You cannot get to the top of a ladder at the first step.

Always remember that the journey is as important as the destination! Don’t despise the journey, even if it takes 50 years to arrive at the destination! This has been the case for my manager, John, he has worked and dreamed his whole life to taste and see what is just beginning to manifest before his eyes! Your dream is every day, yes one day you will reach a certain place of accomplishment and you will say, “My dream has finally come to pass!” but then you will only set another dream to achieve, so enjoy the journey. Each step, each day, each moment, no matter how painful or how challenging, enjoy the ride!

On the island of Maui in Hawaii there is a place called Hana, many people hear about Hana and can’t wait to go only to find out that when they arrive, there isn’t really anything there at all! It’s the RIDE to Hana that is magical, it’s the 700 turns in the road, the waterfalls along the way, the fruit trees, the views of the ocean and rainforests! If your goal is only to get to Hana, your arrival will most likely be rather anti-climactic. But if your goal is to enjoy the ride, then you will tell everyone like everyone told you, “You gotta go to Hana!”

My Personal Search
Personally, to become who I really was and to begin fulfilling my dream, I had to “get out of my father’s house”, meaning I had to leave my comfort zone and place of familiarity. Comfort and familiarity breed a certain kind of habitual living, it can be positive or negative, in my case there were many things I needed a clean break away from – people and their ridiculous expectations, organizations and all their absurd rules and regulations, jobs and their monotonous routine, etc.

For me, it was so extreme that I even felt compelled to change my name! I began going by, Odysseus, the Greek version of my middle name. It was so liberating and just downright cool! No one knew me, no one criticized me, no one judged me based on my past. It was just what I needed. I felt empowered as never before to just be ME! The real me! Who I really was! I felt like I could breathe! I let my hair grow long for the first time! I painted my nails black and wore earrings for the first time!! I stayed up composing music all night long over and over!!! I bought 20 boxes of my favorite “unhealthy” cereal and ate them all as fast as I could!!! 10 times, I drove 1000 miles to attend week long teaching seminars all about provoking people to be true to themselves and to fulfill their God given destiny! In all of this, the warrior and artist in me was awakened and I finally began to let go of all my fears – my fear of man and his judgment and criticism, my fear of persecution… for the first time in my life I didn’t care what anybody thought about me except one: God. If God was cool with me, that’s all I needed to know, everyone else could go jump in the lake for all I cared! My canvas was white and I began to paint it just the way I always dreamed it to be! COLORFUL and TRUE!!!

Your Search
For each, it is different. “The Search” certainly does not always involve moving somewhere else but it does always involve doing something different. You can’t do the same thing over and over and expect to get different results. If you mix half water with half juice you will always get the same drink. If you want to discover something you’ve yet to find, then you’ve gotta do something you’ve never ever done before!

Success
Do not measure success by monetary gain or by how others see you, measure the success of each day by whether or not you were true to yourself, by whether or not you walked in love. A day of truth and love is the most successful day any man or woman can ever live. Mother Theresa had few possessions yet undoubtedly lived a very successful life. Life is not about what you’ve got, it’s about what you give.

Be Honest With Yourself
I am a person who encourages people to follow their hearts and dreams but it’s necessary that people be honest with themselves. For example, if you do not have a single athletic bone in your body then you might want to reconsider your “dream” of becoming the next Michael Jordan. : ) That’s a fantasy, not a dream. There is a BIG difference between a dream and a fantasy, do not confuse the two. I’ve seen some people in singing competitions on TV who couldn’t even carry a tune, for that person to pursue a singing career is absurd. I always wanted to be an artist (with pencils and paint) but I have NO natural talent for it whatsoever, I can hardly even draw a stick figure! It would be crazy for me to pursue such a thing when it’s blatantly obvious to me that it is not the gift God put in me. I was always fascinated by gymnastics and would have loved to be involved in it. As a matter of fact, the world famous coach Bela Karolyi had his personal training gym not far from my house, but I did not have natural talent for it, it was not my gift.

A Question For You…
What is it that you can do effortlessly? Stop and REALLY think about it. Can you write? Can you cook? Are you good with numbers? Good at focusing on one thing all day long? Good at organizing? Good at leading? Are you good with mechanical things and with using your hands? Do you love to be around people? Do you love to travel? Do you speak multiple languages? Do you enjoy reading? Do you love nature? Animals? Are you always thinking of ideas for new businesses? I assure you that the things which come to you so naturally do not come naturally to everyone else. Find out what your gifts are and then start to walk in them and you will naturally begin to fulfill your dreams.

