drugs as medicines

Love

 

While meditating, in a single moment I clearly saw what I had been seeking after my whole life; in all the principles I sought to live by and all the standards I set for myself, in all my years of study and separation, in all that I denied my flesh, in all that I gave, in all that I ever wrote and played and sang, in all that I spoke and did not speak, in all that I believed and did not believe, it was for love! All to become love and to live every moment of my life only by the law of love. I then at that same instant realized that to understand love is to understand all things and I was forever changed.

I cannot explain how to understand all things through love, it is simply something one must believe in order to begin to see and experience its truth and beauty in their life. She is justified by her children, so go now and mingle with them in the field, eat the fruit of her tree and you shall see. Through love I tell you that I have come to better understand a fetus, babies, children, men, women, culture, language, communication, perspective, good, evil, light, darkness, truth, lies, hate, deception, time, space, divinity, creation, purpose, art, music, food, science, history, the future, pain, death, life, friendship, medicine, health, sickness, poverty, prosperity, marriage, divorce, technology, freedom, the human senses, water, fire, animals, flowers, colors, and so much more.

I believe that within the depths of love live the truths of all creation and the entire universe – cures for every sickness and disease, answers to every question imaginable, views into other dimensions, timelessness and spacelessness. Love is the most powerful force of all and cannot be measured for she is infinite and eternal. Love is the substance that light and truth are made of and from her blessed womb all virtues are born.

I believe that love is all. …all that we truly hope for and hope to become, all that we are seeking after in this life. Many are pursuing power and money and sex and beauty and acceptance and recognition and fame and knowledge… but in truth what each and every human being to ever live has been and will be searching for all along is love, simply love. There is nothing greater than love. Love is the very essence of life and love is the very reason for life. If we have everything yet do not have love, we have nothing. Likewise, if we have nothing yet have love, we have everything. Without love, we die.

I am not perfect nor allknowing nor allseeing, but love is, and her blood is now flowing through my veins – cleansing my heart and mind, teaching me truth, changing my eyes, guiding my hands, directing my path, protecting my future and destiny. Now, all that I believe is love. I have found her and I will never ever let her go.

Love is a universal gift within us all and it is the greatest gift of all! Now, it is up to each of us to let our actions flow forth from this gift, it’s something we decide hundreds of times each day. All actions of thought, word, and deed fall into one of two categories: love or selfishness. Think it through for a year or two or ten and you will conclude as I, there is no inbetween. In every single second of our lives we have a choice to act in selfishness or to act in love.

If you desire to be who you really are and fulfill your purpose for existing then I tell you my friend, look to love, pursue love with everything that is within you, abandon all for love and you will find what you know you have been looking for all along. Shut out the many distractions of this world, turn off all the noise, close your eyes and open your heart, look within the very depths of your being and you will find her there… talk to her, look into her eyes, she’s been waiting for this moment all your life and so have you, don’t be afraid to touch her face, take her hand and I promise you that she will carry you into the promised land. ~ Niko

Biography Research Paper

 

Below is a biography research paper a girl in junior high did on me and I thought I would share with all of you her questions and my answers. Enjoy!

What’s is your full name?

Nicholas Ulysses Papasideris. Niko is simply the Greek nickname for Nicholas.

Where were you born?

Houston Texas! I came out with cowboy boots on and a rope in my hands. Just kidding! Actually, the typical “Texan” stereotype is not so accurate. Not everyone has boots and a cowboy hat. : ) But I will say this, I think there are more pickup trucks in Texas than there are in the whole world combined!!! Texans love their trucks!

What are some important childhood events?

Family. I was very loved by both of my parents and I am so grateful to have grown up in that kind of environment. I was protected, provided for and nurtured. And as an adult, I can see the fruit of all of this in my life.

Playing. My brother and I played outside all the time! I also used to play outside alone. I would sometimes go and have a picnic alone in our chicken coop with the chickens! : )

Responsibilities. I did many chores around the house and outside of the house and I also working at my parents restaurant.

Travel. My family went on summer vacations most every year. It really helps you see the world with a much broader view, especially travelling to other countries. My travels to Greece at 3 and 5 affected me in a very deep way, in ways that I would not come to understand until I was in my latter 20’s.

Spirituality. I was raised with a great spiritual awareness, with far more emphasis on spiritual things than earthly things. Faith hope and love were at the foundation of my upbringing and are the solid ground I stand on today.

What are some interesting facts about your life?

