Peace

How Simplifying Your Life Gets You More Joy

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It seems that life has come become so complicated, or is it just me?

The media and many so-called gurus tell us that everything can be achieved no matter what. It is called a structured, regimented life, etc.

Here’s what I say. Really?

Whatever happened to the joy of life?

Whatever happened to the elegance of simplicity?

Every day we are robbed of our potential by just conforming to what is the “right way,” according to others.

Folks, is real living important to you? Or, is the joy of life a cliché?

Have you been living by rote and have stopped wondering if it’s ever going to change? Do you wonder if it’s going to become easier?

If you yearn for more, then you have to apply yourself to less.

Take Back Your Life

First, simplify your life. Be selective to all those time robbers that appear constantly. Make choices. Although you may be reading all these articles explaining how important it is to be in the midst of everything, social media, mining big data and being up to date with the Internet of things in order to succeed, you do not have to be a part of everything.

You can decline to do things.

Ask yourself: Do you want to live like a pre-programmed drone, because everyone else is doing it?

Or, do you want to live with a purpose?

I read somewhere that although many will try anything to become successful in their pursuits in life, what the world desperately needs are more healers, peacemakers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.

Yes, it’s as simple as that. Don’t for a minute think that it’s any more complicated.

Get Out of Your Own Way

What can you do to find the time to do the things for you, your soul, your peace?

Do you have any thoughts about it?

Do you even think that way anymore?

If you feel like spending a few minutes in the middle of the day doing nothing, here’s a thought–do it–you deserve it. Find a quiet place and close your eyes for a few minutes.

A few minutes of downtime is truly what your body needs to restore your energy. It’s not checking out what’s on the news or your social media feeds.

Be Nice to People

The only way to get more out of life is to simplify it. One of the easiest ways to do that is to cultivate kindness and compassion for others, and for yourself. The energy comes back to you.

Since we are all so busy, we seem to treat each other worse. Every day is a stream of violence, hate and disregard screaming for your attention brought to you courtesy of whatever media you’re paying attention to at a given moment.

This narrative can end–one person at a time. If we turn away from our phones and the news and look to truly connect with others.

Many of us feel we need to be at the cutting edge of what’s happening in the world. We are living in a world where each day we wake up to hear news of brutality, struggle, and disorder.

We listen to the news constantly. We check our phones every minute, looking for emails and social media updates to no end. I ask you, is this what you’ve been placed on this earth to do?

Our self-made purgatory and obsessions with our phones and keeping ahead of things is all contributing to the grave problems of this world!

Don’t you get tired? It never ends!

We seem to have forgotten that there are real people right next to us looking for a real human connection–if we only looked up from our phones!

Keep Tabs on Where Your Time Goes

Aside work, how do you spend your free time?

We all have only so much energy for doing things. Limited with what we have been given and based on our regiment of rest, work schedule, nutrition, fitness, genetics, health state we try to do the best we can.

But, we all have to beware of all the extraneous time wasters.

We have to get close to nature when we can, even for just a little. Being in the park,

forest, or lake is priceless. Nature is steady. And, she is not interested in looking at the phone or spinning off into the next “must do” activity.

Nature relaxes you and you feel more grounded into the planet. There’s so much benefit to seeing the awesomeness of nature.

Don’t you think you should stop checking your phone so much? Unless you are the head of a country or a high-ranked individual, every message, news alert, text or email that comes through your mobile does not, in fact, need to be looked at–right now.

If you have to, set alerts on your mobile phone for emergencies. Anything else is not an emergency.

I’m amazed when people text back-and-forth 30 times and then wonder where all that time went.

When working, set your parameters where you do not need to entertain gossip or drama. If there is something bad happening in the life of someone you know, a friend or relative, make the time to talk and possibly help them feel better. But, do not allow someone to simply unload to you if it’s simply an exercise in self-centeredness on their part. You don’t need to absorb people’s bad energy intended only to make you feel miserable. It is known that negative people can deplete all the energy out of you just by listening to them

Always try to find some inspiration out of life, a book, story, music or videos. Positive messages and thoughts have a tendency to re-energize us. You do not need to live with a to-do list always. Prioritize what needs to be done and tackle only the most important stuff first. If you do not manage all your to-dos, there is always tomorrow. Really, more often than not, it’s not really that important.

