Day 10. Self Love First

Loving, respecting, knowing yourself is key to every aspect of your life. It’s not selfish, it’s essential.

Self Love, is much maligned, misunderstood and mismanaged. I’ve battled with this for as long as I can remember. Self loathing has led me towards poor choices in partners, in jobs, in career paths. Rooting for myself has never been easy. There are countless times I can remember needlessly comparing myself, doubting my abilities, choosing abusive and toxic relationships because I had no love to give back to myself.

I never thought I deserved it. It’s what I knew best. Self criticism, my first line of defense. Self doubt, was the kicker at the end of a long road to not believing in my abilities, or my strengths . Self love has come with great effort. Knowing that I have to look at myself and ignore the asshole who tells me I’m not worthy, I am not deserving, I’m ugly, I won’t amount to anything, who at times has a megaphone and I can’t shut her up. I never said it makes any sense, it doesn’t. For anyone who deals with this asshole, it’s like the addiction you can’t kick.

Now, after years of doing the work, falling off the wagon and getting back on, she’s still there, but I’ve placed her in her corner, in the back seat with a snack and some boxed juice so she doesn’t bother me so often. I recently spoke to a friend who gave me this visual to think about when referring to my self made demons. Mine mumbles from time to time about not good enough and I tell her to be quiet. She’s lucky I still let her sit in the room with me, far away and out of view. I don’t know if I can get rid of her completely but I know that she is part of me, and I’ve outgrown her power over me.

How Self Love Begins with Us.

It took a very long time and a lot of false starts to unwind the tightly wound idea in my head that I don’t deserve the best life has in store. The asshole still comes around strong from time to time. I know how to deal with her, despite the familiarity of it all. Self love has taken forms that I had never thought possible and it has always started with understanding, accepting, allowing and being ok with who I am and have become. The rituals have changed, the narrative has been altered, to allow for stronger boundaries, wiser choices and deeper forgiveness. Love is always rooted and built upon honesty. Being honest with myself about my accomplishments and my flaws has allowed me the space to grow. The darkness never quite goes away. Those who suffer know this all too well, but in the end, LOVE WINS.

Start with Self Love. It may be hard at times, you may relapse and go back to your self loathing ways. But like any recovering self loather. It about loving yourself one day at a time.

Day 6 & 7 LENT

It’s not just about the food.

The cultural and religious references defining lent have been engrained since my early upbringing. Greek culture like countless others, defines the period of lent as a way to “cleanse” the body, and ultimately the mind by abstaining from any meat, eggs, cheese or animal bi-products for 40 days before the coming of Easter, Pascha, Pasqua, Πἀσχα. All organized religions practice some sort of cleanse, renewal, in order to prepare for spiritual and mental advancement, not many follow what traditions ask of us.

For the 20 plus years I’ve lived outside of Greece, this tradition has taken a new meaning for me. Although the mark of Kathara Deytera (the official beginning of lent) as a jumping off point is lovely to partake in, I left behind the idea of eating Taramosalata and boiled Octopus, and focused more on what behaviors, thought processes, ideas and babits I needed to abstain from and ultimately do away with. It’s not just about quitting animal meat, or losing weight, but revisiting what truly unhealthy habits, we must let go of.

If we are to honestly connect with our bodies and minds in a healthier way, we have to make a concerted effort to let go of habits, behaviors, though processes that cause damage, hold us back, and keep us from our highest potential. It may be hard or easy, but ultimately rewarding to remove personal obstacles to our growth.

For the next 40 days make a choice, stick to it. A new goal, a new habit can replace an old damaging one. Removing sugar is not effective if you’re drinking 4 cups of coffee a day and smoking. A short run or a long walk can replace a cab ride, aiming for a meaningful conversation instead of pointless chatter. Abstaining from meat can be coupled with a holistic approach to food and how you prepare it, healthier food choices overall, healthier body and mind choices in the long run. My 40 day cleanse short list I’ll share with you here.

  1. remove all alcohol, spirits & coffee
  2. short run 3 times a week and weight training
  3. writing every day for this challenge
  4. spend quality time with friends and family
  5. schedule a self care session once a week.
  6. Shorten my time online that’s not work related.

write down your short list for lent. Share this experience with your loved ones, ask them to keep you accountable to your journey. See you on the other side.

27 Day writing Challenge Revived

Two years after a global pandemic – The new normal is anything but.

After taking an extended hiatus from my daily posts during this pandemic, I’ve slowly come back to establishing a forum for reflecting and discussing the issues, thoughts and ideas that have stuck with me for the past two years. I don’t think I’m alone in the creative conundrum that was born out of these times we are all living in. I’ve made small efforts to ignite thoughts that mattered, ideas that stuck, words that felt right. Now, it’s time. Of course the events that have unfolded since March 2020 are so life changing; they significantly impacted every single part of our lives. The world has been turned upside down and inside out, and I’m grateful to be alive at a time like this.

The past two years have been an immense opportunity for self reflection, global awareness, re-evaluation and re-calibration. In other ways a revelation in grasping a renewed sense of purpose. Dealing with the fear of the unknown, trusting our instincts, understanding what works and what doesn’t in our lives; is a lifelong experiment. The images, feelings and thoughts of the events that shaped those first two weeks of March 2020, felt like tectonic plates were shifting under our feet. My then daily posts felt trivial, and unnecessary in the grand scheme of the survival mode we were globally thrust into. My world became my Brooklyn neighborhood. The mental exhaustion of times we are all living through, had stigmatized any real creative juices from flowing. Growing, moving, changing cities (again), packing up my life in New York, and experimenting with a life that’s new, different and strangely familiar; are some of the things that I will be sharing with you all during the next 27 days.

now, the time has come.