MUSIC

In September of 1989 at the age of fourteen, in a single afternoon everything changed! I was at a friend’s house and he was playing a popular love song on his keyboard, I asked if he could teach it to me. Within a couple of minutes I had it down and in that moment something unexplainable happened inside the depths of me – I immediately said "I can play! I can play!! I can play the piano!!!" From then on, I began practicing six and eight hours a day! All I wanted to do was play the keyboard! If I couldn’t play at least 6 hours a day then I would become very sad. When I was headed somewhere with my family, I would take my little keyboard and sit in the back of the car and practice, practice, practice…all day and into the late hours of the night I would practice! It was all I wanted – my passion, my love, my desire, my future! I didn’t care so much about girls or dating or parties or most of the things that my peers were into, everything other than music just seemed like a distraction. As the years went by, I began to sing and then singing became as important to me as playing the keyboard. Eventually I tapped deeper into my gift and began composing full songs. It’s been an amazing journey and I am blessed to be able to share my gift with the world! I give thanks and honor to God for my gift of music.

TRAVEL

I have always loved to travel! I have travelled to Europe much over the last 10 years with a emphasis on Greece. My father is from Greece and in 1998 I decided to get much more in touch with my roots. I am glad I did. It has opened up many more parts of myself and has helped me understand and see things about myself that I did not before. I have also lived on the Hawaiian island of Maui for 2 years and that too did change my life! It’s such a magical place, unlike any place I have ever been.

DIET

You are what you eat. Your body is the container of your soul and spirit so be sure to guard it well. Keep it healthy by getting good rest, by exercising and by eating healthy foods. When I was a teenager I said to myself "I will never be overweight!" and I have lived up to my promise. The key is just being conscious every day of what you put into your body. And drinking lots of water. 

Can you tell me one thing about yourself that others may not know?

In my lifetime, I want to live in many countries, maybe a dozen or more! I’d like to spend a year or two or three in each one. I love culture. I love seeing how other people think and live and eat and enjoy music and drive and communicate, etc. It helps me see everything with a much more open mind. It helps me think outside of boxes and certain cultural codes. Just when you thought there was only one way to do something, you go to another country and you realize that they do it totally different there. With so many things there is no wrong or right, it’s just personal preference.

What inspires your music?

Life!

Most of my songs are written out of experiences in life. It might be the laughter of a child, a friend in need, pleasant or painful memories, dreams, happiness, frustrations. Nature. I took a walk with my dog Magic and by the end of the road I had written a song for him, haha. Traveling, very much so. Being in other places far away stirs things up in me – the sights, the smells, the sounds of another culture and land. Sound inspires me. I will hear something like a car engine cranking up or the horn of a train or the wind blowing through the trees and it will actually inspire a melody or lyric or chord progression in me. Also, just sitting down at my piano inspires me. Most every time I sit to play, something fresh and new comes out. Sometimes it’s a song while other times it’s an idea or a melody that later becomes a song. Lastly, I must say that the hope of my music touching the world inspires me deeply. It is important that we as humans always have hope in our heart for through hope we find inspiration to fulfill our destinies.

What are some important adulthood events?

Having loved someone. It opened up so many parts of me that I had never seen!

Living in other places and spending time in other places that I was not familiar with. It has had immeasurable positive effects on my life.

Becoming friends with people in other countries. It has taught me much about love and patience and has also helped to broaden my perspective in so many ways.

Completing my album titled Love. It was a very long journey but I stayed committed and after 3 years it was finally complete.

Deciding to give my music away for free and then gaining fans around the world as a result of it.

Performing live in another country and having a group of people sing along with me because they knew my songs from the radio. A great feeling!

Owing my own business. It has been lots of hard work and many sleepless nights but it has taught me much about life and has brought a sense of accomplishment that is different than any other I’ve experienced.

What obstacles did you have to overcome?

I have overcome fear and doubt a thousand times! I have never let go of my hopes and dreams.

There have been several times when I have cried because things seemed to be too much to bear but after releasing those tears I whipped them from my face and carried on.

I have overcome the obstacle of having little resources (time and money) to accomplish great tasks. The key was persistence, dedication, coming up with creative solutions and having a willingness to sacrifice things I wanted in order to obtain things I needed (what you want and what you need are often times two different things).

I overcame the obstacle of not letting society and systems dictate to me who I am and why I am here. I dedicated years of my life to seeking and searching for those answers and I began to find them. They are inside of each and every one of us.

What is the greatest thing you have ever discovered in your life?

Love. If you have it then it doesn’t matter what you don’t have, if you don’t have it then it doesn’t matter what you do have.

Where can people learn more about you and your music?

www.nikoonline.com (Get 20 of my songs for free)

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

 

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.
 
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Leave your thoughts here in my blog.

Share this with others you feel it can benefit.
 
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. : )

Phase One of “Newgrass” Project Completed!

 

The Sun The Moon The Stars
Newgrass Studio Session Documentary 

Those who know me, know that my musical expressions are very diverse, ranging from pop and alternative to new age and chill out. What you may not know is that I grew up on country music! Hank, Willie, Dolly, George, The Judds, Reba, Travis, Garth, all of ‘em! In Texas, country music is EVERYWHERE! As a child, I often went to this place called the “Blue Barn” where bluegrass pickers would gather and play live! Those sounds have always been close to my heart.

