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  • Vision ~ and more

    Set 25 2007, 1:45

    Vision 2007-05-01
    Filed under: Writings — admin @ 7.17 pm
    I am a man possessed and obsessed with the future, a man of vision. My vision through faith brings me hope and hope drives me to possess and inhabit what I see! I do not focus on the future at the sacrifice of the present, such would be out of balance, it is my vision of the future that helps me to fully live in the moment and the moment that helps me to see the future. The future reveals the power and potential of the present and the present reveals the power and potential of the future, there is a circle, a wheel, and in the center of that wheel I have found him and in him I have found myself and within myself I have found destiny. I write what I see then see what I have written. When a force opposes my vision I do not allow it to blind my eyes. When a contradiction presents itself, I do not consider it, I overcome it with truth. In moments when I feel hopeless, forsaken, or discouraged, I look to the future and find in it a comforting hope, a best friend, a voice of encouragement and affirmation. Without a vision people dwell carelessly. Vision is absolutely necessary if one is to fulfill their unique purpose in life and achieve their destiny. What is my vision? Hope for the hopeless, freedom for the captive, healing for the hurting. Reaching the unreachable and touching the untouchable. Through music, writing, speaking, photography, video, through all forms of media, I will enter the kingdoms of this world and speak a word of hope, shine a ray of light, be a father a brother a friend. I want to show the world the truth of life and love. Vision is one of the primary driving forces of my life, without vision my writings would not exist, my music would have no passion, my photographs and videos would have no meaning, I would never have traveled, I would never have met some of the dearest and most influential people of my life. Vision drives me to explore, to fearlessly go. I will leap out onto nothing and I will find something there. I will leave reasoning and logic behind when necessary. I will take risks. I will let go of all fear and doubt. I will free my mind. I will follow my dreams. This is my life, this is my day, this is my hour, this is my moment and it is a precious gift, I shall not let it slip away.

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    Nothing To Prove
    Filed under: Writings — admin @ 7.17 pm
    There is a wonderful principle I have discovered and now seek to live by, I call it “nothing to prove” and it has set me free to simply be myself in each moment without a bunch of disclaimers, without illusions or masks or games, without hidden agendas or ulterior motives, without comparison and competition. All of this I have left far behind me, I now seek to thrust out forward in love as raw and genuine as possible - Niko - with nothing to prove. It has set me free in my music. It has set me free in my writing. It has set me free to make mistakes. It has set me free to simply be who I am without always feeling like I have to explain or justify myself. With nothing to prove there’s never a need to show anything off nor is there ever a need to put anything extra on! Having “to prove” takes emphasis off of me just being who I am and puts it on me trying to prove who I am. Me being who I am vs. me trying to prove who I am are two very different things. When I catch myself trying to prove something, I always feel selfish, dissatisfied, even captive to something shallow and cheap. But when I seek to simply be who I am, I feel freedom and a free flow, no fear! Let me share a few examples from my own life…

    I Am Who I Am - When I’m with someone who is sharing their perspective on something I view differently, I no longer feel like I HAVE to speak up for the purpose of letting them know I disagree. I simply remind myself that I am who I am and that I have nothing to prove and with that I am able to keep my mouth shut. There are certain times when I do speak but there are many more times when wisdom keeps me silent. I once saw silence as a statement of agreement but now I know that is not true. My silence may at times be interpreted as agreement but I will not let such a thing make me feel obligated to speak for I am who I am no matter what another’s conclusions are of me, if I never speak again I still am who I am.

    Expressions - Nothing to prove has encouraged me countless times while sharing my music in situations where I was limited by things such as poor equipment, time restraints, no back up instruments. I never let those things stop me or make me feel like I had to explain how much better I could sound if. . .I simply sang with what I had to work with at that moment, no self disclaimers, no sound apologies. And while I may have only been able to shine in shades of black and white, there were still unique color combinations in each of those moments. In all that I do, I simply give it my best and with nothing to prove I always find rest. In my writing, Nothing To Prove has set me free to be fresh, funny, unique, expressive, creative, crazy, even risky! I simply seek to be who I am, I set aside all outside expectations and look within myself for how and what to write. I abandon all rules rooted in fear and doubt to be guided by the only rule I seek to live by - Truth. Since I have nothing to prove, I am not seeking to impress anyone and since I am not seeking to impress anyone then my audience just as well be everyone as much as no one. While I sometimes write to man, I never write for man. In writing to man and not for man I eliminate both the pleasure of his approval and the pain of his rejection and find a perfect and complete balance in the tender unfailing arms of my Love.

    Silence - Nothing to prove has helped me remain silent in moments when I have been wrongfully judged, terribly misunderstood, and even betrayed. I have sought to be who I am and allow time to reveal truth to those who were open to listen. If one or all choose to believe a lie concerning me, I fear not for it can never change the truth of who I really am. If I am misunderstood, it may challenge me but it shall not change me except possibly teach me to try to be more clear. If I am betrayed I am non the less than more for humbly enduring such a dark deed. Nothing To Prove has kept me silent in the presence of foolish words. I learned such sound wisdom from one of my favorite books - Proverbs. 23:9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words. 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

    Free Flow - Living in a FREE FLOW, that’s what Nothing To Prove is ALL about! If someone cannot perceive me through my simple daily free flow, I no longer seek to try and prove my gifts, abilities, knowledge, or future. I do not speak of a past success story, a future dream, or an experience that will make them somehow see me or respect me or admire me, no, I seek to flow, for me every moment in life is all about freely flowing, it’s about me just being me, always seeking to excel expand grow and progress and just be my unique self in the process. I see myself as water and if someone chooses not to drink of me why shall I seek to wet their lips with planned out “to prove” methods? That gets too complex, I have discovered such beautiful simplicity in the “free flow”, it’s the only true method for me. I have concluded that: I am who I am, respected or disrespected, understood or misunderstood, embraced or rejected, praised or persecuted, I have nothing to prove. If a person can’t see me, I’m not interested in trying to pry their eyes open. Likewise, if I can’t see another person, maybe we just need sometime.

