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.

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Day 23&24. The Art of Letting go

How to live and thrive in permanent impermanence.

Some people, never leave their childhood home, their street or their country. There are thousands more, who blissfully spend their lives, gathering memories, living in the same neighborhood they grew up in since childhood, and never have an impulse or desire to go anywhere else. I unfortunately (or fortunately) am not one of those people. I have moved into and out of almost 20 houses and apartments, 3 countries, and two continents, ( and counting) since I was a child, and currently call New York my home. After arriving here and sleeping in and on every bed and couch I could find; I settled in (it found me) a place I could really call home. This to a person who lived out of suitcase for almost 2 years upon arriving in New York was like an oasis in a real estate desert.

I’ve made my home here, I’ve made and lost friends here and after six years I realized (again), that absolutely nothing is permanent. Much like nature sheds its winter coat and welcomes spring; newness, renewal and re- calibration happens in our lives every day whether we notice or not. There will be moments (too many to count) where what was; is no longer and the more accepting we are of that reality, the less painful transitions and changes will become.

Yet we know that impermanence is allusive. Within our understanding that nothing is forever, we still get attached, connected and dependent on the idea that what is here today will absolutely be there tomorrow. Having grown up in Greece, where impermanence is our “soup du jour”; as part of our national identity we’ve learned to deal with massive and often destructive changes in our lives, and most recently in the last 10 years. What comes to mind when grappling with the lack of permanence in my life I tend to consult sage Greek sayings.

Greeks often sum up the permanence of impermanence with this phrase: ουδέν μονιμότερον του προσωρινού (nothing is more permanent than impermanence) . I find that for the uncertainty that has become the norm, keeping a healthy understanding of Non- Attachment, while enjoying what we have in the present moment, can alleviate the idea of “forever”.

Till then enjoy what you have now and don’t take anything for granted.

Featured Image by Filmmaker/Photographer: Alexandros Maragos

Random Thoughts- On failure and redemption.

What makes us brave is not avoiding failure, but the ability to get back on track after falling.

Lack of success

We all fuck up. We all take a wrong turn. We all make wrong decisions; often more than once. In recent months I’ve had some very profound discussions with self pronounced failures, who despite their own perceptions; have shown far more determination in continuing on their path to success rather than avoiding or languishing on the presence of failure.

In my mind what clearly separates the brave ones from the cowards are the ones who fail; big, and then get up. Pick up the pieces and keep going.

I always have been very bad at admitting failure. As a youngster I wanted to adopt the role of little miss perfect, I could do no wrong, therefore everyone was happy. Yet understanding the value of failure and its necessity; is understanding the basis of future success. Over the years, and after many failures (small and big); I have found that only through those have I grown, learned and was driven to keep going in my pursuits.

the omission of expected or required action

Those who never falter, who don’t risk, or admit failure; are clearly not going to create much success either. We all know at least one such person. The ones who preach perfection, the ones who have it all figured out, the ones who never, bend, take a leap of faith, or follow their dreams into the unknown. The ones who haven’t publicly or privately eaten shit and admitted it.

One person’s failure is another person’s success.

Those who fail big and keep going in most cases are the same ones who are harshly critical of their own accomplishments. I was speaking to a friend recently about a very accomplished explorer and world cartographer, who by his own admission was an utter failure. Any bystander (including myself) who knew nothing of this man’s idea of himself would probably thing he was stark raving mad, and yet; failure is a very personal matter.

Unwilling to Fail/Not recognizing success

After all is said and done, one of the strongest examples of failure is having not tried at all. Being stringent and strict with those who fail, is often shown by those who have failed and won’t admit it, but far more often by those who fear failure and risk more than anything else. Failure requires vulnerability, courage, stupidity, callousness and imperfection. Those same elements are some of the same ingredients of success.

Life is short- Fail

Inasmuch as I have failed or succeeded in my recent endeavors; (and only time will tell) I’ve let go of a lot of what both of those mean. And after seeing how short and precious life is, failure is far more adventurous than sitting at home, living a life half lived, full of comfort and predictability. Having the chance to try, fail and then try again is really what life is all about.