Early in 2008, my team and I began discussing a newgrass project. For those who may not know, “newgrass” is basically bluegrass with a fresh twist. After much planning, we rounded up some of the best players in Nashville and on August 12th, we went into the studio to record the first set of songs for the new album (not yet titled).

Two of the guys are part of the band of the infamous bluegrass artist, Ricky Skaggs. Andy Leftwich, who plays fiddle for Ricky, and Cody Kilby who plays guitar. Also joining us in the studio was Rob Ickes on dobro, Byron House on bass and my step brother Gabriel Cantrell on percussion. A studio filled with fine players was sure to lead to an amazing day of music and boy oh boy did it ever!

We tracked the first 3 songs of the album and part of a 4th. I’m excited to tell you that my management company has allowed me the freedom to share our progress with all of you so I’ve posted three tracks in the streaming player at my homepage http://nikoonline.com/media-player and also at my myspace page www.myspace.com/nikoonline

The tracks are “The Sun The Moon The Stars” and two version of “The Special One” (slow and fast). If you are one of the many people around the world who fell in love with the pop version of The Sun The Moon The Stars then you are in for a pleasant surprise! If you’ve never heard The Sun The Moon The Stars then you are still in for a pleasant surprise! : )

We documented the day in the studio so all of you could see these songs coming to life! Above is a glimpse at what the day was like while we worked on The Sun The Moon The Stars. Enjoy!

China

 

In Honor of Those Who Have Died in the Sichuan Earthquake

China has a very special place in my heart. I have grieved over the injuries, deaths and great loss caused by the earthquake in the Sichuan province of China. Over 65,000 people have died and 5 million people are homeless. It’s hard to even comprehend.

I have made a donation to help with sending food to those in need and I am giving away a special song to China in honor of all those who have died and lost loved ones. I would like to ask that you consider giving whatever you can give in whatever way you can give it. Some people do not have money to give, that’s ok, many great gifts do not even have a price tag on them. Follow your own heart and do whatever you feel led to do. The key is to do something. Thank you so much for your consideration!

Some people have asked me which organizations I suggest they use for making donations, there are so many, here are two TRUSTWORTHY ones I have given to in times past, here are the direct links to specifically make a donation toward relief efforts in China:

https://american.redcross.org/site/Donation2?idb=264115335&df_id=3198&3198.donation=form1

http://www.feedthechildren.org/site/PageServer?pagename=usw_20080523_china&s_src=TR5

 

To read more and for a free download the song I have dedicated to China, “You’re In Heaven”, go here…

www.nikoonline.com/china

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

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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

Interview by: SheUnlimited.com

 

SheUnlimited.com / Daily Confection recently had the chance to talk with Niko:

Q. Hi Niko. It is an honor to speak with you. Tell us a little about the beginning, when the soul of Niko started to take flight.

It was when I was 18. I fell madly in love, my first girlfriend. Suddenly, the lover in me was awakened and unleashed! I began discovering many things in myself such as my gift for writing, photography, a deeper part of my musical gift, an artistic side I had never expressed, a romantic side… I wrote poetry, beautiful (mostly melancholic) love songs, starting thinking for myself and moving toward the path of being true to who I was.

At the age of 22, while alone at my apartment one evening, I had a spiritual experience that changed me forever. I realized my destiny was to touch the world! And that it would occur through my artistic expressions. From that moment, I have never been the same.

I am driven, determined and relentless in the pursuit of my dream. I have been on a search for truth and on a journey of self discovery that has taken me around the world. I am a warrior on a mission with every intention of fulfilling my purpose for being here – to bring a message of hope and love to mankind. At all costs. And the fact that I am having this interview is proof that it is coming to pass. Not nearly as soon as I might have thought, but it is happening. Blood sweat and tears, concurred fears, the changing of my site, countless sleepless nights. I do stand before you now, I take a humble bow, I give my all in hopes to see, that we will all rise up and simply BE!


Q. How do you think your music can change the world?

Very simply, through its sprit and message. My music speaks for itself. It is spreading across the world at an exponential rate not because I am personally spreading it, it is alive. I am both honored and humbled by this. But it is EXACTLY what I saw would happen that evening in my apartment. Here are two invaluable things I learned from one of my greatest mentors: "Say what you see and you will see what you have said." "You will be what you see."


Q. The heartfelt, passionate strains of your songs are inspiring and soothing; more like poetry. What comes first, the words or the melody?

My lyrics are often inspired by the sound of a musical progression, I’ll do something on the piano or guitar and within myself I will hear words or a certain phrase. This is the most common way that I write all of my songs.

