I am embarking on a new journey this spring and it begins with the concept of giving and receiving. Truthfully, I never thought I would be taking this trip because I didn’t think I had a problem with giving and receiving, but here I am admitting that indeed, I do have some things I need to address when looking into its harmony within my life.
By nature, I am a taker. Is it due to my AB blood type or the fact that I am the youngest child in my family? This could be a factor. But what can I say? I like receiving—attention, care, love, affection, time, moments, things, my sister’s clothes, you name it. But when it comes to giving…I have lagged in this department for some time. Recently, I realized there were many things I wanted but wasn’t getting. I met up with a friend and told her my frustrations and you know what she said to me—what have you given? And the answer was nothing—I’ve given nothing.
And people forget that to give is to receive.
If you want joy, give joy to other people,
if you want attention, give attention to other people,
if you want appreciation, give appreciation to other people,
if you want peace, give peace to other people,
if you want love, give love to other people.
My first step is simple—I need to rewrite my concept of giving and start practicing it within my life. I am still implementing and integrating this into my life in small ways. But I was wondering what other ways we can give to people? I am a novice and I really want to find out more!
Today, I looked in the mirror and asked - “What is power? And how do I exercise it in my life?”
I soon realized that I felt shy about power and didn’t really exercise it in my life. And not surprisingly, I found that I associate power with loneliness, pain and critique.
I am not really going to elaborate on this topic because I am still parsing out my own thoughts about this. But I wanted to bring it here for other women to contemplate.
How have you shunned power in your own life because you feared loneliness and pain? Can we change this dialogue on power? Can we shift our thinking and perceptions about power to really own it?
If there is one thought I have fully formulated it is the fact we need more women in leadership and decision making positions in society. And how can we do this, if we fear power?
Breathe in that good ass prana, baby. Anyone else connecting to this spring energy with so much love and affection? I am resonating with these new vibes so much, even as I write I am smiling.
Take time this week to reassess your goals, wants and needs. Pick up a pen and write down what you want to see in your life. Cross out people, things and energies you just don’t want around you anymore.
Meditate. Intend. Plant seeds, cut out weeds, nurture your truths and manifest growth.
I started yoga in January 2014. I wasn’t really good considering I am not very flexible but I didn’t go to yoga to become good at it, I started yoga to cope with anxiety and depression.
I went into class with no expectations (except I did have expectations), got on the mat and just did what I could and I really couldn’t do much. Handstands were out of the question, downward dog could only be held for maybe 4 breathes and not 10, and sometimes I just had to get into a child’s pose to recoup.
This is what I did until maybe three months in and realized I had a lot of stipulations on what I could and could not do. And then I tried. I tried to go five breathes in downward dog, get a good base for a handstand, decrease the number of child’s poses and still I wasn’t getting far.
Somehow, the mat became a playground for my life. I felt like even if I did try or decided to not try, the outcome was the same—me not really succeeding. So I huffed and I puffed, got frustrated and nothing changed.
And then I went to TJ’s 9pm class.
TJ was really good looking, like people would go to his class to just see TJ and make mistakes so he could come over and fix your pose. Mind you, I thought TJ was hot but he was really into handstands and as mentioned before, I could not do a handstand so I avoided his classes. But low and behold, I went to his class that night and I wasn’t really feeling “the yoga vibe”, if anything I was debating on going home.
I was tired and stressed but I got onto the mat and I set my intention —just breathe. And that’s what I did. Yes, I struggled and I really wasn’t that great but when the going got tough I just breathed through it and I forgot about my stipulations and my need to get better and just got really sweaty and concentrated on my next breathe. I surpassed all my shit and actually completed a whole yoga class without stopping.
And when we said the final namaste to each other, TJ looked up at me and smiled.
“You finally connected to your breathe and flowed,” TJ said. I laughed and realized how easy it was all along.
