Instant Gratification is not your friend.

Quick fixes do more harm than good.

Ever present is the idea that, if we take a pill, our problems will be fixed. If we commit in the surface of going to the gym, eating right, practicing meditation or yoga, going to therapy; things will just automatically lift off our shoulders and all the issues we’ve been battling with since childhood; just disappear.

Change, betterment, transformation, improvement, and healing are long term commitments; not the short term “feel good” solutions, they are portrayed to be.

I’ve been practicing yoga and fitness for 20 plus years, and the vice that always got in the way of my practice, my life, and my relationships with others, is the need for instant gratification and instant solutions. Staying with something long enough to see change, or realizing that ephemeral enjoyment doesn’t translate into long term change, is something I learned the hard way. It is all too often that I see these patterns with my students and clients. If I give them “homework” to do most of them don’t follow through or forget to commit to their own self improvement, giving in to excuses, and short term inadequate solutions. We all do it.

Setting a goal and achieving that goal is the difference between an idea and a plan.

If you see instant anywhere in your life, coffee, food, fitness, (sorry Suzanne summers), business plans, sex, affection, repairs (yes those too); step back and think again. Taking stock of what we really want to achieve in our lives, steers us away from doing what’s easy or fast. Committing to doing what is best and maintaining that, demands a very fine balance of personal accountability and self knowledge. Giving in to our cravings, our instant joy, our sweet tooth, or social pressures to “get it done quickly” will only harm and derail us in the process of self improvement, depriving us in the end of setting any goals worthy of follow through.

Next time when things get challenging or busy or too much, take a step back and fight to finish what you started, no shortcuts or excuses. Do the 30 day challenge and actually stick to it for life.

If you liked this article or any of the previous ones published on my blog, please pass it along, sign up, subscribe and stay on track! Feel free to look back at old posts and archives here:

Day 25. Independence

How do be carve our Independence within an increasingly controlling world.

Rebels with a cause. We want to make a difference, we want to break free from the shackles of conformity, get away from normalcy and shatter the feeling of imprisonment within our own lives. Everyday we are told that Freedom is a state of mind. But it’s clear to me that being truly Independent, free, non bound takes an enormous sense of responsibility and personal effort. True Independence is a lonely and often treacherous path. We claim we are free, we are individuals, we don’t need anyone to tell us what to do with our lives, yet we increasingly depend on others, we want someone to take control and fix things, we want someone else to be responsible for our freedom. And we all know where that leads.

Fighting for Freedom, means doing things on our own without any, ANY help or assistance from others, yet in the highly connected, dependent and “who do you answer to” society we live in, Independence (with a capital I) from the powerful and the controlling has increasingly become a stigma, a stain in the “shut up and put up” mentality .

we want someone to take control and fix things, we want someone else to be responsible for our freedom. And we all know where that leads.

We all need to better understand (myself included) what weight and what importance personal responsibility, and integrity entails. It’s not a burden many choose to carry lightly. Let’s be honest when the shit hits the fan, we all want to blame someone else, and when our independence (with a small i) is giving us gifts, we stand alone on that mountain top thinking we’re kings of our own kingdom, when in reality; shaky ground builds a shaky structure. When we truly access our Freedom, we have to understand it’s gravity and importance; not only in how we see ourselves, but in how we project our Freedom on others. Screaming independence while acting occupied, has been tried all too often as a substitute for the real thing, making it a very confusing message to base our “freedom” on.

See what Independence means to you and how can you really carve a path of Freedom in the eyes of occupied minds.

Want to read previous posts? Check out the links below !

*FEATURED IMAGE BY: Robert Valenzuela check out his work below:

Day. 13 &14- Monetizing Passion.

How can we reconcile our desire to explore all our passions, with the philosophy that only mastery leads to success.

One thing I’ve always wanted to be when writing on this platform is honest. There is no point in writing about anything without honesty, so on today’s post I’ll be a little less curated.