Now this leads me to share with you what it is that actually inspires me to play a progression in the first place…I would summarize this answer by saying "Life!" Smile It might be the laughter of a child, a friend in need, pleasant or painful memories, dreams, happiness, frustrations. Nature. I write little songs for our animals here at "Freetown" (the property where most of the team lives). Traveling and being in other places far away stirs things up in me – the sights, the smells, the sounds of another culture and land. Sound inspires me. I will hear something like a car engine cranking up or the horn of a train or the wind blowing through the trees and it will actually inspire a melody or lyric or chord progression in me. Also, just sitting down at my piano inspires me. Most every time I sit to play, something fresh and new comes out. Sometimes it’s a song while other times it’s an idea or a melody that later becomes a song. And the hope of my music touching the world, that inspires me deeply. It is important that we always have hope in our hearts for through hope we find inspiration to fulfill our dreams. The content of my lyrics tend to focus on positive things, I like knowing that my songs are helping people and helping to bring light into this world. If I can do this, then when I breathe my last breath I will have peace in knowing I fulfilled my purpose on this earth.


Q. I would include your music in a meditation routine; would that surprise you?

Not at all. As a matter of fact, some of the songs on the Journey Within album were used on a CD that accompanied a book on meditation written by a guy in Maui. Many people write to tell me that my music is peaceful and relaxing. I am glad my music brings a calm energy to a not so calm world. Knowing that people are in their cars and in living rooms unwinding to “Niko” brings a big smile to my face! : )


Q. Living in Nashville, the country music capital of the world, how have you kept from being influenced by the genre?

Well, I think it’s all in there, inside of me. And it comes shining through in strange ways. For example, in the song "Joy!" (which no one would say had an inkling of a country sound), there is a thick "country" sounding vocal, during the chorus of the second part of the song. You cannot hear it so much when it’s mixed in with everything else, but I put it in there because I felt inspired to do so and I loved the way it made the chorus sound. If I was to take it out and you listened to the song, you would suddenly feel like something was missing. Whether or not you knew what that something was is a different story. Smile

I grew up in Texas, predominantly on country music – Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Marty Robins… So, it’s in my blood and culture. It shines through a little on "Together Forever Whenever". I think that in time to come, you will hear more "country" sounds in my music. But like with all my compositions, I compose by inspiration, so if tomorrow I feel "country" comin’ on, then I promise you will get a country Niko song! Maybe I’ll do a duet with Gretchen Wilson, she lives nearby. Smile


Q. You are very in tune with your Greek heritage. Tell us a little about your upbringing.

I was born in Houston Texas, I came out with cowboy boots on and a rope in my hands. Just kidding! Actually, the typical “Texan” stereotype is not so accurate. Not everyone has boots and a cowboy hat. Smile But I will say this, I think there are more pickup trucks in Texas than there are in the whole world combined!!! Texans love their trucks! Smile

I am very in touch with my Greek roots. My father, Kimon, was born and raised on the island of Samos in Greece. My mother, Faye, is from Texas. An interesting match wouldn’t you say? *laughing* It was a strange mix of culture at times while growing up but I wouldn’t trade anything for it! My dad was always eating his yogurt with honey (such a Greek thing to do!) and my mom was always frying chicken and baking things (such a Texan thing to do!). And I was right in the middle of it all just soaking it up like a sponge. It added much richness to my life. Smile

I was raised with a great spiritual awareness, with far more emphasis on spiritual things than earthly things. Faith hope and love were at the foundation of my upbringing and are the solid ground I stand on today.


Q. I know your management company is working hard to take the next step in getting you worldwide recognition. Are there any plans close to fruition? Tours, record deals, etc?

Yes. Yes. And yes. Boy oh boy am I happy to give that answer, finally! Smile Ummm, we are talking every day about touring and we plan to tour in 2008, all of where we are not sure just yet but Asia is definitely a hot topic. Europe too! As far as a record deal goes…there are few options in the air… with all the changes happening in today’s world through the internet, everything has changed! And especially for independent artists! The power is finally back in our hands and in the hands of the people! That opens up a whole new world of possibilities for me and my music and its global distribution. Already, through the internet alone and no radio promotions, I have listeners in over 100 countries! That was unheard of just a few years ago. But it is happening and it is happening fast! Truly an exciting time to be alive!

Q. Your song, “Joy” was used in a local Nashville commercial and garnered an outstanding reply. You’ve stated a plan to take it on a national level? How will this happen, since the commercial was for a local merchant?

It was filmed with a national audience in mind. The only thing "local" about it is the content of the graphics, which can easily be changed for each dental office that wishes to license the commercial. We are still putting together the paperwork and such but there has been interest expressed from several states and we are anticipating it to go national next year.


Q. OK, Niko, I’m sure everyone would like to know: What’s the secret to inner love and worldwide peace?

Becoming childlike again.

Not childISH, but childLIKE – which is all about humility, forgiveness, not judging people (by their gender, skin color or cultural differences), being creative, playful, adventurous and imaginative! Letting go of sarcasm, deception and all the things we hide behind to confuse the truth. As small children, we did not "hate" people, we did not feel worry.

I watch small children and I’m just amazed, I ask myself "When do we lose THAT! And WHY!? For what and for who?!?" Of course, everyone has a different story – some were abused, some where fatherless and the list goes on. The good thing is that we can get it back! We can return to incense and find inner love and peace.