My father came up to tell my mother that a boy had died in Nestani, my mother’s home town in Greece. Do you know him, my father asked. Sitting in the other room, I felt my whole world solidify into a prayer, please not you. Getting up from bed, my mother’s eyes reached mine and asked if I had remembered him, the man with the photographs. Relief held my hand in that moment but could not tempt my heart and mind from reeling, we don’t have that much time left.
The man who died was someone I had only met for mere moments and yet he was memorable. He had a drug addiction, his father had been the owner of a cafe that closed years back but most importantly, he was an artist. He saw beauty in this world and my soul knew that, recognized him and remembered.
To think that some random girl many miles away can hold his memory dear makes my heart soften.
All good awaits you in the future
Never let the love and light in and around you
fade or dim.
Flow like a crisp fall river
stand tall and grounded like a mountain
let fire burn any uncertainty
and may the wind give and guide you towards your direction.
This week while lounging at my friend's place I happened upon a book of poetry. Old with the binding coming undone, I did what most witches do--open to a random page and see what poem I got. As you could have guessed from the title, at random selection, I fell upon the famous soliloquy of Hamlet (Act 3, Scene 1).
Having read Hamlet and other Shakespeare plays almost eight years ago, I really don't remember a single thing. When someone says Shakespeare, I summon a picture of an actor guy foaming with love for anything Shakespeare and going to a "modern rendition" of MacBeth.
So, on this random Wednesday afternoon I had the joy and pleasure of reading this poem/soliloquy and found my heart soaring. I finally got what Hamlet was talking about.
To be or not to be that is the question. How many times had I uttered that same sentiment this summer trying to figure out what to do with my life? Is it noble to suffer? Suffer a job I can't stand? Suffer as an artist? Can we, as humans transcend gravity and the flesh we are heir to? When I get older, as a female, will my dreams be utterly smashed, since only the youthful and beautiful have a place in this world? When will the planets stop being in retrograde? Because the natural shocks and heartache that I have been feeling for the past month have been brutal. By opposing society and the opinions of others will I win against my troubles? But most of all, when I die, will what I have done on this Earth be for love or bent to the will of fear?
I really don't know. All I know is Hamlet is my homie.
For anyone who, like me, needs a refresher on Hamlet's soliloquy, here it is below:
Tripoli is a city 7km away from my father’s village. My first memories of this considered “unremarkable” city in Greece was begging my parents to take me to the plateia to rent a bike with my cousins. But tonight, my memories will hold Tripoli’s inky black nights, the darkest hours, into some paradise.
I’ve made a habit of walking alone at night here, even though I hear the reprimands of my grandmother and mother on my shoulders to not be out so late at night. But this rebellion is quite intoxicating. I feel like some liberated misfit, all I really need to feel the part is a cigarette and skateboard.
Maybe given my misfit role and late night roams, I love graffiti, especially in Greece. Because essentially graffiti is the art of the night souls, the ones that hide in the daylight and can only be true when the eyes of society have gone to sleep.
A game I like to play consists of imagining the artists behind the spray can. I imagine the 19 year old boy stuck between his parents’ expectations of becoming a computer engineer and pursuing his dream of becoming a Greek rapper. A girl utterly infatuated with an Albanian boy.
I guess I am a bit of a romantic, dreaming of all the artists and hoping that one day, the truths of the night find space in the daylight.
Shoutout to Drake for his amazing new album Scorpion. If one thing has gone right this week, it is the fact that I’ve been listening to Drake.
I challenged myself by only allotting an hour a day for my phone.
The first day, I realized quickly how much my brain loves checking my phone. With this realization, I became stubborn--I did not want to become a slave to a screen.
After not being connected for 24/7, I became aware that NO ONE GIVES A SHIT. Updating your Instagram with a great sunset picture or a good selfie is hardly a blimp on anyone’s people's radar.
So instead of looking down at your phone for answers, look up. What time is it? Ask the stranger next to you. If they react with "Don't you have a phone?", reply with "Yes, I do, but I'm trying to have a conversation with you." See if a conversation can come out of it. Tell them about your phone challenge. The weather! Who cares, just ask a question. And this, is the art of conversation, the willingness to connect. It's as simple as a question. So, get out there! I wish I was more radical and dropped my phone all together, maybe I will one day.
