Day 11. Caught in Flight

Nature is under scrutiny and constant attack; still she has a way to keep going despite our efforts to overpower her. Devour her.

We are at the mercy of her. This earth we have with hubris & destruction overtaken. We will awaken to our limits and have no where to go.

Running away from extinction destruction and greed. No deed left unpunished. No scheme left unscathed. We are unfazed by our audacity our capacity for change. And we choose to remain unchanged.

How long will it take? We remain chained to our past mistakes. What does it really take ? We underestimate the rate at which we will be outnumbered and overtaken.

By our own hypocrisy, their autocracy, this is not a democracy. It’s a fallacy, a game.

We’re all the same in the eyes of god they say? which god is that? I’d like to have a word please. With the higher power up in a tower that no one can see.

This one is on me…

You say your life story as your pour me another drink, I didn’t order and didn’t need. Take heed, listen to the powers that be, as you take the last sip of poison before you leave.

Day. 2 – Connected distance

How to be present and disconnected at the same time.

I often find myself getting lost in a story of me. I find that creating stories about myself is a creative coping mechanism, because sometimes it’s just easier than actually being yourself. Mind you dear reader, as you’re browsing the online version of you to see who liked it, ( as I am completely guilty of doing so as well) I see you.

I don’t consciously try to be someone other than exactly who I am. Yet! ( yes there is always a yet) the “naked”, unfiltered, version of ourselves; if we are lucky, is seen by the very few, trusted people who deserve to REALLY know us. ( even more than we know ourselves). That version is most likely hidden under layers and layers of personalities, like layers of paint on doors that don’t shut properly after the 10th coating of acrylic. We therefore create personas that make a composite “acceptable” public image.

On this second day of my writing and personal challenge, I took it upon myself to be more self aware and more self accepting. Yes I know this sounds like some Goop article but bear with me. Spending time being focused on what is within rather than around me and on my phone, gave me an opportunity to quiet the chatter, the endless discussion, debates and arguments I have with myself and allowing for me to be just me, without a reflection of a self I aim to create.

Like many of us addicts weaning myself of this insane device and the image of myself I try to portray on it; is quite often a Herculean task at best. Hell I am on a daily open, very public vulnerable writing experiment on this blog for fucks’ sake! But as I pull back the curtain to my inner world; one of my current daily practices of mediation focuses on not sticking to any one narrative or version of myself, but rather allowing for all to coexist without explanation or refinement.

We should not have to owe anyone an explanation of why or who we are. We don’t have to be any certain way, and we certainly don’t have to show anyone else a version or versions ( public or private) of ourselves that are convenient, pleasing or comforting.

To be present is to be accepting of what is at any given time, because the present is our only certainty. Disconnecting from the story or narrative of who we are at any given time is never easy. Wife, best friend, teacher, student, political activist, girlfriend, woman. Experiment by taking moments away from your public life and see what you can discover in you that no one else knows.

More on the flip side.

Angels and Sinners

No one is all good or all bad.

In recent years I’ve come to understand that people who can be beacons of kindness, can also harbor shadows of darkness and unkindness. We are all made of the cloth of “good” and “evil”.

Owing much to the stagnancy in theoretical and religious notions of someone being bad or good; we tend to forget that we are capable of one AND the other. Picking a side is not clear every time. Consciously choosing kindness, nonviolence and goodness is a work in progress and those who once sinned can be redeemed, and those who seem all loving are revealed to be the opposite.

Countless examples of world leaders, spiritual figures and people seen as poster children for all that is good in the world; are often capable of causing immense harm at the same time. Is their good then invalid? I suppose for those living in a world of absolutes; there are no exceptions. Religion wants to make us choose, doctrine states that we can’t possibly be both, yet there is a dark spot in a sea of white and a white spot in a cloud of darkness.

Yin and Yang.

An ever present reminder that there are no absolutes, we are made of both darkness and light. In the same way a pimp can be a loving father, a revered humanitarian can be an abusing, controlling partner, and an addict can have a heart of gold; we are not monolithic, and capable of redemption and destruction.