People who try to do twenty different things all the time, multitasking, so proudly claiming they can handle everything, are the ones who at the end of the day are gasping for air.

Keeping busy and just existing is not living life fully.  I understand that living life means to-do’s, obligations, chores but it is up to each of us to choose what that really means and not believe the hype that it has to be a constant state.

If you want to live a happy fulfilled life, simplify it and devote time to yourself and to your loved ones every day because life is short.

Last but not least, it is up to you to realize life’s importance and devote time to what matters to you most. Don’t act like so many others just because everybody is doing it. Always ask why you’re doing something.

 

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: July 27, 2016

© 2016 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

What’s Life Got To Do With It?

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Recently I came across Arthur, an older gentleman who used to live in our building. I had not seen him or his wife for six months and in the past we had talked a few times. They seemed to be nice and private people.

Although we did not speak the same language when I saw him he was in tears, trying to explain in English that his wife passed away a few months ago.

He was devastated. And, I could not help but feel a degree of his pain, as I thought of my wife upstairs.

There are times when we lose someone dear to us. It is something most of us try to avoid thinking about, and we tell ourselves we’ll deal with it when it happens to us. But we all secretly hope it never does.

Our impermanence is something, however, we should be thinking about. When we do that, it actually helps live a better life.

The thought of our eternal departure reminds us to appreciate our family, loved ones and friends while we are still all present in each other’s lives. Even in those mundane moments, or the tough times, the prospect of someone no longer being a part of our daily lives is a reminder to hold every moment with them close to the heart and memory.

When the specter of what is always just beyond the horizon of our days becomes something we embrace, we learn to live a different life.

If you were told you had less than one year to live, what would you do with each of your remaining days?

Would you live a life that never pushed the boundaries beyond your comfort zone? Or, would you reach out to the world in a way you have never done, full of fearlessness?

Would you squeeze the very last drop out of your life and make it as fulfilling as possible?

Or, would you remain fixated on the excuses many of us accumulate that keep us from living a life on our terms?

Would you do something out of the ordinary scope of your life?

What happens if you learned that your spouse, partner or loved one had less than a year to live? What would you help that person do with each of those remaining days?

Perhaps your first instinct is to say, “I’m only human. I only can do so much.”

I’d like to challenge you to think with regard to your own life, how you can rise up to the fact that our life as it is today will not be like that forever. Unfortunately, most of us will experience the passing of our other half or someone who is a kindred spirit.

The way to meet the permanent sleep that awaits each of us is to accept the idea of mortality every day.

It is by doing this, mindfully, each and every day that we can then do the following:

  • Live life to the fullest.
  • Be good to people and appreciate their presence in our lives always.
  • Take care and enjoy our families, even in those moments that are seemingly banal and not full of any excitement other than simply occupying the same space in a room.
  • Do the things you have always wanted to do: a trip, start a new business or write a book, etc.
  • Treat yourself and your partner often to little and simple things, which demonstrate you care.
  • Do something outrageous and fun, just because.
  • Invite people (even strangers) to your home and into your life.
  • Really see and experience the growth and development of your children instead of always being at work or too tired.

Many times we do something because we feel we ought to do this or the other to keep somebody happy, buy what about you?

Life is too short to hate, to be unfulfilled or not to be grateful for each day. Say “thank you” more often. Be ambitious to do your thing, but humble at the same time. Don’t be afraid to say I’m sorry if you made a mistake.

Forgive yourself in life. It’s okay if you didn’t become an astronaut, quarterback or a successful entrepreneur or even actor. Life is still good because you have it and those who you love with you. It’s fine that you followed another path and became something else. Glamour is overrated.

Realize that your mission is to live your life, experience the journey and if you are part of a couple, to make the other person’s life better along with your own.

If you live to be 80 years old you are living for only 29,200 days. Think of those 365 days a year mindfully and with purpose. With your time on earth you are meant to say, “I lived. I experienced. I loved.”

Get to a point in your life where if something happened to you – or someone you loved – you can say have no regrets. I lived my life. I cherished my family and those around me. And, I wrote the definitive story of an amazing life.

What a powerful feeling if all of us can experience that.

What a life!