    Falling To Rise - Free to make mistakes? Ah, yes, nothing to prove has set me free to be the seeker that I am and take risks and make mistakes in the process. Let me say - Not free to be foolish, not free to have no accountability, not free to have no borders or boundaries but, yes, free to fly further than I’ve ever flown and sometimes crash in the process. I am a man who believes that love is all, undoubtedly yes, but I do not remain in known territory in fear that I might fly too far out and shatter some lovely track record. With pure motives and intentions I boldly set out in search of greater heights, deeper depths, fresh territory! So I float out into new waters sometimes having my ship crashed with waves so ugly and cold but also discovering warm beauty untold! In the scale of it all I am rising, realizing, becoming who I know I am and desire to be - a man after my Love’s own heart.

    Humility - For me, nothing to prove is about humility. It’s about unpriding myself after years of pride programming in a world that primarily revolves on one act of pride after another, a world of selfish systems that survive on what is seemingly so sweet yet clearly destined to choke on its own bitter vomit. It’s about me conquering my selfish human nature to claim victory on the battlefield of my mind in the most challenging war I have ever fought - love vs. selfishness - which one will win in every moment is up to me, if I am wise I will fight for what I know is true and let love fly its flag high from the castle of my heart.

    Vision - Although I am not presently walking in all of that which I have written, I believe that if I write what I see then I will see what I have written and this gives me the freedom to express as I do. I am a man possessed and obsessed with the future, a man of vision. My vision through faith brings me hope and hope drives me to possess and inhabit what I see! Tomorrow is a comforting assurance today for tomorrow speaks to me of rising when I have fallen today, tomorrow is my best friend today for tomorrow speaks to me of a joyous shout when I am sorrowfully silent today. Tomorrow is my bright hope when today I feel dark despair. I look forward to tomorrow for it is my rescue line of answer when I’m stuck in a moment of question today. While today I may walk in hate I have hope for I’ve seen that tomorrow holds a love I will run with! Today my heart may pant and bleed but tomorrow it will boldly beat a drum so loud the world will hear!

    Tomorrow - It takes hope to believe in tomorrow and tomorrow to have hope for if I have no hope then I have no tomorrow, likewise if I have no tomorrow then I have no hope. And if I need faith and vision to see tomorrow then without faith and vision I am hopeless. “Perfect love casts out all fear” and if fear must be cast out for me to have faith then only perfect love can set me free to believe and hope and see tomorrow! Once again I see that that to understand love is to understand all things. “Tomorrow”? It means many things. You must define it as you see it, but one thing it undoubtedly speaks of to us all is the future, tomorrow is ALL about the future and what it holds. For me, tomorrow is everything from the next 24 hour time span to my vision of the next decade to my eternal existence. What does tomorrow hold that would make me speak as I do? I see much light love and truth. I see hope for the hopeless, freedom for the captive. I see healing for the hurting. I see myself reaching the unreachable and touching the untouchable. I see a reason to live, a reason to give, I see something worth giving all of myself to, that’s how important tomorrow is to me! – Niko

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    No Limitations
    Filed under: Writings — admin @ 7.15 pm
    If I could convince you that there weren’t ANY LIMITATIONS and you knew for a fact it was absolutely true, what would you throw out? What mindsets and thinking patterns would you cease to embrace? What media programs would you stop watching? What books would you burn? What places would you stop going? What people would you stop associating with? What job would you quit? What drugs would you stop taking? What opinions, ideas and philosophies would you crucify? Now, considering that there are no limitations, how do you see yourself? How do you see the world? How do you see your music if you are a musician? How do you see your writings if you are a writer? How do you see your patients if you are a doctor? How do you see your students if you are a teacher? How do you see your baked goods if you are a baker? How do you see your new business if you are an entrepreneur? How do you see your family and friends and children? How do you see your future? and mine? The truth is that such does exist. There is a place where one can walk and live, a place that knows NO LIMITATIONS. And if you diligently seek after it, you will find it. You can know who you REALLY are and go where you were created to go. Destiny is yours if you want it. You can have deep satisfaction and genuine happiness. You can see tomorrow while living in today. Limitations only exist in the minds of those who choose to embrace fear and doubt. Truth’s sword prevails over all darkness, it is truth that can set you free, it is truth that knows no limitations. If you can see it then you can enter it and become it!

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    Cast The Vision
    Filed under: Journal — admin @ 12.55 am
    My vision is to spread a message of hope and love to the world through my art of music. It is why I was born and it is what drives me each and every day to give all.

    My hope is that as I cast my vision to people around the world through myspace and other means, they will rise up and join with me to help spread my music and its message. I am not concerned about the color of one’s skin. I am not concerned about one’s religious faith or political views. I am a minstrel, a messenger, a mouthpiece, not a racist, a priest, nor a politician.

    Each and every person who reads this has the power to help me fulfill my dream. How? Take a few minutes to listen to my songs, if they touch you, share them with others. “Play it forward”. It’s that simple. Email the mp3’s to your friends, burn a CD and give it to someone you think will appreciate it, share my web address NikoOnline.com with as many people as possible, that’s how it happens. One tells another who tells another…and the next thing you know it will spread across each continent. I do not seek fame or glory or power or riches, I seek purpose and destiny, I seek to make a positive difference in this world.