Just today someone wrote to tell me how much the lyrics of my song "My Son" touched them, "Grasp what is truth with all your might, become YOU, again!"

Thank you for this interview! Great questions! ~ Niko

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Direct link to this interview…
http://www.sheunlimited.com/2007/10/01/interview-with-niko-ulysses-papasidaris

She Unlimited (also known as Daily Confection) has 300,000 podcast subscribers and 2.7 million visitors each month. Be sure to check out their page! We thank them for their support!!! www.sheunlimited.com

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

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

 

TV Interview with Niko about his song Joy!

 

Greetings to everyone around the world! Yesterday I did a short TV interview here in Nashville on a morning show called “Talk of the Town”, the interview was about my song “Joy” and the TV commercial it is featured in. The commercial is part of an advertising campaign called “Feel The Joy!”, promoting sedation dentistry. The campaign is in the process of going national here in the USA! Anyway, I thought you all might enjoy seeing it! It was fun!

Interview by: Veilgr.com

 

Hey everyone, there’s lots of wonderful things going on here at "Niko" headquarters! *smile* Today’s morsel of bloggy goodness is an online interview with Behind The Veil which just posted today (www.veilgr.com). Also, I wanted to let you know and two Desktop Wallpaper images that are now available at www.nikoonline.com/media/wallpapers

Interview with Niko by Christine Parastatidou of Behind The Veil in Greece. http://www.veilgr.com

NIKO Well, we usually present you interviews with heavy metal bands, however here we have an alternative proposal for you that answers to the name Niko. This band’s reason for existence is to create and to transubstantiate feelings, images and experiences into notes. If you like melodic rock sounds, then I think you will find in this band what you were looking for!

1. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU WERE ASKED TO COMMENT ON YOUR SONGS AND ADVERTISE THEM IN A FEW WORDS?

Most of my songs are born out of my life’s experiences; because of this, my songs are heartfelt and sung with passion and conviction. My dream is to bring a message of hope and love to the world through my art of music thus my songs tend to focus on encouraging people, giving them hope for a brighter day. My style varies from song to song and that’s why I have resolved to simply call it “World Soup”.

2. YOU’VE GOT A COMPLETE WORK AND IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY 3 MORE WHICH ARE STILL UNFINISHED. WHICH ARE THE DIFFERENCES AND SIMILARITIES AMONGST THEM?

Yes, I have a completed album titled “Love” (a CD / DVD set). I would describe it as a modern day love story told in a very creative way with interesting twists in the story line. It is less produced and has a charming rawness to it that leaves most listeners desiring more. In some songs I am in tears while in others I am laughing. As for the other albums I am working on, they are "Voice", "Heart Of A Warrior" and "Journey Within". "Voice" will be the first official release of these three. It is a very produced album, many of the songs are filled with lush vocalscapes, something I did not do in my "Love" project. The themes of "Voice" revolve around are friendship, faith, hope, love. It is a very uplifting album! "Heart Of A Warrior" is much darker, it has a strong defiance in its sound and message. "Journey Within" is very introspective, this album will be calm and parts of it will be perfect for meditating.

3. HOW COME YOU’VE GOT SO MANY UNFINISHED WORKS? I MEAN HOW COME YOU WORK ON MORE THAN ONE ALBUMS AT THE SAME TIME? AREN’T YOU “AFRAID” YOU MIGHT START REPEATING YOURSELF?

I follow my heart. I admit, I work in a very unorthodox way. But I’m an independent artist right now without the backing of a major record label and sometimes you’ve gotta bend and break traditional rules if want to see your dreams come to pass. I am a man who looks to God for direction and then I follow my heart with absolute passion and conviction. I have no regrets for living this way. On top of all this, it’s the new millennium and the ways of an artist getting his music into the ears of the public has completely changed. It’s no longer necessary to have a completed physical CD package in order to release your music. The internet has completely changed our approach in just about everything we do and music is no exception. People are now downloading mp3’s from sites like iTunes and often times they will only download the songs they want and not the whole album. So I am going with the flow and releasing my songs as I complete them. It’s cool though because I actually see each of my songs as a sort of completed project in itself. Because I do things with the utmost excellence and because it takes much money to do that, it can take me years to complete a project. When money isn’t an issue, I will perhaps release a project in one go and not in parts. But then again, I might just wanna throw that rule out the window and follow my heart and release a song the night it’s born and not wait until the whole album is complete. How cool would it be to get to hear the song of an artist you enjoy the very night they complete it!? I love that idea! Am I afraid I might repeat myself? Not the least bit, I’m far too creative and multifaceted to ever do that.

4. WHAT’S THE BEST AND WHAT’S THE WORST PART OF YOUR MUSIC, ACCORDING TO YOU?

I love all of my songs but I’ll admit, not equally. The best parts are the parts I love most, the worst are the parts I love least.