I’ve always been a woman of many loves and inspirations. This has been equal parts hindrance and blessing. There is no pretense in thinking I’m the master of anything that I practice, but after 20 years I can safely say, I’m a pretty decent yoga instructor/massage therapist and “working on it” writer. Photography, Cooking and Dance are my long term lovers. We don’t commit to each other fully but we can’t live without each other either.

Anything else in life comes and goes, but the passions seem to stand out. Unfortunately many of the people I’ve met and spoken to about this predicament share the same conundrum. Many of them title themselves under doing or being what they make money at, instead of what they are passionate about. If I were to follow that paradigm, I can’t hold any claim to the above mentioned passions. Yet better monetizing what we are passionate about pursuing, leaves us with a slight handicap. The ever mind numbing idea that when you make money off of what you love, you’re a sell out, and if you don’t make money on what you love, you’re not good enough or dedicated enough or with it enough, to be a success. Catch 22.

In the end for me. The passions win. If money catches up to them, I consider it a bonus. After all my observations about practicing what you love despite the rewards. I’ve come to this conclusion:

Keep the fire going even if you have only 10 people who love what you do, because in the end; what you love and strive to do well, shows. What you do for pure income alone, looses its luster and authenticity.

What are you passionate about and want to share with others?

Day 5/6 Hey! Look up from your phone.

I’m a slave for you- Britney Spears

This is somewhat a departure from previous commentary and posts because it is as much a self reflection as an observation of others.

About a month ago I started a social experiment and a personal challenge.

After realizing how much time I spend on my phone (thanks to that pesky new “oh look you loser you spent a total of 8 hours on your phone today” reminder on my device), I decided to make a point of leaving my phone in my bag while I was on the subway, in public places, while walking on the street, and whenever I had the urge to “check” my social media. Something that would seem rather obvious and self explanatory became a “task” or a personal project. The reason being;

I was constantly on my phone, and apparently I’m not the only one.

Before arriving in New York six years ago from Athens, I would say I had a relatively “healthy” relationship with my now constant companion. As technology changed, so did my relationship with my phone. (yes relationship – and everyone else I’ve seen seems to have the same one too). In sharp contrast to the past, my relationships consisted of close uninterrupted conversations with friends on a regular phone, arranged face to face meetings with people I had not seen in a long time and many many long emails with my loved ones who were far away. Now at the click of a button I’m connected at any moment, I get instant responses to my pictures, writing, comments, and observations. I’m constantly reachable; even when I don’t want to be.

All these characteristics of technology are not a mystery or shockingly new to any of us who use our phones as personal assistants, friends, connecting devices, social media giants etc. What did give me a rude awakening is that nearly ALL of the people I encounter on the street, in the subway, in their cars, with their friends at a dinner table; is that the phone is starting to become an extra appendage. EVERYONE is on their phone, ALL the time, and not when they are alone; but walking, eating, getting their hair done, waiting for the train, waiting for their friend to arrive, sitting at home watching a movie, eating at home while on their phones. ALL THE TIME.

The reason I gave myself this task of unhinging my every moment from my phone is purely to walk the walk as I talk the talk to my students about mindfulness and being present.

The absence of “having something to do” at every single second of the day is becoming something of a necessity as our time becomes more and more overwhelmed with technology, social media (the sewage of the internet as was so aptly put by Lady Gaga in a recent interview) and the idea that idle time with your mind focused on just being quiet and present is seen as laziness. For the next few weeks I challenge you all as I did myself; to get off your phones for the better part of your day and see what you notice. Take pictures, read a book, get off twitter, and enjoy a fine meal without looking at your facebook profile. ENJOY.

Till then here are some pictures I took today while I was walking around noticing the world around me instead of being glued to my phone.

I encourage you all to do the same. Take a moment to look up.

*the art featured is

1. Banksy- Mobile Lovers ( Bristol, UK)

2. Bkfoxx- (East Village- Nyc)

Day 2 – Delayed Gratification

Having to wait for something makes it ever more enticing.

