I write this blog post with a heavy heart, as some of you may know, I have lost my father very unexpectedly just before Christmas.
Antonios Geralis, or Tony, was 71 years old. His heart stopped suddenly. I had only just moved to London beginning of December and exactly 14 days later I am flying back to bury my dad. This was not part of the plan. He was healthy, an active year-round swimmer, and overall in very good health. His only real health issue - STRESS.
I've written and deleted so many paragraphs about what a good man he was, and I think as I am still grieving, it's easy for me to be over emotional right now. I am writing this post to reflect on the lessons I've learnt and not to share my pain at this time which is still very raw.
The many lessons I've learnt from my dad are ones I will carry with me forever. He instilled in me a strong work ethic, a love for storytelling and creating with my hands.
The harder lessons to learn are the ones that impact you negatively. Tony was quite a stressed person, especially later in life, mainly due to a psychosomatic illness. The things that would eat him up inside and upset him the most was unfairness (to him as well as to others) and feeling unappreciated.
These are hard lessons that I had to learn for myself also, because I am so similar to my father. So, in an attempt to live a more authentic life, I've made a little list of things to improve on, which I think many of you can relate to.
Negative emotions cause your body to produce toxins internally. Stress is a killer, although it has not ever being accused of killing anyone. We say it's a heart attack, cancer, stroke.... but if you are like me, and believe all diseases are infact caused by your mental states, you will see the importance of clearing your mind before you can expect to clear your body of disease. Read the book You can heal your life by Louise Haye if this is a topic which interests you further.
Let it go
Learn to let it go.... This is so much easier said than done. I have learnt how to forgive, although it took me many years to do so. I carry no ill feelings towards anyone. I just let 'it' go... as well as that person, and move onwards and upwards.
Learn to say no
This should really be 'learn to say no and not justify yourself'. Learning to say no comes so much easier to self-loving and selfish people than it does to people-pleasers. It's important however to be able to identify the things you do for others because you want to, or because you feel obliged to, and end up feeling a resentful.
Selfish is good
When I say selfish, I mean self-love. You don't need to look for validation outside to feel loved and appreciated. Studies show selfish people live longer and are also happier. To be selfish does not mean to be so at the expense of others happiness, but be selfish in terms of putting your health and happiness first, making you a better person to be around. When you try to please everyone, not only do they expect more and more from you, they will never be fully satisfief and you will be left drained and unhappy also. It's a no-win situation.
Slow Live in the now
Being present and fully aware of your present experiences can be a habit that requires conscious development. Most people are either obsessed with the past (how much better it was or how bad it was) or the future (how much better they expect it to be or being anxious for the unknown). Living in the now and being appreciative of your current state is what slow living is all about.
Death and Taxes
When all else fails, sing or dance. My dad would sing and write poems. I find having a creative outlet really helps relax you and what is more wonderful than spending some alone time doing something you love. The only thing certain in life is death and taxes, so why spend time stressing about about something that is not in your power to change. Like Zorba the Greek, just dance!