5. WHY DO YOU THINK THE ROCK AND POP FANS SHOULD CHECK YOU OUT? WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER TO THE SCENE? IS THERE SOMETHING YOU FEEL THAT SETS YOU APART?

I go deeper than the soul, into my spirit, and I sing from that place. I believe that we all have the capacity to go there, it’s just that few ever do. It’s both glorious and frightening at the same time. Dangerous and fragile. I am simply myself and people are drawn to me because of this. It is humanity calling out to humanity.

6. YOU PLAY ROCK MUSIC WITH A FEW POP AND TRADITIONAL GREEK ELEMENTS. HOW DID THIS COMBINATION OCCUR?

Ahh, simply because I am Greek and grew up listening to traditional Greek music! I LOVE the bouzouki!

7. YOU ARE A GREEK AND APPARENTLY YOU LOVE YOUR MOTHER COUNTRY A LOT. YOU USE THE BOUZOUKI IN MANY OF YOUR SONGS AND YOU HAVE SOME GREEK LYRICS IN YOUR SONGS AS WELL. WHAT IS THIS THAT BONDS YOU SO MUCH WITH GREECE? WOULD YOU EVER CONSIDER MOVING TO GREECE PERMANENTLY?

I love Greece and I embrace my Greek roots. Greece is very sacred to me. I feel connected to the land, the people, the culture, the food, the history, everything! Greece is in my blood and I can feel it. My phone dials Greece at least once a week, my cabinet always has ouzo, my refrigerator never lacks feta cheese, and my mp3 player seems to always have a bouzouki playing! I am more and more in touch with Greece. I speak the language a little and have a desire to learn more! One day, I plan to have a home in Greece, most likely on an island.

8. ARE THERE ANY ELEMENTS YOU’D LIKE TO ADD OR EXPERIMENT WITH IN THE FUTURE?

Oh yeah! Many! Only time will tell but I can assure you that I will never stop trying different things! I am a very creative, experimental and curious person. And I am very spiritual, I mention this because in the spirit realm I find many amazing things that I bring back.

9. WHICH ARE YOUR MAIN INFLUENCES AND WHO ARE THOSE MUSICIANS THAT MADE YOU REALIZE THIS IS THE KIND OF MUSIC YOU LOVE AND WANT TO FOLLOW?

Vangelis has been a tremendous influence in my life. He is not only my favorite Greek composer but my favorite composer in all of the world! Bands such as The Moody Blues, U2, Sting and many more…I have been influenced by many friends who are not known by the world.

10. I’D LIKE YOU TO COMMENT A BIT ON THE LYRICS… WHICH ARE YOUR SOURCES OF INSPIRATION? My source of inspiration?

Life! It might be the laughter of a child, a friend in need, pleasant or painful memories, dreams, happiness, frustrations. Nature. The other day, I took a walk with my dog Magic and by the end of the road I had written a song for him. Traveling and being in other places far away stirs things up in me – the sights, the smells, the sounds of another culture and land. Sound inspires me. I will hear something like a car engine cranking up or the horn of a train or the wind blowing through the trees and it will actually inspire a melody or lyric or chord progression in me. Also, just sitting down at my piano inspires me. Most every time I sit to play, something fresh and new comes out. Sometimes it’s a song while other times it’s an idea or a melody that later becomes a song. Lastly, I must say that the hope of my music touching the world inspires me deeply. It is important that we as humans always have hope in our heart for through hope we find inspiration to fulfill our destinies. Lyrics? My lyrics are often inspired by the sound of a musical progression, I’ll do something on the piano or guitar and I will actually hear words or a certain phrase. The content of my lyrics tend to focus on positive things, I like knowing that my songs are helping people and helping to bring light into this world. If I can do this then when I breathe my last breath I will have peace knowing I fulfilled my purpose on this earth.

11. IF YOU HAD A BIG BUDGET TO SHOOT A VIDEO CLIP, WHICH SONG OF YOURS WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND HOW DO YOU IMAGINE IT TO BE?

"The Sun The Moon The Stars". We are actually in the process of planning this out even now. It will be very romantic, with a dreaminess to it. There are lots of details already decided for this video but I won’t share them because then it would spoil the surprise! *smile*

12. HOW DO YOU PLAN TO PROMOTE YOUR WORK? HAVE YOU GOT ANY PLANS FOR LIVE SHOWS?

Well, myspace has certainly been the most dynamic way that I have promoted my work, I am grateful for such a tool. Plans? I have many but it will take some time to bring them to fruition. I plan to tour the world, all in due time. (Click on "More…" to read the rest of the interview)

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Vision

 