I’ll start with the “textbook” analysis of Delayed Gratification:

Pleasure is central to our survival. We need things like food, water, and sexin order to survive and pass our genetic material on to the next generation. However, as we get older and mature, we must learn to tolerate the discomfort of delayed gratification if we have a greater purpose or goal in mind. Unlike infants and young children, adults are characterized by their ability to delay gratification and tolerate hard work, discipline, and occasional unpleasantness in order to fulfill responsibilities and achieve goals. Mature adults don’t expect others to meet their needs. They understand and accept that they won’t always be gratified. My second post title for this week is apropos. I was sick again this weekend and didn’t get to writing as much as I wanted to. Feeling under the weather even with a head cold doesn’t bode well for progress in the goals we set.

When I was a little girl patience and waiting for what I wanted wasn’t my strong suit. Like any voracious child; I wanted what I wanted and I wanted it now. My parents in their infinite wisdom used to respond with a lyric from a Rolling Stones song (yeah I have those kind of parents). This weekend I had to flex that seldom used muscle of patience with myself and my intense need to be constantly productive. One thing I can not be accused of is letting idle time go by. Accomplishment and goal setting has been a lifelong battle. Any creative person you talk to will probably say the same.

We work harder than most because our only product is our own work. So when obstacles get in the way of our goals we tend to derail our whole plan. ( yes artists let’s be honest ). So with that in mind, the idea of working diligently and patiently at something; anything, over a extended period of time is the theme of today’s post. I’m sure all of us have had this idea that if we just wish for it long enough things will just happen.

In the quick fix, fast results, no effort needed, “just add water”, buy now pay later, mentality of our modern world; I find slow, and steady progress to be a revolutionary act.

We all get bombarded by the before and after images of body, face, life, skills improvement, but the reality is, the shit we have to go through to make progress and get better at something is the real work not seen, which justifies the end result. Quick fixes don’t produce good work. Fast and cheap does’t make for anything worth keeping, and instant “out of the box” human connections don’t stand the test of time.

Delayed gratification yields a much sweeter reward than instant gratification with very little effort. We savor the riches of our labor and passions when we can stand the test of time. Until then, back to the drawing board.

What are you working on or have worked on over a long period of time and want to share with the world?

And remember:

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need.

Un-Conventional Traditions

How food, culture and traditions carry us into un-conventional interpretations.  

Traditions are what bring us and keep us together. They shape who we are and how we view the world. We adopt them without question and often times without fully understanding what they might mean to us. Traditions are more often than not bound to history, cultural connections and familial ritual. How do we appropriate traditions to our modern life? Do we mold them to our non traditional lives and reconnect with them in new ways or do we embrace their old world wisdom and try to re discover them for ourselves?

Long ago when trying to discover my own personal identity as a Greek-American, I had a plethora of traditions to draw from. Most were passed down to me from my Greek grandmother Eleni and my great grand mother Angela, and another from my American grandmother Pauline and her English, German family. Mixing Sauerkraut with Dolma and Eggplant Salad with traditional home made macaroni and cheese was quite the site in my Greek upbringing. Believing in the evil eye and cleansing your energy which is deeply ingrained in Ancient Classical Greek pagan traditions, with the idea of faith in a higher power and spiritual traditions connected to working hard and getting ahead by your own bootstraps was like playing a tug of spiritual/ belief war. I wanted to understand all of these traditions for myself and embrace them on my own terms

How do we transform traditions and make them our own.

For the first time in my dual Greek/American life while living and cooking in both countries for many years, I made a traditional new year’s day cake/pie called Vasilopita (Βασιλόπιτα). In Greece, cutting the Vasilopita marks a traditional start to the new year. Some households choose to make one, either from an old family recipe, or from the many variations that you can find online. Based on any given region of Greece you might find yourself in; the recipe differs greatly but the general idea is a cake that’s sweet, tender, dunk-able in coffee, and always must have a lucky coin. Each version of this “pie” is carefully embellished, to show the uniqueness and the personal touch of each household. In recent years, and throughout my childhood and adulthood, it’s become more prevalent to order them from one of Athens’ more famous bakeries and avoid the hassle and many hours of preparation. This year I got over my trepidation of making a cake from scratch and consulted my old grandmother’s Tselemedes (cook book) along with some recipes online to make my own home made version.