 

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: February 29, 2016

© 2016 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Suggestions For A Meaningful 2016

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1) Offer to help when you can.
2) Be grateful for the little or a lot you have.
3) Laugh every day and make someone laugh.
4) Simplify your life.
5) Do not worry for the details.
6) Take care of your health.
7) Be authentic, be real.
8) Love and care for your family as well as your friends.
9) Always set time for yourself every day. Time to relax, time to learn new things.
10) Focus when you work.
11) Enjoy when you play.
12) Take time to recharge.
13) Take on a hobby.
14) Volunteer some of your time and talent when you can.
15) Be humble always.
16) Don’t hold grudges even if you were wronged.
17) Speak your mind without being negative.
18) Enjoy life, enjoy the nature.
19) Try to make a difference anyway you can.
20) Do not add to the mundane.
21) Play with children and make them laugh.
22) Be respectful of others.
23) Always welcome discussion and different points of view.
24) Be open to opportunities, to new friends.
25) Don’t come across as a know-it-all, even if you do know a lot.
26) Be spontaneous.
27) Show the ropes to someone.
28) Take initiative to lead when you can.
29) Do not fear life.
30) When deciding on an outcome use logic, followed by your intuition and then emotion.
31) Do not hate, it’s not worth it.
32) Leave your preconceived notions aside and just live.
33) Challenge your brain with new things, new languages, new areas of interest.
34) Realize everyone of us are only human and frail no matter our age and plan accordingly. Focus on new experiences.
35) Last but not least “it is not the destination but the journey that counts.”

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: December 31, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

How to Overcome Turmoil in Your Life Like a Winner

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What prompted the writing of this post is what’s happening around us; namely, uncertainty about the future due to political and economic conditions. Although I am not going to get political, blaming this or that about today’s outcomes, I will concentrate on how we might want to live life no matter what’s happening around us.

If you happen to live in a war-torn area where every morning you wake up and take your life into your own hands even walking outside your door, I can understand that your only interest is safety for you and your loved ones. You want to minimize danger and look for ways to start fresh somewhere safe. But for the rest of us who live in the rest of the world, life is a little different.

We are still faced with uncertainty, but maybe not to the degree of the group I mentioned earlier. Still every day, depending on certain factors that shape life, mainly socioeconomic geopolitical and environmental, we decide what’s best for us. No matter what, we are still faced with, uncertainty, anxiety, fear, stress, regarding our future. Depending on each individual, we react differently. But, how can we better handle the circumstances of our lives?

This is strictly coming from commonsensical experience of living life. I believe we keep on going living our life without “crawling under a rock”, to use the old adage, and waiting for the end. Life goes on no matter what. If everybody froze in their tracks just because there are people out there who have “bad intentions” for the rest of us, the world would be in even worse shape than it is now. Life goes on – we still live, work or travel – just like before all this started happening around us so frequently.

Here are a few thoughts to go by:

Enjoy life as much as you can.

Don’t cave into fearing.

Just be aware what’s happening around you. Be aware of people around you whether you are sitting in a restaurant, a public event or waiting for your train/airplane etc.

Learn some basic survival skills. Learn CPR, you never know if you’ll ever need it. All it takes is one time and you might save the life of a member of your family or a stranger.

Don’t take chances by inducing additional risk to your life by visiting places, which are not recommended.

Use your intuition. If something looks bad or smells bad, chances are you want to keep away.

Now I do not want to imply that you can’t take risks when it comes to business, or even life itself. If everybody played it safe, none of these innovative startups would have evolved into the companies we know today. If all the disruption that is happening every day in technology, science, banking, transportation or travel, to name a few sectors never happened, we would still be stuck in the “same old.”

So take it for what it is, some change is good.

Unfortunately the world is not the same anymore, when it comes to the ways things used to be. You can never take for granted any one or any thing. Due to what’s happening around us we do not know if we will be safe when we leave our house in the morning.

All we can do is live every day to the fullest. We can be there for others and make an effort to be the best we can be in how we conduct our lives.

You must have heard the adage, “Do not take your life too seriously, nobody else does.” It is very true. Find ways to relax your mind, even for a few minutes a day. It will help you get through the day-to-day challenges with renewed energy and focus.

Last but not least, be grateful for what you have, compassionate to others and “live life hard.” In other words, live it full throttle.