I am a man possessed and obsessed with the future, a man of vision. My vision through faith brings me hope and hope drives me to possess and inhabit what I see! I do not focus on the future at the sacrifice of the present, such would be out of balance, it is my vision of the future that helps me to fully live in the moment and the moment that helps me to see the future. The future reveals the power and potential of the present and the present reveals the power and potential of the future, there is a circle, a wheel, and in the center of that wheel I have found him and in him I have found myself and within myself I have found destiny. I write what I see then see what I have written. When a force opposes my vision I do not allow it to blind my eyes. When a contradiction presents itself, I do not consider it, I overcome it with truth. In moments when I feel hopeless, forsaken, or discouraged, I look to the future and find in it a comforting hope, a best friend, a voice of encouragement and affirmation. Without a vision people dwell carelessly. Vision is absolutely necessary if one is to fulfill their unique purpose in life and achieve their destiny. What is my vision? Hope for the hopeless, freedom for the captive, healing for the hurting. Reaching the unreachable and touching the untouchable. Through music, writing, speaking, photography, video, through all forms of media, I will enter the kingdoms of this world and speak a word of hope, shine a ray of light, be a father a brother a friend. I want to show the world the truth of life and love. Vision is one of the primary driving forces of my life, without vision my writings would not exist, my music would have no passion, my photographs and videos would have no meaning, I would never have traveled, I would never have met some of the dearest and most influential people of my life. Vision drives me to explore, to fearlessly go. I will leap out onto nothing and I will find something there. I will leave reasoning and logic behind when necessary. I will take risks. I will let go of all fear and doubt. I will free my mind. I will follow my dreams. This is my life, this is my day, this is my hour, this is my moment and it is a precious gift, I shall not let it slip away.

Nothing To Prove

 

There is a wonderful principle I have discovered and now seek to live by, I call it “nothing to prove” and it has set me free to simply be myself in each moment without a bunch of disclaimers, without illusions or masks or games, without hidden agendas or ulterior motives, without comparison and competition. All of this I have left far behind me, I now seek to thrust out forward in love as raw and genuine as possible – Niko – with nothing to prove.

It has set me free in my music. It has set me free in my writing. It has set me free to make mistakes. It has set me free to simply be who I am without always feeling like I have to explain or justify myself. With nothing to prove there’s never a need to show anything off nor is there ever a need to put anything extra on! Having “to prove” takes emphasis off of me just being who I am and puts it on me trying to prove who I am. Me being who I am vs. me trying to prove who I am are two very different things. When I catch myself trying to prove something, I always feel selfish, dissatisfied, even captive to something shallow and cheap. But when I seek to simply be who I am, I feel freedom and a free flow, no fear! Let me share a few examples from my own life…

I Am Who I Am – When I’m with someone who is sharing their perspective on something I view differently, I no longer feel like I HAVE to speak up for the purpose of letting them know I disagree. I simply remind myself that I am who I am and that I have nothing to prove and with that I am able to keep my mouth shut. There are certain times when I do speak but there are many more times when wisdom keeps me silent. I once saw silence as a statement of agreement but now I know that is not true. My silence may at times be interpreted as agreement but I will not let such a thing make me feel obligated to speak for I am who I am no matter what another’s conclusions are of me, if I never speak again I still am who I am.

Expressions – Nothing to prove has encouraged me countless times while sharing my music in situations where I was limited by things such as poor equipment, time restraints, no back up instruments. I never let those things stop me or make me feel like I had to explain how much better I could sound if. . .I simply sang with what I had to work with at that moment, no self disclaimers, no sound apologies. And while I may have only been able to shine in shades of black and white, there were still unique color combinations in each of those moments. In all that I do, I simply give it my best and with nothing to prove I always find rest. In my writing, Nothing To Prove has set me free to be fresh, funny, unique, expressive, creative, crazy, even risky! I simply seek to be who I am, I set aside all outside expectations and look within myself for how and what to write. I abandon all rules rooted in fear and doubt to be guided by the only rule I seek to live by – Truth. Since I have nothing to prove, I am not seeking to impress anyone and since I am not seeking to impress anyone then my audience just as well be everyone as much as no one. While I sometimes write to man, I never write for man. In writing to man and not for man I eliminate both the pleasure of his approval and the pain of his rejection and find a perfect and complete balance in the tender unfailing arms of my Love.

Silence – Nothing to prove has helped me remain silent in moments when I have been wrongfully judged, terribly misunderstood, and even betrayed. I have sought to be who I am and allow time to reveal truth to those who were open to listen. If one or all choose to believe a lie concerning me, I fear not for it can never change the truth of who I really am. If I am misunderstood, it may challenge me but it shall not change me except possibly teach me to try to be more clear. If I am betrayed I am non the less than more for humbly enduring such a dark deed. Nothing To Prove has kept me silent in the presence of foolish words. I learned such sound wisdom from one of my favorite books – Proverbs. 23:9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words. 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

Free Flow – Living in a FREE FLOW, that’s what Nothing To Prove is ALL about! If someone cannot perceive me through my simple daily free flow, I no longer seek to try and prove my gifts, abilities, knowledge, or future. I do not speak of a past success story, a future dream, or an experience that will make them somehow see me or respect me or admire me, no, I seek to flow, for me every moment in life is all about freely flowing, it’s about me just being me, always seeking to excel expand grow and progress and just be my unique self in the process. I see myself as water and if someone chooses not to drink of me why shall I seek to wet their lips with planned out “to prove” methods? That gets too complex, I have discovered such beautiful simplicity in the “free flow”, it’s the only true method for me. I have concluded that: I am who I am, respected or disrespected, understood or misunderstood, embraced or rejected, praised or persecuted, I have nothing to prove. If a person can’t see me, I’m not interested in trying to pry their eyes open. Likewise, if I can’t see another person, maybe we just need sometime.