The result, not only surprised me but gave a much deeper meaning to sharing and creating this tradition for myself. My grandmother never taught me how to make this particular recipe but for all intents and purposes it came out beautifully. A labor of love, mixed in with nostalgia, tradition, personal traditions and a lot of humor. See video link below.

Vasilopita Cutting 2019

I’m not religious in any way and don’t adhere to or subscribe to the Greek Orthodox church I was baptized in, but for whatever reason – inexplicably so, I rejoiced in cutting each piece and sharing it with my friends and loved ones. In the end, each tradition has its roots in uniting people and rituals; be it bringing in the new year, turning 15, becoming an adult, graduating, creating a household, and sharing a meal with those you love. Personal traditions paired with those passed down to us; make for incredible insight into how much closer and connected we are than we think. From Vasilopita in Greece to King Cake in New Orleans, to Rosca de Reyes in Mexico, to Panettone in Italy, and Galette des Rois in France, our personal traditions find a global connection.

P.S We all get the coin in the end.

Random Thoughts- Seasonal Depression

How it feels, how to deal. How not to freak out.

Let’s face it, these winter weather patterns we are experiencing, are crazy under normal circumstances, and to put it mildly winter SUCKS. I’m not talking about the normal cooling of things, and a cute mountain cottage with a fireplace, but the face freezing, skin drying, what the hell is this 8C to -20C fluctuation, urban cruel, dark, kind of winter.

Our bodies like nature experience somewhat of a powered down, closed off, let me hibernate till this torture is over kind of state. But since we don’t have the luxury to go into a cave and wait till spring fully wrested and hungry as hell, we have to cope with the day to day fluctuations of weather, ailments, lower energy, fucked up office climate control and other people’s colds, sneezing, coughing, and bad moods.

I have been experiencing somewhat of a depressed state, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Having dealt with more severe depression in the past, I’m thoroughly convinced it runs in my American side of the family. My coping mechanisms were different at various stages of my life and in most cases did not involve heavy medication. Before I continue, let me clearly state.

I’m not here to advocate for or against anti-depressants this is NOT that kind of personal account. I had consulted in the past with a primary care physician who immediately, without extensive blood work or any further tests; prescribed anti depressants despite not knowing anything about my physical history, or even if they were really that effective for me. For those who do feel anti depressants or mood stabilizing medication works for them, short term or long term, I’m glad they have provided some normalcy.

Despite the many roadblocks and difficulties of seasonal affective disorder,  I have amassed enough tools in my arsenal, over the years to deal with my mood fluctuations and sleep patterns in a more holistic manner. Over the last 20 plus years I’ve spent countless hours practicing yoga, following proper nutrition, researching health and wellness journals, and attending lectures, workshops and seminars about sports nutrition, breathing techniques and proper diet. I can do this right? Well not exactly.

In order to truly begin this journey of proper mental and physical care, and to properly tend to our needs physically and mentally, we have to fully dedicate ourselves to fixing those aspects of our daily lives from the inside out. It’s a balance of nutrition, exercise, supplemental nutrition and mental health care. This is not a short term project, it’s for the rest of our lives.

I firmly believe we can train and retrain our selves to listen and give our bodies what they need order to directly and more effectively influence our emotional and mental state. (old tricks for an aging dog). On the other hand, we must challenge what we have long been mislead into thinking; that we don’t have control over our own bodies, our own health and our own well being. Somehow we have fallen pray to and mercy of endless experts and even more doctors, but in the end what we eat, how we sleep, and how much exercise and emotional balancing we do on our own, can bring far more positive change in how we cope with seasonal depression.

Change, Coping and Lifelong wellness.