There are too many things that have sparked my attention in the past two years that it seems ripe for the picking.

Join me, and welcome to my stories from the Edge (again)

Stay safe, aware, and grateful.

Letting go isn’t about giving up

Knowing when it’s time to leave things behind.

Timing is everything. We conjure up timing for our lives, loves, career choices and major life decisions. Timing is also important when choosing to let go of patterns, and self imposed identities, that no longer fit our narrative. Yes it is a matter of choice. Keeping things around that don’t fit, don’t represent who we are, and don’t add to our lives; is clutter, and we have the power to either allow them to exist without checking them or removing them from our sphere of influence. Knowing how to sift through what we need and what we don’t is a very personal and sometimes painful process.

What to keep what to let go

We all have a tendency to hold on to ideas, people, things, clothing, habits, and relationships; a little passed their due date. We get rid of food that can possibly poison us if we consume it, why not everything else? I will include myself in the Emotional Pack-rats, Memory Hoarders Anonymous (EPMHA) group. The notion that we are connected, or defined; by our stuff, our memories and our habits has been a constant source of curiosity for me in the last few years. I have held on to beliefs that no longer serve me, defined myself in a way that no longer holds true, and stuck to habits just because that’s the way I learned. In recent months I’ve shed a very harsh light on those stale stories of me and it has not been a pretty sight. (think uncooked chicken that’s been left out in the sun for a day)

Stop the Insanity

When we stop collecting and keeping up with worn out, and overused possessions, and reflections of ourselves; we make room for the ones we underestimate or undervalue. Undervaluing is also something that requires assessment when releasing old narratives that we cannot sustain or make room for any longer. Cleaning the closet, throwing out, putting away and airing out our lives is a difficult undertaking, but it’s far better than keeping shit around that no longer works. That being said; old doesn’t mean bad, and new doesn’t always mean good, but doing the same thing expecting a different result is… INSANITY.

Get a Grip/ Helping hand

Loosening our grip on our self imposed ideas, pain, and played out narrative, requires a little (a lot) of patience. Getting a strong hold on that which serves us and takes our lives to the next level; requires focus. We are the only ones who can let go of our old script, but this is not a monologue. We co-exist with others, and allowing others to lift us up, direct us towards the light and help find our inner guide; is the only true way to let go and become a better version of ourselves. One that we can be proud of, one that we can stand by, one that can thrive. Holding on to old, long debunked beliefs is often traumatizing and knowing that we can hold on when we lose our balance is absolutely imperative to finding that balance again. The beam doesn’t get any easier but deep knowing, and self knowledge comes with a community of like minded people who can give us a nudge when we need it the most.

I for one am thankful for that net (work) of hands available to hold me when I fall. Letting go isn’t about giving up; it’s about landing solidly on our feet when we fall and knowing that we can walk gallantly towards out best self.

Day 22. Know thyself.

How it can take a lifetime to rediscover who we really are.

For the past couple of years, a week before my birthday, I sit down with myself in a very introspective way and have a conversation; to figure out “where I’m at” and where I’d like to go. This is more commonly passed around as taking stock of the year that’s passed (in these lovely self help kind of circles). I prefer to see it in a different light. If you were to have a more literal approach, it’s like emptying out your backpack, doing some spring cleaning, and seeing what weighs you down and what you still need to take with you in the next year, and if you need the backpack at all.

I’ve transformed birthdays from being this morose realization of aesthetic and body aging, to more of a celebration; I’m glad I’m alive and healthy to have a go at whatever dreams, projects, ideas, and insane firsts I’ve not tackled yet. I’ve written a lot about aging and “getting” older recently because frankly it’s something that concerns me; and not in the way it concerns most people.

I find that each year we get to create, evolve, try something new, rediscover who we are, (if we really knew in the first place), and take risks to expand and remap our horizons.

I was never a fan of: “well that’s it I’ve done it all, time to hang the towel.”

In the days approaching my birthday I sit down and do a litmus test of my path so far and where I’m headed; while asking the hard questions of myself that many others would not dare ask. This process brings out some guideposts for: How to get to know yourself better.

Upon learning ourselves better, we then establish what we’re capable of. All too often we adopt labels, philosophies, societal constructs, norms and limitations (self imposed or otherwise), causing more confusion and far less clarity about who and what we want and who we really are. Without making a huge fuss, I write down what I want to work on and what I feel has run it’s course; be it with work, passions, relationships, projects, ideas, philosophies, and personal traditions. In the past I’ve taken up reading books like

The Bhagavad Gita

The Four Agreements

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Ancient Greek mythology and philosophy

and the list goes on and on, but at the end of the day these are just mere suggestions. We have to look within for our own wisdom and truths and not be pushed or pulled in directions that we don’t fully comprehend. Knowing something and really understanding it, has been my focus for the past few years, because a lot of the philosophies or ideals that I’ve adopted over the years either don’t serve me anymore or have become a roadblock to further self discovery.

I’ve written a lot about aging and “getting” older recently because frankly it’s something that concerns me; and not in the way it concerns most people.

Self knowledge and self study, requires patience, practice, risk and above all willpower. We have to want to know ourselves better to take the first step. Sort of like admitting you’re an addict is the first step to combating addiction. Getting stuck is part of the human condition, but what we possess is the innate ability to question, rephrase, recapture and reassess, in the ever winding journey to knowing ourselves fully and not just better.

This technique of course isn’t just for once a year. Taking the time to take stock, find a quiet space and reconnect with who we are (rather than who we want to be); will lead us much faster to letting go of who we are NOT.