Falling To Rise – Free to make mistakes? Ah, yes, nothing to prove has set me free to be the seeker that I am and take risks and make mistakes in the process. Let me say – Not free to be foolish, not free to have no accountability, not free to have no borders or boundaries but, yes, free to fly further than I’ve ever flown and sometimes crash in the process. I am a man who believes that love is all, undoubtedly yes, but I do not remain in known territory in fear that I might fly too far out and shatter some lovely track record. With pure motives and intentions I boldly set out in search of greater heights, deeper depths, fresh territory! So I float out into new waters sometimes having my ship crashed with waves so ugly and cold but also discovering warm beauty untold! In the scale of it all I am rising, realizing, becoming who I know I am and desire to be – a man after my Love’s own heart.

Humility – For me, nothing to prove is about humility. It’s about unpriding myself after years of pride programming in a world that primarily revolves on one act of pride after another, a world of selfish systems that survive on what is seemingly so sweet yet clearly destined to choke on its own bitter vomit. It’s about me conquering my selfish human nature to claim victory on the battlefield of my mind in the most challenging war I have ever fought – love vs. selfishness – which one will win in every moment is up to me, if I am wise I will fight for what I know is true and let love fly its flag high from the castle of my heart.

Vision – Although I am not presently walking in all of that which I have written, I believe that if I write what I see then I will see what I have written and this gives me the freedom to express as I do. I am a man possessed and obsessed with the future, a man of vision. My vision through faith brings me hope and hope drives me to possess and inhabit what I see! Tomorrow is a comforting assurance today for tomorrow speaks to me of rising when I have fallen today, tomorrow is my best friend today for tomorrow speaks to me of a joyous shout when I am sorrowfully silent today. Tomorrow is my bright hope when today I feel dark despair. I look forward to tomorrow for it is my rescue line of answer when I’m stuck in a moment of question today. While today I may walk in hate I have hope for I’ve seen that tomorrow holds a love I will run with! Today my heart may pant and bleed but tomorrow it will boldly beat a drum so loud the world will hear!

Tomorrow – It takes hope to believe in tomorrow and tomorrow to have hope for if I have no hope then I have no tomorrow, likewise if I have no tomorrow then I have no hope. And if I need faith and vision to see tomorrow then without faith and vision I am hopeless. “Perfect love casts out all fear” and if fear must be cast out for me to have faith then only perfect love can set me free to believe and hope and see tomorrow! Once again I see that that to understand love is to understand all things. “Tomorrow”? It means many things. You must define it as you see it, but one thing it undoubtedly speaks of to us all is the future, tomorrow is ALL about the future and what it holds. For me, tomorrow is everything from the next 24 hour time span to my vision of the next decade to my eternal existence. What does tomorrow hold that would make me speak as I do? I see much light love and truth. I see hope for the hopeless, freedom for the captive. I see healing for the hurting. I see myself reaching the unreachable and touching the untouchable. I see a reason to live, a reason to give, I see something worth giving all of myself to, that’s how important tomorrow is to me! – Niko

No Limitations

 

If I could convince you that there weren’t ANY LIMITATIONS and you knew for a fact it was absolutely true, what would you throw out? What mindsets and thinking patterns would you cease to embrace? What media programs would you stop watching? What books would you burn? What places would you stop going? What people would you stop associating with? What job would you quit? What drugs would you stop taking? What opinions, ideas and philosophies would you crucify? Now, considering that there are no limitations, how do you see yourself? How do you see the world? How do you see your music if you are a musician? How do you see your writings if you are a writer? How do you see your patients if you are a doctor? How do you see your students if you are a teacher? How do you see your baked goods if you are a baker? How do you see your new business if you are an entrepreneur? How do you see your family and friends and children? How do you see your future? and mine? The truth is that such does exist. There is a place where one can walk and live, a place that knows NO LIMITATIONS. And if you diligently seek after it, you will find it. You can know who you REALLY are and go where you were created to go. Destiny is yours if you want it. You can have deep satisfaction and genuine happiness. You can see tomorrow while living in today. Limitations only exist in the minds of those who choose to embrace fear and doubt. Truth’s sword prevails over all darkness, it is truth that can set you free, it is truth that knows no limitations. If you can see it then you can enter it and become it!