Aside from slamming your first against a wall and buying a ticket to Spain to avoid the endless gray skies of an equally endless, winter (yes I’ve done this in the past, don’t recommend it); There are many less painful and far less destructive things we can do to survive and cope with SAD.

Here is my personal list of tips and personal care rituals that keep me sane, and have proven extremely helpful during some very dark and heavy winter days. Again I’m not saying this will work for any of you, but some common sense tools often add to whatever else you might be trying.

  1. Daily exercise, yoga, and stretching – If you have time to binge watch Netflix you have time to do some self care. (that’s me talking)
  2. Clean up your daily food intake. Take out or greatly reduce sugar and complex carbohydrates. Even more so for processed or pre-packaged foods (no I don’t mean all carbohydrates we need those for energy- unless you suffer from Celiac disease where clearly all gluten is out). Eating a balanced healthy home cooked meal should not be a privilege. Eat clean to think clean.
  3. Abstain from alcohol, coffee, sugary drinks and any other over stimulating or over depressive drinks, replacing them for a 3-4 weeks with herbal teas, water, fresh seasonal juices, and naturally carbonated drinks.
  4. Take pre and pro biotics for a healthy gut. It has been proven, time and time again that a healthy digestive system leads to betterment of overall health and especially emotional health. Eat clean to think clean.
  5. Aim for a healthy and balanced sleep cycle. Cell repair happens faster while sleeping, and getting proper physical and mental rest. (so no binge watching Netflix till 3 am)
  6. Get a massage, (and if you can’t afford one get a friend to massage you!) acupuncture, or any other kind of body work. Physical touch helps alleviate cortisol levels (stress hormone) and helps increase dopamine and serotonin production.
  7. Have more sex. (you think I would leave that out??) also serotonin production during sexual activity in both men and women, also production of testosterone in men. In the alternative: self care is the best care.

I’m not saying any of these “tricks” or personal rituals will work for anyone else, solely on the basis of my experience, but any and all of these practices are about a way of life, not just a 10, 20 day trial. Taking up more exercise, eating better food, and making time for your mental and physical well being is a daily practice. For many of us, these suggestions can be in addition to medication and talk therapy. We owe it to ourselves to work with these better body practices, so severe depression, and seasonal depression have less of a chance of having such a tremendous hold on our daily lives. And who the hell wouldn’t want more sex.

Stay Uplifted.

would love to hear your thoughts on winter depression and what you do to cope!

Life is not about folding clothes neatly.

A thought about Marie Kondo and the clutter revolution

I am a self declared neat freak, (anyone who knows me can attest to this). I’ve followed the Marie Kondo craze as diligently as I would watch a clothing cycle go by, and to the avid followers of this tidying up phenomenon I judge no one, to each their own. I’ve heard about the woman, the show, the cult like following, the memes, the hype, of weeding out your stuff like you do a garden; and I am left with major questions and disagreement in my mind.

What “sparks joy” for me, or you, or anyone else in the stuff we choose to keep is superbly objective and deeply personal. Of course we keep things around for too long because we need the comfort and consistency it provides. The concept of compensating for emotional stability with the incessant purchase of things is another debate entirely. However the little things that make us happy aren’t necessary convenient or neat or placed into a well folded category. They are memories, moments, personal and communal history, culture and the connective tissue between generations. Ancient Greeks and Egyptians used to fill the tombs of their loved ones with stuff; gold coins, cloth, food, trinkets and jewelry. The concept of having reminders of your life in the afterlife was imperative to giving the departed a smooth passage into the afterlife. These untouchable and unfold-able threads, are in the stuff we give to each other and the stuff we keep for ourselves. What is fundamentally missing in Marie Kondo’s joy sparking philosophy, is understanding our need to constantly acquire useless, pointless, time wasting and money wasting STUFF, instead of sharing what we all have with our friends, family and loved ones.