In my life I have tried many times to see the good in people who rarely see it in themselves and unearth the darkness in seemingly nice people. We all try to construct an image of ourselves and others that is cut and dry, but within the crevices of our existence, lie the myriad of ways in which we are extremely complicated and multifaceted. Oftentimes we see only what we want to see.

Good and Bad are not extremes. They are not just clear cut choices. Because we are not just one or the other. We are both.

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)

How you project yourself may not be how other people see you.

Photograph by Eric Snell (@esnelldesign)

We’ve all had that moment.

We are projecting one version of ourselves, yet a completely different person is being reflected back at us.

We see ourselves one way and others see us in a completely different light.

Where do these two perceptions clash?

Most of it is based on people’s own stream of consciousness and not what we project.

We think no one is noticing us, while there are clearly people drawn to us, our energy, and who we are. Or the idea of who we might be in their head. We hardly notice or welcome people’s gaze, attention, or reflections of us, in a society where everyone is on social media posting every aspect of our lives.

Yet… with all this communication, there is clearly a big deficit in actual communication.

I’ve done this many times and I’m sure everyone does. 

I fantasize about who people are, rather than actually seeing them for who they are.

My exploration of these dual realities and images comes at a very pivotal time. I have only recently discovered what I can simply call “my authentic self”. I am still battling with my perceived awkwardness of the pimply shy teenager I used to be, the one no one wants to talk to, and everyone makes fun of, and there are plenty of times I think I’m still that awkward girl. I often hope I go unnoticed, lurking in the shadows observing others.

I battled that fear of exposure, and people taking notice of who I was, or who they thought I was,  when I posed for various photographers in the five years I’ve lived in New York. Some nude, some for Yoga purposes, some for fun. I continue to be open and vulnerable in my recent work performing my poetry in front of complete strangers. (that was a challenge!)

In every instance I haven’t seen myself as particularly attractive, interesting or photogenic, but more theatrical and obscure. A curiosity.

Yet the response I get from people, is that of someone who is quite different. After I turned 40 all the shyness and awkwardness of my youth has slowly faded away.

Claiming space, claiming my worth, my voice, beauty, or image as a woman; has been a very interesting exploration. But I’m still baffled at how others perceive me.

How we see ourselves may not be hour others see us. 

We are shaped by a myriad of references. Cultural experiences being one of them. I grew up in Greece in the late 70’s and 80’s  and then again in the early 2000’s. Despite my American accent and passport, everything about who I am and have become is shaped by my life in Greece. Recently a friend said to me “oh you’re such a Greek-American!” which is a blatant fact. I belong to two worlds, two camps, two realities. Often opposing each other vehemently. Depending on my surroundings; like a chameleon I absorb cultural references I grew up with, and mold them to my current reality. You never know what you’re going to get!

Yet time and time again, others who observe us, will see something purely based on their own perceptions. We ALL do that, sometimes to our advantage, sometimes to our detriment.

Next time you observe someone, before you impose your idea of them, let them unfold in front of you unobstructed by your own perceptions.

You might be surprised by what you receive.

Nobody is Perfect

Γηράσκω δ’ αἰεὶ πολλὰ διδασκόμενος.

I grow old ever learning many things. — Solon of Athens.


For as long as I can remember I’ve fought against a perpetual ideal, the constant striving and constant self critical cycle of wanting to be the best at something ( or die trying??) and missing out on what my failures are teaching me in order to become better.

Well Yes “No one is perfect.”

We are taught at a very young age to strive for betterment, perfection, ideal, the “best” of something and at something. We fight for grades, we pull all nighters to get a degree, we deprive ourselves of comfort, sleep, and sanity to reach a higher goal and achievement. And when our flaws are pointed out to us or we fail at something we tried, so hard for, we repeat ourselves its ok… “Well… no one is perfect”. And often we give up.