    I do not have the backing and support of a major record label, but people everywhere are showing me that it is possible for my music to spread at an exponential rate simply through word of mouth. We’re getting back to the basics, folks. Radio and TV are no longer in control, no longer dictating what is hip and relevant, what will and will not be heard. Convention is out the window. Rules are not just being bent, they are being broken. A new genre is emerging and it’s called “UNCLASSIFIABLE”. A new breed of artists have been born and are growing up, questioning things, pioneering a fresh and new path! Artists like myself no longer have to bow down to the rules and regulations of the “industry”. Each of us make our own rules, they are called Truth, they are called Heart and Soul, they are called Inspiration, they are called Passion and Honesty, they are called Being True To One’s Self! It’s the New Millennium and its time for the Warrior’s of the New Millennium to rise up and BE! ~ NIKO

    The writings I share with you are born out of my personal journey and experiences. My hope is that you will somehow find encouragement in what I share, that it will inspire you to… Pursue Your Dream! ~ Niko

    Pursue Your Dream

    I encourage you to pursue your dream. Each of us has a free will and the capacity and power to follow after our dream. Most don’t because it usually comes at such a high cost. For some, it has even cost them their lives. But what is life if one does not pursue their God given dream? That unquenchable thing that burns deep within you? I would rather die in pursuit of my passion than to exist in this life doing something that makes me feel miserable and incomplete.

    My Personal Journey
    Pursuing my dream has required me to remain single thus far. It has required me to make choices about material possessions vs. investing in my dream. It has required just about every single waking minute of the past 11 years of my life and literally hundreds of sleepless nights. It has brought me to my knees weeping on many occasions, crying out to God for strength, courage, patience and wisdom. It has required me to venture into the unknown. To move to places I had never been, starting fresh and new. It has required faith to move mountains, hope to believe for the impossible, humility of a child, a willingness to be teachable to change many things about my perspective and my life - from my diet and social life to my spirituality. It has required me to learn many new skills, some of which have taken years to master and some of which will take many more. It has required me to hold on even when people around me thought I was wrong and even crazy. It has often times required me to disregard my present circumstances and to keep on believing even in the face of absolute contradiction.

    Destiny
    Pursing your dream is to pursue your passion which is to pursue your destiny! To achieve your destiny is to fulfill your purpose for being here. To fulfill your purpose is to honor God and God’s hope for your life. To honor God with your life each day is the noblest thing you can do, it is the highest form of worship and reverence you can give.

    Motivated by Love
    One’s dream should always be motivated by love. Anything less, is tainted with selfishness and is not pure. There are no exceptions. To pursue a dream that is rooted in selfishness is not a “true” dream, and the end result will not bring contentment and fulfillment in your life. It will leave you wanting, with a feeling of emptiness. A true dream is a dream that God has placed inside of you, such a dream is always pure and perfect. It is directly linked to the way you are wired, the way you tick, the way your mind works, your personality type, it is linked to the time of the year you were born and even the day, the minute and the second! It is linked to the unique set of gifts that are in you.

    And we all have this - we all have a dream inside, we all have a unique set of gifts, we all have a purpose and a destiny. We all have the capacity to walk in love and to live a daily life of thought and action that is based in love. We all can pursue our dream. The only person who can stop you is you. You are your worst enemy. But the good news is that you are also your best friend! You possess the power to be one or the other, you decide in each moment.

    Each Day
    We are confronted with lies, fear, control and manipulation on a daily basis. That is why each day we must renew our hearts and minds of the truth - that we have a free will and that we can pursue our dream, that we are gifted and unique, and that we can walk in love and fulfill our destiny. It does not happen on its own though. It requires letting go – of pride, selfish desires, judgment, prejudice… It requires forgiving those who have done us wrong, a willingness to give, a willingness to be accountable for our actions, a willingness to seek the heart of God.

    Giving
    Your dream will always be linked to giving in some shape or form for giving is what life is all about. It is not money that makes the world go round, my friend, it is giving! Who paid for the sun to shine today? And for the oxygen in the air? These are gifts. Take giving out of the equation of life and everything would cease to exist. A mother gives to her newborn or else it could not survive, a father gives to his son by preparing him for manhood so that he will not become a fool and a thief, a friend gives to a friend to lift them up and bless them, a stranger gives to a beggar out of compassion because in their heart they know it could just as well be them on the cold street with no home or food. God gives us seasons and the laws of nature so that food will grow and so that everything can survive and flourish.

    And take a moment to look at the intricate details of your hand, the way it works, your fingers and all the joints that move to grab and hold things and how it is all linked to your brain so that you can control it, a masterfully designed gift from God! Who among us paid money for our eyes and ears? Something we cannot even put a price tag on was GIVEN to us while we were in our mother’s womb! Before we could ever even think to work to earn them! A gift! In this manner, our true dream will always be linked to giving.

    That does not mean your dream will not bring you wealth, in many cases one’s dream will in fact bring great wealth but you should always remember that great wealth is not for you to hoard up, it is given to you so that you can give to others, so that they can in turn give to others. The film “Pay It Forward” presented such a great principle to live by, I love that film. If you haven’t seen it, watch it, it presents this whole concept of giving in the most compelling and heart touching way.

    Be True To Yourself!
    This is one of the core foundational principles I encourage people to live by. If you cannot be true to yourself then you will live a lie. If you live a lie then you will NEVER be happy or satisfied in life. Ask yourself, “Who am I?” If you don’t have an answer, then begin the journey of seeking and searching it out. One way to find out who you are is to first find out who you are not! Get out a piece of paper and make two columns, start narrowing it down. If it takes you a month or a year or 10, the day you find the answer will be one of the most liberating moments of your life! You will most likely discover that you are not who everyone else said you were. Everyone has their opinion and idea but what everyone else thinks means nothing! It’s YOUR life and only YOU really know the answer!

    If Einstein would have listened to his teachers, he might have never discovered his genius. If the Wright Brothers would have listened to their critics, they would have never flown! If I would have taken over the family business like a good little boy then I would be managing restaurants right now instead of composing music that is being enjoyed and celebrated around the world! So, turn down the noise, get rid of all the distractions and unnecessary obligations in your life (that can be bad relationships, bad habits, etc.), find a quiet place all alone and look deep within yourself. Get face to face with the divine and it is there you will find the answer. (This writing is split into two blog entries, scroll down to read the rest of it!)