 

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Living on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: December 08, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

While I Breathe, I Hope

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“Hope…Sometimes that’s all you have when you have nothing else. If you have it, you have everything.” You might have read this old adage, and it’s very true. Hope changes our disposition, our attitude and way of thinking. Look at how you feel when something you were hoping for comes true.

When times get tough, it’s hope that gets us through the difficulties.

People hope for anything: a better job, a relationship, a family, a new business, better performance at work or in sports, an accepting group of friends, peers or fellow professionals. People hope that a publisher accepts a manuscript, that an offer is accepted on a house or that a fundraising goal is reached.

Hope threads through our lives in every aspect. We can hope for a break from working so hard. We hope for a favorable turn for the better on a health condition. Whether you agree or not, hope is the fuel for living.

Hope gives you wings to soar in the midst of all the ups and downs of life. Without hope things would be dark, depressing, monotonous and without a glimmer of light – especially during the tough times.

With hope, you look forward to what’s next. You dream and visualize things for the better. You extend yourself to strategize and reach your goals. You work to find the best approach to get to the desired results. Without hope, we would all have lesser lives because it keeps us from moving forward.

Hope offers the tools to keep on going when everyone is telling you “it won’t work.” Hope provides you with energy, the strength to persevere – even when you’re doubting yourself. But you know you can’t let doubt take the best out of you.

Doubt is like weeds in a garden. It suffocates the plants and flowers.

You have a plan in life. Muster all your physical and emotional strength and tackle the task at hand. Don’t let doubt divert you from forging through your path. Keep focused on your hope and aspirations.

Life, these days, requires every cell of your being to work in unison. You’ve got to be able to duck when you need to and press forward when the timing is right. You sometimes need to take a stand as well as be able to conquer.

Since I was a boy of 8, I have known the Latin words, “dum spiro spero.” Or, in other words, “While I breathe, I hope.”

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: August 5, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

The Silent Majority Can Make A Difference

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We seem to live our lives with a daily stream of racial, gender or religious bias. Catch the news any time and even on slow days, there’ll be some story that pits one group against another. Some outrage. Justified or not. There’s always something to get our collective anger riled.
Social media has made it easy for people to show their true colors across the world in a single tweet. And, it’s allowed us to respond moments later. All of us can sit behind a keyboard delivering whatever we think is just. We are all now judge and jury.

I wish things were different in some way. But, the truth is from time immemorial bigotry toward people who are deemed to be “different” (race, language, etc.) has permeated. It may seem more amplified now because of social media, but it’s always been there.

There have always been people who feel threatened because they don’t understand – or want to understand. To some, every one who is not like them presents a menace. In their minds, it all translates into challenges to their way of life or how they see the world. They deem difference as a threat against their values, their way of thinking, their way to make money, etc.

How far from true!

The Drivers

While I don’t have the solution to this abhorrent behavior, allow me to make some points in the hopes that it may help the conversation. Worldwide the incidents of racism, sexism and religious intolerance are so numerous that it seems to have always been a way of life.

Some intolerant individual does something outrageous and all of us demand and deliver our own brand of justice in the news and across social media. It’s a cycle that repeats unendingly.

Bigotry and division have been accepted. It doesn’t end and it doesn’t go away because we can’t eliminate the main drivers, fear and hate. Although I can probably speak the most about the United States because I have lived there for a long time, it’s disheartening to hear about the struggles that continue.

Recently, 9 people were murdered in a place of worship. When people are killed in what should be one of the safest places, a place of prayer, what else should be expected other than to think racism is ingrained?

Hatred doesn’t have a place in society. It robs us of everything dear and valued to us. People are robbed of their dreams and futures. Why does this have to exist? Is it because someone decided at one point in time that this is the way to be and that’s the status quo? Is it nature or nurture? I have to think most or all children are not born with hatred, bigotry or fear. These are learned behaviors. Someone has to instill fear into a child. Someone has to tell a child that another person who is black, or a girl or of a different religion is “bad”.

According to hate mongers, anyone who does not conform to the preconceived way of life needs to be looked upon with disdain. To them, everything that was not part of what they were brought up to believe is a threat to their life.

Gladiators In The Arena

In 2015, people should be more accepting. And, we need to do this directly by targeting the motivating forces of fear and hate.