Yes throw the 80 corks of wine you have, but keep the 5 that tell the story of your experiences with them. Yes throw away the torn and tattered badly made clothing that doesn’t fit you any more but keep the suit jacket that was hand sewn for your grandmother in the 1940’s even though you never really wear it. Below you will find my personal list of what to keep and why in this world of, forced minimalist trends and “get rid of it all cause you won’t take it with you when you die” lifestyles.

  1. De-clutter your brain along with your house cause if you’re going to throw shit out but still think too much and clutter your brain with old thoughts and old memories you’re a memory hoarder. Make room for new ones and keep the ones that truly matter. Meditate, plant things in your home, repair that thing that keeps bothering you, focus on a single task and stop cluttering your day with unnecessary thoughts.
  2. Don’t Keep anything an ex lover gave you that doesn’t represent who you are. Give it to a homeless person, sell it, or throw it in the trash. I’ve done ALL 3 with 3 different men. It felt great. The only exception you should be making is for gifts like music and books; because someone’s inspirational words and music you can always carry with you.
  3. Keep theater tickets, concert tickets, old family photos, a dried flower bouquet from your first boyfriend, family trinkets, and your grandmother’s silver. But don’t just keep it in an attic somewhere never to be seen. It should be displayed, made into art, re purposed; but never kept closed up in some sterile box. Memories, and family history are always part of who we are.
  4. Books and music should never be thrown out… Give them to a friend, donate to a local library, read them to an ailing parent, but NEVER just throw books out. Even your childhood ones. Those are memories worth keeping. Instead of throwing away an old novel you got at a second hand shop, don’t get trashy novels disguised as literature, glossy fashion magazines, or self help books. Those are ridiculous and waste your time and money on this earth.

We are defined more about the stuff we keep and the stories we share; and less about the stuff we buy to pretend to be something or someone we are not, including Marie Kondo’s personal philosophy on a neat, clean, Japanese lifestyle that doesn’t seem to include the human connection that some, unorganized, inconvenient and messy lifestyles have in common.

What you say about others says more about you.

A lesson in self reflection.

The general consensus in psychology is that if an opinion or matter of fact statement is voiced in a manner that entangles or blames others in some way; it has more to do with the person speaking it rather than the intended recipients. Also known as projection.

The definition of Projection from Merriam Webster dictionary :

the attribution of one’s own ideas, feelings, or attitudes to other people or to objects especiallythe externalization of blame, guilt, or responsibility as a defense against anxiety.

or more directly :
The act of throwing or thrusting forward

Setting aside what we consider to be the text book definition of projection. We’ve all done it.

We’ve all projected, thrust, and thrown our shit on to other people. As a lifelong yoga practitioner I like to pride myself on the idea of non attachment for as long as I’ve been on the mat. But let’s be honest. Despite all good intentions NOT projecting our insecurities and problems on to others, is simply an uphill battle. I’m willing to and fight everyday to check in, course correct and set aside my ego but like many of us, sometimes I can’t help it. We all want to think that we’re unique and the only ones with the feelings we have, but ultimately whenever we blame others or project our issues on them; it’s a poorly disguised unresolved, unrelenting, stinky pile of our personal crap. AKA YOUR SHIT.

We’ve all done it.

When projection gets in the way of a constructive conversation, especially online, we have a far more brutal and disjointed environment to deal with. Yet we have seen it again and again, otherwise seemingly with it people who appear to have it together; who advertise perfect lives, abundant in wisdom and introspection; resorting to name-calling, shaming, blaming, self victimization, and throwing fits while lashing out at others. It’s hardly a solution. And in all honestly its an easy forum. Over frustrated people who can’t deal with their own problems, lash out with any given or taken chance at any “threat” to their insecurity. Ultimately thinking they have made examples of themselves in their perfection while criticizing others for their own inability to create meaningful change in their lives.

YET. We’ve ALL done it. (at least once)

What this observation boils down to is this:

Before pointing fingers, burning bridges and playing a never ending blame game of how everyone else is broken, crazy, tethered at the seams, and problematic because things didn’t go our way; Let’s look at each encounter with some compassion and understanding.