    (continued in Part II below)


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    Pursue Your Dream (Part II)
    Filed under: Writings — admin @ 11.05 am

    (continued from Part I)

    My Glass Is Running Over
    All my life I have heard the quote, “Do you see the glass half empty or half full?” On the night of August the 20th, 2007, I realized for the first time that I will never again see the glass as half full but rather I will see the glass as running over! In all that I am and in all that I do from now on, I will always see the glass as running over! I will live and see life with a perspective of blessing and abundance. My glass is full and all that runs over from it is for any and everyone who will receive it. For example, the songs I share with the public are but a handful of the songs I compose and sing out while alone in my time of personal communion with God. The Sun The Moon The Stars is what is spilling out of my glass, Illusion, The Exodus, Aliesha Shine, Together Forever Whenever, Kali Spera, these are all spilling out. I encourage you to see life this way, see your glass as running over. Say what you see and you will see what you have said. See the glass running over and it shall be. Jesus taught, Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened.





    Be Patient
    It may be a while before you can see your dream manifest in the physical realm. Perhaps there are some things you need to learn first, some areas in which you need to grow and mature, some obligations you need to take care of. One does not fulfill their dream of becoming a doctor until they complete medical school and go through years of training. One does not perform in an arena until they have practiced thousands of hours while alone and performed in smaller venues. What I am saying is that all of these things you may feel are holding you back from your dream are actually part of it! You cannot get to the top of a ladder at the first step.

    Always remember that the journey is as important as the destination! Don’t despise the journey, even if it takes 50 years to arrive at the destination! This has been the case for my manager, John, he has worked and dreamed his whole life to taste and see what is just beginning to manifest before his eyes! Your dream is every day, yes one day you will reach a certain place of accomplishment and you will say, “My dream has finally come to pass!” but then you will only set another dream to achieve, so enjoy the journey. Each step, each day, each moment, no matter how painful or how challenging, enjoy the ride!

    On the island of Maui in Hawaii there is a place called Hana, many people hear about Hana and can’t wait to go only to find out that when they arrive, there isn’t really anything there at all! It’s the RIDE to Hana that is magical, it’s the 700 turns in the road, the waterfalls along the way, the fruit trees, the views of the ocean and rainforests! If your goal is only to get to Hana, your arrival will most likely be rather anti-climactic. But if your goal is to enjoy the ride, then you will tell everyone like everyone told you, “You gotta go to Hana!”





    My Personal Search
    Personally, to become who I really was and to begin fulfilling my dream, I had to “get out of my father’s house”, meaning I had to leave my comfort zone and place of familiarity. Comfort and familiarity breed a certain kind of habitual living, it can be positive or negative, in my case there were many things I needed a clean break away from – people and their ridiculous expectations, organizations and all their absurd rules and regulations, jobs and their monotonous routine, etc.

    For me, it was so extreme that I even felt compelled to change my name! I began going by, Odysseus, the Greek version of my middle name. It was so liberating and just downright cool! No one knew me, no one criticized me, no one judged me based on my past. It was just what I needed. I felt empowered as never before to just be ME! The real me! Who I really was! I felt like I could breathe! I let my hair grow long for the first time! I painted my nails black and wore earrings for the first time!! I stayed up composing music all night long over and over!!! I bought 20 boxes of my favorite “unhealthy” cereal and ate them all as fast as I could!!! 10 times, I drove 1000 miles to attend week long teaching seminars all about provoking people to be true to themselves and to fulfill their God given destiny! In all of this, the warrior and artist in me was awakened and I finally began to let go of all my fears – my fear of man and his judgment and criticism, my fear of persecution… for the first time in my life I didn’t care what anybody thought about me except one: God. If God was cool with me, that’s all I needed to know, everyone else could go jump in the lake for all I cared! My canvas was white and I began to paint it just the way I always dreamed it to be! COLORFUL and TRUE!!!

    Your Search
    For each, it is different. “The Search” certainly does not always involve moving somewhere else but it does always involve doing something different. You can’t do the same thing over and over and expect to get different results. If you mix half water with half juice you will always get the same drink. If you want to discover something you’ve yet to find, then you’ve gotta do something you’ve never ever done before!





    Success
    Do not measure success by monetary gain or by how others see you, measure the success of each day by whether or not you were true to yourself, by whether or not you walked in love. A day of truth and love is the most successful day any man or woman can ever live. Mother Theresa had few possessions yet undoubtedly lived a very successful life. Life is not about what you’ve got, it’s about what you give.

    Be Honest With Yourself
    I am a person who encourages people to follow their hearts and dreams but it’s necessary that people be honest with themselves. For example, if you do not have a single athletic bone in your body then you might want to reconsider your “dream” of becoming the next Michael Jordan. : ) That’s a fantasy, not a dream. There is a BIG difference between a dream and a fantasy, do not confuse the two. I’ve seen some people in singing competitions on TV who couldn’t even carry a tune, for that person to pursue a singing career is absurd. I always wanted to be an artist (with pencils and paint) but I have NO natural talent for it whatsoever, I can hardly even draw a stick figure! It would be crazy for me to pursue such a thing when it’s blatantly obvious to me that it is not the gift God put in me. I was always fascinated by gymnastics and would have loved to be involved in it. As a matter of fact, the world famous coach Bela Karolyi had his personal training gym not far from my house, but I did not have natural talent for it, it was not my gift.

    A Question For You…
    What is it that you can do effortlessly? Stop and REALLY think about it. Can you write? Can you cook? Are you good with numbers? Good at focusing on one thing all day long? Good at organizing? Good at leading? Are you good with mechanical things and with using your hands? Do you love to be around people? Do you love to travel? Do you speak multiple languages? Do you enjoy reading? Do you love nature? Animals? Are you always thinking of ideas for new businesses? I assure you that the things which come to you so naturally do not come naturally to everyone else. Find out what your gifts are and then start to walk in them and you will naturally begin to fulfill your dreams.