I came to your lands and found a ground that slowly nursed a grieving heart. Little by little, you fed me with sidewalk mysteries and the knowing that there will always be another moment.
Disclaimer: First time, I've written anything in Greek, so pardon any mistakes.
Το σταυροδρόμι. Μια καρδιά με πολλές ιστορίες. Έχει πολλά ονόματα αλλά η Θεσσαλονίκη είναι μοωαδικό χωριό. Γιατί, λέτε; Πού αλλού μπορείς να βρεις μια πόλη που έχει τοσά πολλά; Πολλές ιστοριές απο Ρωμαικές, Ελληνικές, και Τουρκικές γλώσσες που τραγουδούνε για την γλυκιά φιλοξενία της Θεσσαλονίκης.
Άλλα πρώτα ωα πούμε κάτι για τα όμορφα ιστορικά μέρη της πόλης. Η Θεσσαλονίκη έχει μια παράθαλάσσια θέση. Άπο το καράβι, το κλασικό αξιοθέατρο της Θεσσαλονίκης που μπορείς να δεις είναι ο Λευκός Πύργος. Και αν έχεις μάτια, μπορείς ωα δεισ την Άνω Πολή και τα καστρα. Προτιμάμε να πάτε στην Άνω Πολη και να δείτε τα παραδοσιακα σπίτια. Προς κάτω απο την Άνω Πολή είναι τη Ροτόντα και η Καμαρα, εκεί βλέπεις το Ρωμανϊκο στιλ. Απο την άλλη πλευρά είναι η πλατεία Αριστοτέλους εκεί πρέπει να δείτε την Αγορά και το Καμανι.
Η Θεσσαλονίκη είναι μια παλιά πολή που έχει δει πολλά πράγματα. Άλλα είναι γλυκιά σε ολους. Πάρε μια μπουγάτσα και ένα καφεδάκι και να κάνεις μια βόλτα. Και όταν είσαι μέσα στην αγορά, στα Λαγκαδια για φαγητό και μουσική, η κάτω στην παραλία...να ξερείς ότι η Θεσσαλονίκη σ’γαπάει.
September came and went, so did October, and now I look at November and see December on the horizon. Summer was wild and after getting off the roller coaster of love, sun, and family, Autumn brought a much needed pause. A pause to look at my ego and here is what I found:
L E S S O N | 1
Get out of your head. On a rollercoaster, you don't have time to think, you react and hope for the best. But when life is on a break and you have time, energy, and a whole lot of feelings to sort out, the Ego comes out to play. And when it does come out to play, get off the basketball court, don't give it food. Starve it. I found music the most helpful of remedies.
L E S S O N | 2
You are going to breakdown. You will cry. You will need to dig a hole, hibernate, retreat, eat, and be a grinch. And when you get the "hook feeling", that sinking notion that pulls you down...remember that this attachment can only be released if you let it go. So relax, let go, and forgive yourself.
L E S S O N | 3
Everything happens for a reason.
L E S S O N | 4
Nothing good gets away. Trust me.
L E S S O N | 5
Social Media can turn into an addiction quite quickly and is a vortex of Ego-shit. So take a break from it. You are much more than your profile. Dive into some knowledge, good literature, and get started on things you have been delaying. Likes on a picture <<<< living.
L E S S O N | 6
Get outside. Surprise! But you aren't the center of the world. Look at the beauty around you. Stay in gratitude, always.
Peace, love, and happiness to all.
I realized my comfort could be achieved if I wrapped my arms around you. And my legs upon you too.
I wonder if you can feel my inch of a thought.
One thought that I keep, a solace, is the running of a moment. Someone once compared it to the ground barely touching a wheel in motion. I now wish I knew the exact phrase just so I can convey it’s space. I want to put into words without the description, the existence of the ground and wheel barely meeting –and I don’t know how.