Yet, perfection or the attaining of it in its original form is a flawed premise. It defeats the purpose of a teachable moment, its gives us an excuse to stay focused on an unattainable unreachable ideal rather than the beauty of constantly improving and learning from our own imperfection. We have to keep saying : it’s ok I suck at this and I’m not good enough right now, but I won’t give up”. We give in to this ideal in our minds,  yet perfection isn’t what we should be aiming for in the first place.

Of course no one is perfect. There is no such thing.

Perfection isn’t the point. It’s the mastery, improving, evolving and learning from our mistakes. Perfection is a fallacy, it’s a mirage. And those who battle with perfection, reaching it, attaining it or embodying it, are losing on the beauty and necessity of imperfection.

One of my favorite Ashtanga Yoga teachers is in my eyes absolutely perfect. He is my ideal practitioner and teacher. He is kind, loving, supportive, funny and a really cool dude, as well as probably the most accomplished Ashtanga Yoga teachers worldwide. I credit a lot of my teaching ethics to him ( I won’t say his name cause that’s not the point). Yet one day, during a workshop I was attending, this seemingly perfect teacher with all the answers, said that he still struggles with a pose I find absolutely excruciatingly difficult, even though it’s not considered that challenging.

And I felt a wave of irony and laughter filling my lungs.

What??? This guy is not perfect? He has flaws, he struggles with poses, but he’s like a god! And all of a sudden, the way I saw my own practice and of course my whole relationship with yoga changed. I no longer aspired to be the best most perfect practitioner of all time, (which wasn’t a realistic goal to begin with) but to be the most empathetic, supportive, driven, and disciplined I could be with all my physical flaws and imperfections.

Let’s be honest; when someone tells you “well you’re not perfect… but….”  run far away. Because perfection is stagnancy and a bad excuse for not trying harder, not evolving and improving on what you already have. Perfection as a measure of character is also unrealistic and this pervasive thought that if you’re not perfect you aren’t good enough; isn’t helpful for betterment.

Challenging our boundaries, finding ways to advance our craft, our selves, our way of thinking means fully accepting that we’re all works in progress, constantly improving and learning.

We will never reach perfection and that is just perfect.

Day 17 & 18. Perspective/Spring Cleaning

Post 17 and 18 of 27.

It’s a very quiet Sunday night, and I thought a lot about what I wanted to highlight at the end of this very productive and exhausting weekend. Perspective was one thing that came to mind this morning. Our perception of ourselves and other people has mainly to do with our perspective in life. If we see all things in a negative light, only negative reactions will follow each action we take. In stark contrast however I find that, even if something negative happens, we can either choose to see it that way, or to discover the positive outcome in an unfortunate situation.

There are moments when I get lost in the exhausting unfairness of the world, and in the disproportionate mishaps and unforeseen twists to my plans, as opposed to things working out just as I imagined them. In the end there is something to be gained from each situation; despite its original intent. My perspective shifts because I choose to alter my perception. These two go hand in hand in how we can navigate our lives.

I’m not here to preach about some amazing trick to positive thinking, but to put it in the context of an awareness that will get us out of a lot of dead ends, which brings me to my second topic of spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning as a concept is pretty straightforward, but in the light of changing perception and perspective, it helps to do a session of spring cleaning with our patters, our theories on life, and our perception of the world. When you clean a dirty mirror; your images will be clearer and you won’t have to make assumptions based on false or inaccurate information. I do this not only with my own home, which I consider my sanctuary and my place of peace but also with the people in my life, and the internal and external set of moral codes I’ve set for myself.

Spring cleaning allows us to not only see what we have; but what we may not need any more.  Ideas, things, belongings, our use of time, space, and mental focus. De-cluttering, re- evaluating, unpacking, rearranging our perceptions and perspective will make space for new, fresh and more valuable things to come in.

Clean house, clean mind, clean heart.

Just a little before the first day of spring.

What will go let go of, during your spring cleaning?