    The Time Is Now!
    You can change your life today! Now, in a single moment! It’s up to YOU and no one else! It’s your life, your day, your choice! How? With a simple decision. You see, most people think of change in terms of something you can see with your eyes and touch with your hands, and this is true, but FIRST change happens WITHIN! Change is a DECISION. It is not based on external things - it doesn’t matter where you live, how rich or poor you are, how old you are, etc. You are a person, you are beautiful, you are priceless, your life is a gift from God! Decide today that you will BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. Decide today that you will GIVE and always BE MOTIVATED BY LOVE. Decide today that you will FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE! Decide today that you will PURSUE YOUR DREAM! ~ Niko


    Love 2007-07-16
    Filed under: Writings — admin @ 10.06 am
    While meditating, in a single moment I clearly saw what I had been seeking after my whole life; in all the principles I sought to live by and all the standards I set for myself, in all my years of study and separation, in all that I denied my flesh, in all that I gave, in all that I ever wrote and played and sang, in all that I spoke and did not speak, in all that I believed and did not believe, it was for love! All to become love and to live every moment of my life only by the law of love. I then at that same instant realized that to understand love is to understand all things and I was forever changed.

    I cannot explain how to understand all things through love, it is simply something one must believe in order to begin to see and experience its truth and beauty in their life. She is justified by her children, so go now and mingle with them in the field, eat the fruit of her tree and you shall see. Through love I tell you that I have come to better understand a fetus, babies, children, men, women, culture, language, communication, perspective, good, evil, light, darkness, truth, lies, hate, deception, time, space, divinity, creation, purpose, art, music, food, science, history, the future, pain, death, life, friendship, medicine, health, sickness, poverty, prosperity, marriage, divorce, technology, freedom, the human senses, water, fire, animals, flowers, colors, and so much more.

    I believe that within the depths of love live the truths of all creation and the entire universe - cures for every sickness and disease, answers to every question imaginable, views into other dimensions, timelessness and spacelessness. Love is the most powerful force of all and cannot be measured for she is infinite and eternal. Love is the substance that light and truth are made of and from her blessed womb all virtues are born.

    I believe that love is all. …all that we truly hope for and hope to become, all that we are seeking after in this life. Many are pursuing power and money and sex and beauty and acceptance and recognition and fame and knowledge… but in truth what each and every human being to ever live has been and will be searching for all along is love, simply love. There is nothing greater than love. Love is the very essence of life and love is the very reason for life. If we have everything yet do not have love, we have nothing. Likewise, if we have nothing yet have love, we have everything. Without love, we die.

    I am not perfect nor allknowing nor allseeing, but love is, and her blood is now flowing through my veins - cleansing my heart and mind, teaching me truth, changing my eyes, guiding my hands, directing my path, protecting my future and destiny. Now, all that I believe is love. I have found her and I will never ever let her go.

    Love is a universal gift within us all and it is the greatest gift of all! Now, it is up to each of us to let our actions flow forth from this gift, it’s something we decide hundreds of times each day. All actions of thought, word, and deed fall into one of two categories: love or selfishness. Think it through for a year or two or ten and you will conclude as I, there is no inbetween. In every single second of our lives we have a choice to act in selfishness or to act in love.

    If you desire to be who you really are and fulfill your purpose for existing then I tell you my friend, look to love, pursue love with everything that is within you, abandon all for love and you will find what you know you have been looking for all along. Shut out the many distractions of this world, turn off all the noise, close your eyes and open your heart, look within the very depths of your being and you will find her there… talk to her, look into her eyes, she’s been waiting for this moment all your life and so have you, don’t be afraid to touch her face, take her hand and I promise you that she will carry you into the promised land. ~ Niko


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    Article on Laughter 2007-07-09
    Filed under: Articles — admin @ 2.57 am
    “When we laugh, natural killer cells which destroy tumours and viruses
    increase, along with Gamma-interferon (a disease-fighting protein),
    T-cells (important for our immune system) and B-cells (which make
    disease-fighting antibodies). As well as lowering blood pressure, laughter
    increases oxygen in the blood, which also encourages healing.” “Science of
    Laughter” Discovery Health Website

    “Without humor one’s thought processes are likely to become stuck and
    narrowly focused leading to increased distress.” Association for Applied
    and Therapeutic Humor

    “Laughter is very powerful medicine. It can lower stress, dissolve anger
    and unite families in their resolve to overcome troubled times.”
    University of Nebraska

    “Nothing is good or bad. It is thinking that makes it so.” Shakespeare

    “By the time a child reaches nursery school, he or she will laugh about
    300 times a day. Adults laugh an average of 17 times a day.” “Science of
    Laughter” Discovery Health

    What are the health benefits of humor and laughter?
    The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough,
    sniffle, or sneeze. Humor and laughter can cause a domino effect of joy
    and amusement, as well as set off a number of positive physical effects. A
    good hearty laugh can help:

    Health Benefits of Laughter
    reduce stress
    lower blood pressure
    elevate mood
    boost immune system
    improve brain functioning
    protect the heart
    connect you to others
    foster instant relaxation
    make you feel good.

    “Doctor I have a ringing in my ears.” “Don’t answer!” - Henny Youngman

    Laughter activates the chemistry of the will to live and increases our
    capacity to fight disease. Laughing relaxes the body and reduces problems
    associated with high blood pressure, strokes, arthritis, and ulcers. Some
    research suggests that laughter may also reduce the risk of heart disease.
    Historically, research has shown that distressing emotions (depression,
    anger, anxiety, and stress) are all related to heart disease. A study done
    at the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that a good sense of
    humor and the ability to laugh at stressful situations helps mitigate the
    damaging physical effects of distressing emotions (see References and
    resources for more details). Some other specifics about laughter’s affect
    on the body are listed below.

    Laughter’s Effects on the Body
    Laughter lowers blood pressure.
    People who laugh heartily on a regular basis have lower standing blood
    pressure than the average person. When people have a good laugh,
    initially the blood pressure increases, but then it decreases to levels
    below normal. Breathing then becomes deeper which sends oxygen enriched
    blood and nutrients throughout the body.