This new era, for me announces my vulnerabilities, all my own right away. Am I brave enough? For now I am not: because I come from pleasure-masked suffering, I come from the hell of not loving and I am not free of you.
I am uncomfortable.
I am now listening to the pop music coming from a coming car, with its pounding bass where an Albanian boy lives the present. The music is now a light echo, another instant gone, and something terrible happens to me.
It’s that this will all pass. I shall pass. I can’t stop and I’m scared. And I am not at the moment where the real pounding has stopped but in the middle, where I will take up the drum soon. It only now has revealed the tree. Do I dare look at the deep roots lying beneath? I don’t write from the depths of roots but at the shadow of the tree on the edge. I write the glimpse of the roots.
A free verse
I write while laying on the ground, trying to sleep. My bed, a bundle of blankets with two pillows, softens the tile floor but since I have a fortune for sleeping on my belly, my back curves upward. By morning, this upward inclination will make me cranky, cantankerous, moody on our drive to the mountains.
I turn over, belly up and ready for a rub like an open cat. Today, my mischief is hidden back by my wisdom teeth.
Whether it's my cat or wisdom, I have a knowing that my role in life is changing.
Tonight, with the full moon overhead I will twist and turn with no comfort, released. I'm shedding. Slinking, growling, mad, and confused. Shedding, I said. But with what?
Reference your Latin grammar to speak about the hammer, the instrument, with which you used to clear your skin. Peeled row to toe, downward strokes like a Tunisian scrub, I am being reborn. I didn't grow hard nor soft, but changed the water like boiled coffee. I love coffee. And I gave it up. Yet again, this skin sheds this too.
Skin, Coffee, moments shed. I am a new material, elementally basic / physically unrestrained. Finger by finger, I pulled gloves off his fabricated lust. But that was yesterday and today, I will be moving forward.
One thing I have always admired about Max is his ability to do whatever the hell he wants to do. Truly quite amazing to someone who does everything everyone else wants me to do and hides the things that they do want to do.
An introduction to Max would include him saying: "Hello, my name is Max and I am from ze Ukraine." Overall, he is the most annoyingly endearing person you have ever met. Aside from the fact that he is crazy, which is quite refreshing to me right now.
My first real encounter with Max was last Thanksgiving and we had to put up the Christmas tree at my parent’s restaurant. Max, not really wanting to bus tables decided to become the head designer for the Christmas tree, enthusiastically telling us where to put the ornaments.
I thought it was hilarious. Nothing gets me laughing like a great accent and at one point, Max, in his creative liberties, balancing on a ladder to get one last ornament in place, started shouting in broken English that in fact, he was too high up and it was way to dangerous to be up on the ladder.
The night may have ended with me peeing in my pants because he was literally to funny.
Anyways, I’m settling into my life here in Greece and my dad, who has officially made Max his partner in crime called to see how he is doing.
"Hello Max!" I shout across the room as my dad and Max Facetimed.
“Hello Demi!” Max shouts in his Ukrainian accent making my name sound more like Day-mee.
My quick greeting becomes a full fledged hour conversation with Max.
We talk about Solange's new album, that I am pressing him to listen to, and the tres leches cake we baked "together" (it was sole ordeal), and somehow I end up telling him all my hopes and dreams. How I feared what will happen to the future of Syria and the lives of the many refugees now stationed in Greece. I talked about wanting to sail all of Greece and how we needed to start taking care of mother Earth and the impeding climate change. I also talked about people’s assumptions about females traveling alone and how prevalent sexism was in our world today.
Somehow, Max brought me back to the reason I came to Greece. With my dad leaving tomorrow and getting settled in in my new place, I lost track of my purpose. My purpose being that I want to explore and see what is actually happening in this world. It could be as simple as how people react to me saying I’m traveling alone for a while to as complex as the refugee crisis. And I’m so ready to explore and be like Max, do whatever the hell I want to do.