We have conquered space and still can’t conquer ourselves and how we behave toward others. I believe that everybody should have the same opportunities in life no matter what his or her skin color, gender preference, affiliation, religion, etc. This world should not be a world for the few, the blue blooded, the “entitled” who reside in “bubbles” safe and sound while the rest of us fight it out as unruly crowds or gladiators in the arena. Unfortunately, many of us believe this is simply the way things are.

I don’t believe in violence in any way, shape or form. I believe in social justice and social good. The hard question is how can we achieve it? One step is by voicing our opinions; by making our opinions heard. The other is by directly addressing and talking about the tough stuff, the hate and drilling that down to the fear.

The Voice Of The Silent Majority

I was guilty of being a member of the silent majority. I was busy all of the time and I let things pass. But a friend brought this to my attention and I listened. Those who are discriminated against cannot do it alone. They need to have allies. We need to make our collective voice heard. We need to say we are sick and tired of injustice and lost opportunities because some of us happen not belong to the “right” group or class. There’s no such thing as the “right” group or class. We’re all human.

We need to engage and talk about it – no matter how difficult. But not entirely from our Facebook or Twitter feeds. We need to talk about it in person. We need to talk about it with our friends. We need to talk about it in the cafes. We need to talk about it with our loved ones and children. We need to create safe spaces to discuss the fear and start to work through the rot.

Tell people “no” to bigotry of any kind. “Yes” to equality for all. “Yes” to opportunities for everyone. “Yes” to hope. The world can be a better place if we allow it and all of us do our part in bringing all sides together.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: July 13, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Art of Doing Nothing

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The Italians have an expression, “dolce far niente” –the sweetness of doing nothing. Wouldn’t it be nice if all of us took time to ourselves without a plan, a “to do” list or “honey do” list? Wouldn’t it be better to simply take some time, be it 30 minutes to two hours possibly, in the middle of the day to just do nothing?

Just to relax, close your eyes, take a nap, watch the sea–most of all to give a break to your brain. Let your mind quiet down. I know it sounds absurd, but some Europeans do it every day.

Unfortunately, most of us are all so entrenched in the work ethic that we couldn’t forgive ourselves to get a break just because we feel like it. It has been proven, however, that all of us need a break daily and not once or twice a year. The benefits are numerous. Health benefits, lower stress levels, decreased blood pressure, better sleep patterns, more fulfilling days and longer lives. Should I say more?

And yet, most of us don’t do it. Our reasons are many. We’d rather wait once or twice a year for that precious one or two weeks of vacation during which we try to do everything, including unfinished chores in the house.

Otherwise, we are waiting for a cherished weekend. We take one of the two days–or both–and we work on our “honey do” list. We may be lucky to have Sunday to ourselves, where we try to relax and be casual around the house because we’re tired from all of the demands of the prior week. If we have this lucky Sunday to ourselves, maybe we go to a restaurant or, if we have the energy, drive somewhere. Really, is that all life is meant to be?

Why do we have to make work the center of our universe? Why do we only have to arrange our lives around work? Do you ever wonder? Yes, we all need money to live. But what is it all worth if we’re miserable, stressed and on target to die early never having lived, simply existed?

Are you aware there are countries where living life comes first and everything else arranged around that goal?

Imagine how different your life could be; how more efficient your work could be; the energy you could have daily; and, how you can reach more goals.

I understand that there are times, and people, when one could say, “I couldn’t do this even if I tried. Not in my workplace.” Maybe I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt if you’re in certain professions for example, ER surgeon or nurse etc. But what about the rest of us?

Folks, most of us especially the younger ones, do not pay attention to trivial and foreign habits. All we try is to belong; to conform; to mimic the behavior or others.

As we’re getting older, and only if we’re open to new ideas and we question everything, then some of us start exploring and wondering what is the right path for us.

We may start with taking a walk just because we want to and eventually it becomes a habit. Others may do another small little thing to relax our mind, body and spirit. It can be as simple as taking a walk or peacefully drinking a cup of tea a set time every day and not allowing anyone to enter your space during that “sacred” time.

Try it. Give yourself a couple of weeks to start getting breaks in every day and see how you feel at the end of the week. I’m sure you will find the world did not come to an end because you took some time out for yourself. If you don’t find any difference whatsoever, don’t continue doing it.

But, what if you see another side of yourself and life. One that is more relaxed and vibrant. Wouldn’t it be a good reason to repeat this break time? I bet it would!

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: March 26, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.