    Humor changes our biochemical state.
    Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases infection fighting
    antibodies. It increases our attentiveness, heart rate, and pulse.

    Laughter protects the heart.
    Laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you
    against a heart attack, according to the study at the University of
    Maryland Medical Center (cited above). The study, which is the first to
    indicate that laughter may help prevent heart disease, found that people
    with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of
    situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.

    Laughter gives our bodies a good workout.
    Laughter can be a great workout for your diaphragm, abdominal,
    respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles. It massages abdominal organs,
    tones intestinal functioning, and strengthens the muscles that hold the
    abdominal organs in place. Not only does laughter give your midsection a
    workout, it can benefit digestion and absorption functioning as well. It
    is estimated that hearty laughter can burn calories equivalent to several
    minutes on the rowing machine or the exercise bike.

    Humor improves brain function and relieves stress.
    Laughter stimulates both sides of the brain to enhance learning. It eases
    muscle tension and psychological stress, which keeps the brain alert and
    allows people to retain more information.

    How does humor improve mental and emotional health?
    Humor is a powerful emotional medicine that can lower stress, dissolve
    anger and unite families in troubled times. Mood is elevated by striving
    to find humor in difficult and frustrating situations. Laughing at
    ourselves and the situation helps reveal that small things are not the
    earth-shaking events they sometimes seem to be. Looking at a problem from
    a different perspective can make it seem less formidable and provide
    opportunities for greater objectivity and insight. Humor also helps us
    avoid loneliness by connecting with others who are attracted to genuine
    cheerfulness. And the good feeling that we get when we laugh can remain
    with us as an internal experience even after the laughter subsides.

    Mental health professionals point out that humor can also teach
    perspective by helping patients to see reality rather than the distortion
    that supports their distress. Humor shifts the ways in which we think, and
    distress is greatly associated with the way we think. It is not situations
    that generate our stress, it is the meaning we place on the situations.
    Humor adjusts the meaning of an event so that it is not so overwhelming.

    Here are some additional things we can do to improve our mood, enjoyment
    of life and mental health.

    Attempt to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them – this helps
    improve our disposition and the disposition of those around us.
    Use cathartic laughter to release pent-up feelings of anger and
    frustration in socially acceptable ways.
    Laugh as a means of reducing tension because laughter is often followed by
    a state of relaxation.
    Lower anxiety by visualizing a humorous situation to replace the view of
    an anxiety-producing situation.
    Why do we need humor to stay healthy emotionally?
    A healthy sense of humor is related to being able to laugh at oneself and
    one’s life. Laughing at oneself can be a way of accepting and respecting
    oneself. Lack of a sense of humor is directly related to lower self
    esteem. (Note that laughing at oneself can also be unhealthy if one laughs
    as a way of self degradation.)

    Humor is essential to mental health for a variety of reasons:

    Mental Health Benefits of Laughter
    Humor enhances our ability to affiliate or connect with others.

    Humor helps us replace distressing emotions with pleasurable feelings. You
    cannot feel angry, depressed, anxious, guilty, or resentful and experience
    humor at the same time.

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    Aloha from Maui!
    Filed under: Journal — admin @ 1.37 am
    Aloha!

    I’m writing to you this morning from the magical Hawaiian island of Maui! It was while living here that I discovered and unlocked so many amazing things – about myself, spirituality, people, friendships, music, nature…and sushi! I ate my first sushi here and have been hooked ever since! *smiling*

    I came to Maui this week to rejuvenate my being and to overcome some challenges within myself. I found answers to some very important questions. I’d like to share some thoughts with you that may speak to you and encourage you…

    Never lose your joy!

    In all that you do – with family, friends, work, hobbies, etc., never lose your joy! If you lose your joy, then you’ll lose so much purpose and meaning in life. You’ll start to become unhappy, depressed and unpleasant to be around. Children laugh an average of 300 times a day, adults laugh an average of only 17. When and why do we become so inhibited along the journey of life?! In one of my songs, “My Son”, the verse goes, “Agility of a child, when didst thou flee? Hold me, fold me, unfold me! Jump in my soul and out of my bones! Innocence lost at such a foolish cost, may I once again feel you in my heart!” Seek to become childlike again! Have joy and laughter in your life, they are like medicine! I’ll post a separate blog entry after this one of an interesting article I recently read about the importance and benefits of laughter.

    Don’t sweat the small stuff!

    Life is filled with important things that truly need your attention, so don’t sweat the small stuff. You only have so much time and energy in each day, be wise and productive in how you spend it. Don’t waste your time with insignificant and meaningless things. For me, it’s something as simple as checking my email too many times each day. It’s being too much of a perfectionist about things that are not really that important. It’s worrying about things I have no control over. It’s trying to please everyone when in fact sometimes you’ve just got to do what you know you’ve got to do! It’s fearing being misunderstood and misjudged. It’s caring about what others think in situations where what others think doesn’t matter at all! It’s being upset about a mistake when in fact I should just smile at my mistake and learn from it. It’s have a check bounce. It’s having someone hack into my myspace account and send out advertisements for porn with my name signed at the bottom. It’s accidentally getting a scratch on a new guitar or a dent in my car, it doesn’t really matter because every material thing on this planet is eventually going to turn to dust anyway! It’s having a delayed flight or being stuck in traffic and being late for a meeting. It is what it is and it’s out of my control so I might as well relax and just BE! I should just enjoy the moment, turn on some music and chill or strategize a business plan or…I should do anything while sitting in that traffic except be upset and frustrated about it. There are plenty of other things in life for us to sweat about, so, don’t sweat the small stuff.

    Let go.