We all need to take a step back. check ourselves and truly see how we project our personal crap to the world.

My aging challenge. Challenged.

I am lucky to be alive. Many people we know will not get the chance to show their “do I still look hot 10 years later” look; yet this online challenge got me thinking of who I am now, rather than what I look like 10 years on. The narrative we’ve been fed about time passing, lives changing and our aging process is deeply flawed. In most cases I see women and men just displaying an exterior change.

But what about the changes that can’t be seen? I’ve often looked back at my younger self, while connecting the dots of my present image and persona, so before I begin the story of these two moments in time, I have to emphasize how little these two pictures mean in the grand scheme of things. My “youth” may be fading, but the experiences I’ve gained over the past 10 years are following a treacherous, deeply challenging, rewarding and thought provoking journey. This is true of anyone looking back at their 10 year’s younger self.

The two women pictured above are not the same person.

Yes of course they are, but I don’t feel or look or carry myself in the same way as the woman I was back in Nov. 2009. These past 9 & 3/4 years have deeply affected, defined and altered my life’s path more than once and have shaped the person I am daring to become today.

November 2009 — Maroussi, Attika Greece

Freshly separated from a nearly 5 year tumultuous and eye opening relationship with a man 13 years her senior. He was an architect, multilingual, smart, witty accomplished, well traveled, talented and a complete asshole to her. Her father loved him. She did not. She was newly single, after an even more difficult breakup, packed up her apartment and moved to her grandmother’s home; now her home. It was a place of wonder and memories.

She molded her childhood memories of it and would live, love, teach, cook, have gatherings with amazing loving friends, dance, practice yoga and sing there for four amazing years. In those four years she would date drug addicts, ex drug addicts, married or otherwise “occupied” men, liars and cheaters and deeply loving people. She would build a small yoga practice and taught throughout the next decade in Europe and the United States. She would cook meals for and with her friends, and host beautiful gatherings. She would travel. She would also face repeated emotional and verbal abuse from her partners, she would fall into a deep depression that was only curtailed by her yoga practice and the faith of her friends. She would have to constantly fight with her family about property and she would have to finally move her whole life back to the US– again, after the financial crisis ripped her country in a thousand pieces. She would have to start over, utterly alone in a city that was only a cut out memory of her long distant past.

July 2018— DUMBO Brooklyn, NYC

Just shy of 10 years later, I’m standing weathered by shit storms and laughter and joy, desperation and happiness. I came out on the other side quite changed, and despite the many scars all for the better. The picture was taken just at the moment when all the struggles, and mistakes, and lessons were finally being revealed. I had a scar from a deep gash on my forehead to remind me that no matter how bad things got, I could still stand taller because I kept going despite the wrong turns and choices. I loved, I was betrayed, I was physically and emotionally challenged, and that year my life truly began to take shape. The puppet strings were cut off and I stopped caring what people thought of me.

My dear parents, my cousin and my trusted friends are and have always been my angels. I cherish them every day for keeping me sane; they didn’t always understand my journey and quite often probably were scared for my well being, but the last 10 years have been a tsunami of ups and downs. A giant shift into becoming the person I always wanted to become, but didn’t have the courage to approach.

I have more lines on my face and tons more gray hair than I will ever show in public (I’m vain among other things). I have more courage to show my body and my art, I don’t shy away from tearing up misconceptions and false facades. Life sent me some amazing teachers. And thank goodness I’ve finally learned my biggest lesson…

I’m grateful to the past 10 years and I keep a jar of anti wrinkle cream on my side of the medicine cabinet, and have toning masks and tweezers with me at all times. White chin hairs are ridiculous and annoying. My muscles hurt more after exercise or yoga practice, but my body is healthier and stronger than ever before. I would kick my old self in the ass in weight & endurance training and I’m a far more patient and capable yoga teacher and wellness practitioner than I was back then.

Aging is a gift. I will not squander time thinking it’s a curse.

I’m still alive, and grateful every day for the opportunity to keep evolving.