The Time Is Now!
You can change your life today! Now, in a single moment! It’s up to YOU and no one else! It’s your life, your day, your choice! How? With a simple decision. You see, most people think of change in terms of something you can see with your eyes and touch with your hands, and this is true, but FIRST change happens WITHIN! Change is a DECISION. It is not based on external things – it doesn’t matter where you live, how rich or poor you are, how old you are, etc. You are a person, you are beautiful, you are priceless, your life is a gift from God! Decide today that you will BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. Decide today that you will GIVE and always BE MOTIVATED BY LOVE. Decide today that you will FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE! Decide today that you will PURSUE YOUR DREAM! ~ Niko

Podcast – Video Journal, August 20th, 2007

 

Here are some thoughts from my August 20th, 2007 video journal that go hand in hand with the "Pursue Your Dream" writing…

Below is the high resolution "Podcast" version – 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…")

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)

 

 

Article on Laughter

 

“When we laugh, natural killer cells which destroy tumours and viruses increase, along with Gamma-interferon (a disease-fighting protein), T-cells (important for our immune system) and B-cells (which make disease-fighting antibodies). As well as lowering blood pressure, laughter increases oxygen in the blood, which also encourages healing.” “Science of Laughter” Discovery Health Website “Without humor one’s thought processes are likely to become stuck and narrowly focused leading to increased distress.” Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor “Laughter is very powerful medicine. It can lower stress, dissolve anger and unite families in their resolve to overcome troubled times.” University of Nebraska “Nothing is good or bad. It is thinking that makes it so.” Shakespeare “By the time a child reaches nursery school, he or she will laugh about 300 times a day. Adults laugh an average of 17 times a day.” “Science of Laughter” Discovery Health What are the health benefits of humor and laughter? The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. Humor and laughter can cause a domino effect of joy and amusement, as well as set off a number of positive physical effects. A good hearty laugh can help: Health Benefits of Laughter reduce stress lower blood pressure elevate mood boost immune system improve brain functioning protect the heart connect you to others foster instant relaxation make you feel good. “Doctor I have a ringing in my ears.” “Don’t answer!” – Henny Youngman Laughter activates the chemistry of the will to live and increases our capacity to fight disease. Laughing relaxes the body and reduces problems associated with high blood pressure, strokes, arthritis, and ulcers. Some research suggests that laughter may also reduce the risk of heart disease. Historically, research has shown that distressing emotions (depression, anger, anxiety, and stress) are all related to heart disease. A study done at the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that a good sense of humor and the ability to laugh at stressful situations helps mitigate the damaging physical effects of distressing emotions (see References and resources for more details). Some other specifics about laughter’s affect on the body are listed below. Laughter’s Effects on the Body Laughter lowers blood pressure. People who laugh heartily on a regular basis have lower standing blood pressure than the average person. When people have a good laugh, initially the blood pressure increases, but then it decreases to levels below normal. Breathing then becomes deeper which sends oxygen enriched blood and nutrients throughout the body. Humor changes our biochemical state. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases infection fighting antibodies. It increases our attentiveness, heart rate, and pulse. Laughter protects the heart. Laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you against a heart attack, according to the study at the University of Maryland Medical Center (cited above). The study, which is the first to indicate that laughter may help prevent heart disease, found that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease. Laughter gives our bodies a good workout. Laughter can be a great workout for your diaphragm, abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles. It massages abdominal organs, tones intestinal functioning, and strengthens the muscles that hold the abdominal organs in place. Not only does laughter give your midsection a workout, it can benefit digestion and absorption functioning as well. It is estimated that hearty laughter can burn calories equivalent to several minutes on the rowing machine or the exercise bike. Humor improves brain function and relieves stress. Laughter stimulates both sides of the brain to enhance learning. It eases muscle tension and psychological stress, which keeps the brain alert and allows people to retain more information. How does humor improve mental and emotional health? Humor is a powerful emotional medicine that can lower stress, dissolve anger and unite families in troubled times. Mood is elevated by striving to find humor in difficult and frustrating situations. Laughing at ourselves and the situation helps reveal that small things are not the earth-shaking events they sometimes seem to be. Looking at a problem from a different perspective can make it seem less formidable and provide opportunities for greater objectivity and insight. Humor also helps us avoid loneliness by connecting with others who are attracted to genuine cheerfulness. And the good feeling that we get when we laugh can remain with us as an internal experience even after the laughter subsides. Mental health professionals point out that humor can also teach perspective by helping patients to see reality rather than the distortion that supports their distress. Humor shifts the ways in which we think, and distress is greatly associated with the way we think. It is not situations that generate our stress, it is the meaning we place on the situations. Humor adjusts the meaning of an event so that it is not so overwhelming. Here are some additional things we can do to improve our mood, enjoyment of life and mental health. Attempt to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them – this helps improve our disposition and the disposition of those around us. Use cathartic laughter to release pent-up feelings of anger and frustration in socially acceptable ways. Laugh as a means of reducing tension because laughter is often followed by a state of relaxation. Lower anxiety by visualizing a humorous situation to replace the view of an anxiety-producing situation. Why do we need humor to stay healthy emotionally? A healthy sense of humor is related to being able to laugh at oneself and one’s life. Laughing at oneself can be a way of accepting and respecting oneself. Lack of a sense of humor is directly related to lower self esteem. (Note that laughing at oneself can also be unhealthy if one laughs as a way of self degradation.) Humor is essential to mental health for a variety of reasons: Mental Health Benefits of Laughter Humor enhances our ability to affiliate or connect with others. Humor helps us replace distressing emotions with pleasurable feelings. You cannot feel angry, depressed, anxious, guilty, or resentful and experience humor at the same time.