    Realize and accept that some things are out of your control. Just let go. Do your best, your absolute best, be prudent and then let go. Carrie Underwood released a song titled, “Jesus Take The Wheel”, it was a hit because people identified with the idea that sometimes you just have to let go and trust a higher power. Some people say trust God, some say Allah, other’s say The Universe, whatever your faith may be, we should all practice letting go. Let go of micro-managing things that do not need to be micro-managed. Let go of worrying about things which worry will do nothing to resolve. While growing up, my pastor told me many times that 99.9 percent of the things we worry about never happen, all these years later I can say that he is right! Let go of trying to figure everything out, there are parts of life that as a flower they just have to unfold on their own and in their own time. Let go of all the “dead weight” in your life. A hot air balloon cannot rise into the sky until the dead weight is removed, if you’re gonna rise then let go of all the bad relationships, all the bad habits, fear, anger, anxiety, etc., this is all dead weight in your life. Let go of an image of no value, know that you are beautiful and special and unique. Let go of all the lies you have been told - about yourself, about others (especially others with a different skin color or different culture), about the career path you are “supposed” to be on, about God. For example, I once saw God in quite a small box, I had to let go of some old mindsets to realize and experience a God so limitless and beautiful that words cannot begin to tell.

    I would like to say that I have not mastered these things, quite to the contrary. Writing them out and sharing them with you will help me achieve them. I will read what I have written many time over the next few weeks and I will let these words provoke me – to grow, to mature, to be childlike, to be patient, to walk in love and freedom and peace.

    TV Interview with Niko about his song Joy! 2007-06-19
    Filed under: News, Interviews — admin @ 8.40 pm
    Greetings to everyone around the world! Yesterday I did a short TV interview here in Nashville on a morning show called “Talk of the Town”, the interview was about my song “Joy” and the TV commercial it is featured in. The commercial is part of an advertising campaign called “Feel The Joy!”, promoting sedation dentistry. The campaign is in the process of going national here in the USA! Anyway, I thought you all might enjoy seeing it! It was fun!

    Niko’s song “You’re In Heaven” released by EMI Records 2007-06-11
    Filed under: News — admin @ 4.49 pm
    Hello, World…this is NIKO…have you got…just a moment? *smile*

    I’m happy to announce that EMI Records in Greece has just released a compilation CD titled “Never The Same” on which my song “You’re In Heaven” (from the Love album) is featured!

    Now, here’s where I need your help…

    As you know, I’ve been giving my music away for free, but I need your support on this one. If sales and radio response are strong, we will be able to discuss a full album release with EMI! In case you don’t know, EMI is one of the largest record labels in the world. If they sign me to their label, my dream of getting my music to the world will come true!

    So, for those of you who are willing, I am asking two things:

    1 – Please buy the album. Buy a copy for a friend…or ask a friend to buy a copy! The CD is available at major retail outlets throughout Greece and Cyprus - like Virgin Megastores, Metropolis, and PMW. With your help, we can take it to #1…it debuted this week at #11. Outside of Greece and Cyprus, you can still buy the album, but it will need to be by special order. Simply ask about it at your local record store (because of licensing issues, it’s not available online).

    2 – If you are in Greece or Cyprus, call your local radio stations and request Niko, and specifically the song “You’re in Heaven” from the CD “Never the Same” on Minos-EMI Records !!!

    Thanks so much for your support!

    Niko
    P.S. If you are in the Nashville area, tune into News Channel 5’s “Talk Of The Town” on Monday, June 18th, at 11am. I’ll be doing a live T.V. interview!

    P.P.S. Here’s the album cover…


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    Interview with Niko by Behind The Veil 2007-05-17
    Filed under: Interviews — admin @ 5.53 pm
    Hey everyone, there’s lots of wonderful things going on here at “Niko” headquarters! *smile* Today’s morsel of bloggy goodness is an online interview with Behind The Veil which just posted today(www.veilgr.com). Also, I wanted to let you know and two Desktop Wallpaper images that are now available at NikoOnline.com (click on the “The Vision” link, scroll down and you’ll find them there). Enjoy…

    Interview with Niko by Christine Parastatidou of Behind The Veil in Greece.
    http://www.veilgr.com

    NIKO

    Well, we usually present you interviews with heavy metal bands, however here we have an alternative proposal for you that answers to the name Niko. This band’s reason for existence is to create and to transubstantiate feelings, images and experiences into notes. If you like melodic rock sounds, then I think you will find in this band what you were looking for!

    1. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU WERE ASKED TO COMMENT ON YOUR SONGS AND ADVERTISE THEM IN A FEW WORDS?

    Most of my songs are born out of my life’s experiences; because of this, my songs are heartfelt and sung with passion and conviction. My dream is to bring a message of hope and love to the world through my art of music thus my songs tend to focus on encouraging people, giving them hope for a brighter day. My style varies from song to song and that’s why I have resolved to simply call it “World Soup”.

    2. YOU’VE GOT A COMPLETE WORK AND IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY 3 MORE WHICH ARE STILL UNFINISHED. WHICH ARE THE DIFFERENCES AND SIMILARITIES AMONGST THEM?

    Yes, I have a completed album titled “Love” (a CD / DVD set). I would describe it as a modern day love story told in a very creative way with interesting twists in the story line. It is less produced and has a charming rawness to it that leaves most listeners desiring more. In some songs I am in tears while in others I am laughing. As for the other albums I am working on, they are “Voice”, “Heart Of A Warrior” and “Journey Within”. “Voice” will be the first official release of these three. It is a very produced album, many of the songs are filled with lush vocalscapes, something I did not do in my “Love” project. The themes of “Voice” revolve around are friendship, faith, hope, love. It is a very uplifting album! “Heart Of A Warrior” is much darker, it has a strong defiance in its sound and message. “Journey Within” is very introspective, this album will be calm and parts of it will be perfect for meditating.

    3. HOW COME YOU’VE GOT SO MANY UNFINISHED WORKS? I MEAN HOW COME YOU WORK ON MORE THAN ONE ALBUMS AT THE SAME TIME? AREN’T YOU “AFRAID” YOU MIGHT START REPEATING YOURSELF?

    I follow my heart. I am nearly 33 and at this point I have no regrets for living this way. I admit, I work in a very unorthodox way. But I’m an independent artist right now without the backing of a major record label and sometimes you’ve gotta bend and break traditional rules if want to see your dreams come to pass.

    I am a man who looks to God for direction and then I follow my heart with absolute passion and conviction. I am nearly 33 and at this point I have no regrets for living this way.

    On top of all this, it’s the new millennium and the ways of an artist getting his music into the ears of the public has completely changed. It’s no longer necessary to have a completed physical CD package in order to release your music. The internet has completely changed our approach in just about everything we do and music is no exception. People are now downloading mp3’s from sites like iTunes and often times they will only download the songs they want and not the whole album. So I am going with the flow and releasing my songs as I complete them. It’s cool though because I actually see each of my songs as a sort of completed project in itself. Because I do things with the utmost excellence and because it takes much money to do that, it can take me years to complete a project. When money isn’t an issue, I will perhaps release a project in one go and not in parts. But then again, I might just wanna throw that rule out the window and follow my heart and release a song the night it’s born and not wait until the whole album is complete. How cool would it be to get to hear the song of an artist you enjoy the very night they complete it!? I love that idea!

    Am I afraid I might repeat myself? Not the least bit, I’m far too creative and multifaceted to ever do that.

    4. WHAT’S THE BEST AND WHAT’S THE WORST PART OF YOUR MUSIC, ACCORDING TO YOU?

    I love all of my songs but I’ll admit, not equally. The best parts are the parts I love most, the worst are the parts I love least.

    5. WHY DO YOU THINK THE ROCK AND POP FANS SHOULD CHECK YOU OUT? WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER TO THE SCENE? IS THERE SOMETHING YOU FEEL THAT SETS YOU APART?

    I go deeper than the soul, into my spirit, and I sing from that place. I believe that we all have the capacity to go there, it’s just that few ever do. It’s both glorious and frightening at the same time. Dangerous and fragile.

    I am simply myself and people are drawn to me because of this. It is humanity calling out to humanity.

    6. YOU PLAY ROCK MUSIC WITH A FEW POP AND TRADITIONAL GREEK ELEMENTS. HOW DID THIS COMBINATION OCCUR?

    Ahh, simply because I am Greek and grew up listening to traditional Greek music! I LOVE the bouzouki!

    7. YOU ARE A GREEK AND APPARENTLY YOU LOVE YOUR MOTHER COUNTRY A LOT. YOU USE THE BOUZOUKI IN MANY OF YOUR SONGS AND YOU HAVE SOME GREEK LYRICS IN YOUR SONGS AS WELL. WHAT IS THIS THAT BONDS YOU SO MUCH WITH GREECE? WOULD YOU EVER CONSIDER MOVING TO GREECE PERMANENTLY?

    I love Greece and I embrace my Greek roots. Greece is very sacred to me. I feel connected to the land, the people, the culture, the food, the history, everything! Greece is in my blood and I can feel it. My phone dials Greece at least once a week, my cabinet always has ouzo, my refrigerator never lacks feta cheese, and my mp3 player seems to always have a bouzouki playing! I am more and more in touch with Greece. I speak the language a little and have a desire to learn more! One day, I plan to have a home in Greece, most likely on an island.

    8. ARE THERE ANY ELEMENTS YOU’D LIKE TO ADD OR EXPERIMENT WITH IN THE FUTURE?

    Oh yeah! Many! Only time will tell but I can assure you that I will never stop trying different things! I am a very creative, experimental and curious person. And I am very spiritual, I mention this because in the spirit realm I find many amazing things that I bring back.

    9. WHICH ARE YOUR MAIN INFLUENCES AND WHO ARE THOSE MUSICIANS THAT MADE YOU REALIZE THIS IS THE KIND OF MUSIC YOU LOVE AND WANT TO FOLLOW?

    Vangelis has been a tremendous influence in my life. He is not only my favorite Greek composer but my favorite composer in all of the world! Bands such as The Moody Blues, U2, Sting and many more…I have been influenced by many friends who are not known by the world.

    10. I’D LIKE YOU TO COMMENT A BIT ON THE LYRICS… WHICH ARE YOUR SOURCES OF INSPIRATION?

    My source of inspiration? Life! It might be the laughter of a child, a friend in need, pleasant or painful memories, dreams, happiness, frustrations. Nature. The other day, I took a walk with my dog Magic and by the end of the road I had written a song for him. Traveling and being in other places far away stirs things up in me - the sights, the smells, the sounds of another culture and land. Sound inspires me. I will hear something like a car engine cranking up or the horn of a train or the wind blowing through the trees and it will actually inspire a melody or lyric or chord progression in me. Also, just sitting down at my piano inspires me. Most every time I sit to play, something fresh and new comes out. Sometimes it’s a song while other times it’s an idea or a melody that later becomes a song. Lastly, I must say that the hope of my music touching the world inspires me deeply. It is important that we as humans always have hope in our heart for through hope we find inspiration to fulfill our destinies. Lyrics? My lyrics are often inspired by the sound of a musical progression, I’ll do something on the piano or guitar and I will actually hear words or a certain phrase. The content of my lyrics tend to focus on positive things, I like knowing that my songs are helping people and helping to bring light into this world. If I can do this then when I breathe my last breath I will have peace knowing I fulfilled my purpose on this earth.

    11. IF YOU HAD A BIG BUDGET TO SHOOT A VIDEO CLIP, WHICH SONG OF YOURS WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND HOW DO YOU IMAGINE IT TO BE?

    “The Sun The Moon The Stars”. We are actually in the process of planning this out even now. It will be very romantic, with a dreaminess to it. There are lots of details already decided for this video but I won’t share them because then it would spoil the surprise! *smile*
    12. HOW DO YOU PLAN TO PROMOTE YOUR WORK? HAVE YOU GOT ANY PLANS FOR LIVE SHOWS?

    Well, myspace has certainly been the most dynamic way that I have promoted my work, I am grateful for such a tool. Plans? I have many but it will take some time to bring them to fruition. I plan to tour the world, all in due time. (Click on “More…” to read the rest of the interview)